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When we’re young and naive, we think that Google knows everything, from climate change to competitor data, from media impressions to military intelligence. If it’s not in Google, then we won’t find it anywhere. Thanks, and have a nice day.
This unfortunate misconception is the plight many libraries face today: How do you reclaim your library from the overpowering presence of Google? This question isn’t just a philosophical question. Authoritative sources of information that libraries subscribe to (yes, actually spend money on) are searched by uniformed researchers 16% of the time. This is a paltry number compared to 94% of researchers who will begin their search (and often complete their search) on Google or another generic search engine when looking for authoritative information.
Brainwashing powers aside, Google has captured researchers with speedy results that seem to be the “right” results every time. And, to give credit where credit is due, Google is an amazing, ever evolving search engine that is the perfect search for everyday queries. It also is an excellent place to start broad research that doesn’t need to be supported by vetted information.
But there comes a time when researchers outgrow Google…
Libraries are central to a researcher’s quests for knowledge. They should be a font of information, housing books, magazines and catalogs, and directing researchers to the external resources to fuel and deliver on these information requests. Maturing and expert researchers who realize that Google falls short of their information needs shouldn’t be limited by a library that isn’t vehemently countering the Google myth. A self-aware library will be asking these questions:
- How do we support our researchers in their quest for authoritative information?
- How can we make it simple for researchers to transition from Google to more authoritative sources?
- How do we ensure that our authoritative information sources are getting found and used?
- If we have a single search of all of our information sources, are they being ranked in an unbiased way (unlike Google with popular ranking)?
Google has made the search and retrieval process easy. Good search engines follow that pattern too – simple and elegant, yet robust.
If you’re a librarian facing Google encroachment in your libary, consider resurrecting yourself to a position of authority. Find a way to go the distance for your researchers.
What makes a search app easy to use? Lots of things, such as intuitive navigation, a sleek interface, tooltips, and…personalization. Sometimes spending the extra time making an app “yours” is exactly what it takes to make the app more “usable.”
For example, the first thing I do when I find a new start page or website that I’ll be using robustly every day is to personalize it. I add in the widgets that I know will help me out on my quest for efficiency. I change the colors to reflect my mood. I alter the text to cue me to next actions. When I tailor apps to my tastes, I inevitable use them more because they are more comfortable to use.
At Deep Web Technologies, we want our customers to feel comfortable with their Explorit Everywhere! applications. We tailor your application to your organization’s style, administrative and researcher’s needs – make it the search application your organization needs to use it comfortably and use regularly.
We have many customers who spend the time to tailor their applications to their researcher’s preferences or organization’s style.
Here’s an example of a unique customization recently implemented:
I had the opportunity to try it out. Within seconds, a librarian was online chatting with me. When done, I received a transcript of our conversation and was pleasantly surprised at the “human” element of the search page. VDOT had personalized their Explorit Everywhere! application in a way that created comfort, provided excellent service and immediately connected the user to the library.
“We were pleased that Deep Web Technologies was responsive to our need to integrate another vendor’s chat software into our federated search solution. We tested in a developmental environment first, saw no problems, and brought it into our live site right on schedule,” said Ken Winter, Associate Library Director, VDOT Research Library. “The result is that if our patrons using Deep Web have a question, they can initiate a live chat with library staff and get answers in seconds.”
Our customer successes are our successes. Whether it’s adding google analytics to track users, a custom thesaurus, plugging in different widgets for document delivery or a chat widget, we’ll help you to tailor your application so that your users can best take advantage of Explorit Everywhere! to find information quickly.
One little peek can’t hurt, can it? Well, although we’re bursting with excitement about our new features, we don’t want to spoil the surprise – here are just a few enhancements you’ll see in Explorit Everywhere! in 2016.
Part of our 2016 enhancements will focus on Explorit Everywhere! Multilingual (see WorldWideScience.org for an example of Explorit Everywhere! Multilingual). We’ll also be expanding user interface localization so that all text on the page automatically appears in the user’s selected language for a seamless search experience. This will include the Arabic language with full support of right to left display.
The Explorit Everywhere! visualization tools will have some new additions as well. Right now, we have the ever popular text and visual clusters in addition to topics and filters on metadata, authors, dates and formats. We’ll be adding faceted navigation to the mix, allowing you and your researchers to drill down even further into your results set. And, get ready for some new visual tools to aid the researcher.
Last, the MyLibrary feature (save, export or email results) will also allow you to save searches. Stay tuned for updates on this throughout the coming year.
Do you have suggestions for us to add to our list of future additions? Let us know and stay tuned for news as we unveil these features and more!