Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MNIUG - Federated Searching

First to present were Mike Bloomberg from Augsburg College and Katy Gabrio from Macalester College. The two colleges share a server, but have "different instances" on that server. Augsburg went live just before school started, and Macalester went live mid fall with a soft launch, and will begin promoting it with the next semester.

The hardest part of the set up was deciding which databases to put in which groups. It was the meetings and getting the staff to agree on the grouping. The technical part was very easy. The trainer was there for a day and it was ready to go at the end of the visit -- from a technical end.

There are few and fewer citation only databases, and more are full-text. Mcalester went live on October 1, and in the first three weeks, without publicity, data says 1,000 uses (which maybe should be divided by 6 for the six databases searched).

Why chose? Ability to have "save my search" and "save my database" along with the ability to customize.

Second to present was Suzanne Conboy from III who talked about Research Pro. She had trouble logging into the interfaces at various libraries because of authentication and firewall issues. It makes me wonder about how hard we make it for our patrons at times. She went back to Power Point to show what options are available.

Carolyn DeLuca from the University of St. Thomas set up Serials Solutions (360 Search) at the beginning of the summer, and spent the summer tweaking the installation. There are a huge number of options for the pull down menu. They made their decision based on the fact that they are primarily serving undergraduates. The boxes are simply HTML which can be placed anywhere. They have over 300 databases, and tried not limit to the 75 most used. They kept access for the "native" searching primarily for the libarians. They took out the descriptions on the web page, and just added a clickable "i" icon which pulls up the description. It is a fairly clean looking product. Chose this product because it works well with the existing products and services which they already had.

Faculty were happy to see it, but don't know if the faculty are using it, or if the students are. Individual students are often thrilled. There are no usage modules, and they only get statistics from the original data base vendors.

Lindy Finifrock from Bethel University talked about WebFeat, where they have the Express version rather than the customizable version because of price. She showed their "Quick Search" which is a basic federated search. There are a limited number of choices for templates. Results appear as they are found, and you do not have to wait for the complete search to be completed. Can do relevancy ranking, and other sorting after the fact.

It was quick and easy. Choosing a book, opens a new window which then let's you have mjultiple windows open. Undergrads really like to use this, because they can quickly get the sources they need for their reports. They chose Webfeat in 2006, and chose it because of the great functionality and the price (i.e. low). Students have found it on the web page and/or portal, and seem to use it. [She noted that it was working more quickly at St. Olaf than it does on campus!]

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