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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!
Join us for a no-cost webinar to experience our Explorit Everywhere! Medical solutions right at your desktop. This engaging and educational webinar, led by Abe Lederman, CEO of Deep Web Technologies, will give attendees a firsthand demonstration of how Explorit Everywhere! Medical provides you comprehensive, one-stop access to your most important medical literature through a more thorough search, automatic alerts, and customized search pages. Attendees will see how Explorit Everywhere! Medical is used at leading medical libraries.
Why should you attend?
A September 2015 study by Commonwealth Fund identified the struggle physicians have juggling insurance companies, new performance measurements and new technologies…all of which place patient care lower on the list of priorities. More and more medical organizations express concern over finding ways to efficiently address the changing healthcare landscape while staying true to their core purpose, one-on-one care.
Deep Web Technologies believes that our medical solutions will help. A Wolters Kluwer study in 2014 identified the top four information sources used by physicians: Professional Journals, General Search Engines (like Google), Colleagues and Online Free Services. Throw in clinical trials, ebooks, systematic reviews and drug resources and the amount of information available to medical staff can be overwhelming. With the number of activities on a physician’s daily punch list, research may mean going to the easiest, but not the most authoritative source to find information quickly (like Google), or delegating the task.
Medical organizations, hospitals and medical libraries must take advantage of new technologies that allow their researchers to find current information quickly and efficiently without spending much time learning how to do it. Deep Web Technologies’ Explorit Everywhere! Medical solution brings value to your organization by allowing you to search deeper, search more sources simultaneously, and to do that more effectively, without missing critical information.
The Military Libraries Training Workshop (MLTW) held last week, December 6-9, was a great success for Deep Web Technologies. After a quick trip to Europe to participate in the PTFS Europe Customer Day, I traveled to Arlington, VA to visit with customers at the MLTW, and tell the Explorit Everywhere! story to new prospects.
I gave a Two Minute Talk on Monday during the sponsor showcase (see picture) to introduce Explorit Everywhere!, our next-generation federated search product. As it turns out, several customers attended the Workshop and introduced me to prospects who could benefit from Explorit Everywhere!.
Tuesday, many of us toured the National Defense University Library (also a customer of ours), and afterwards had a great dinner at the Ft. McNair Officers’ Club. Of particular interest to me was the talk by Dr. Paul Severance, Professor of Military Science at the National Defense University and head docent at the Lincoln Assassination Conspirator’s Trail Restored Courtroom. He went into great detail about the Lincoln conspiracy, assassination, pursuit, trial and aftermath, all of which I found fascinating. I also now have The Conspirator on my “to-watch” movie list, as it was highly recommended by Dr. Severance.
I was disappointed to hear that this workshop will only be held every other year now. Deep Web Technologies is already planning to be at the next MLTW in 2017!
Editor’s Note: This presentation was given by Paul Mellinger, Discovery Manager (Resources & Systems), at the University of the Arts London (UAL), to attendees of the PTFS Europe Customer Day in early December 2015. PTFS Europe and Deep Web Technologies (DWT) recently partnered to broaden PTFS Europe offerings, and to provide the opportunity to integrate Explorit Everywhere! federated search and Koha library software for customers. UAL, already a customer of both services, kindly offered an educational review of UAL’s experiences with Explorit Everywhere!. As a follow up, Paul also graciously wrote the following excerpt to accompany his presentation on the Deep Web Technologies’ blog.
For those of you unfamiliar with Prezi, use the bottom left and right arrows to scroll through this presentation.
The aim of the presentation was to give some historical context to the current Library Search offering from UAL Library Services and to attempt to explain the seemingly unusual choice of employing DWT’s next-generation federated search engine ‘Explorit Everywhere!’, branded as ‘Articles Plus’. The first half of the presentation charts the progress of the Library Services web portal and its inherent search options, whilst the latter half comprises a series of screencasts, highlighting some of the features of ‘Articles Plus’.
A few metaphorical images were used, the relevance of which may not be immediately apparent, without the accompanying talk.
The appearance of Capability Brown and his work as a landscaper is a fairly obvious comparison to the process of assessing and designing the library portal to fit the information landscape. I thought it pertinent, in the light of the evolution of UAL’s Library Services web pages, that Brown’s nickname was not due to his prodigious talent, as widely-believed, but because he would always tell his landed clients when assessing the scope of the grounds that they possessed “capability” for the landscape to be improved.
The image of ‘Apples and Oranges’ was mentioned at various points throughout the presentation to allude to the process of deciding which resources were to be searched together, e.g. in the Library Catalogue (Koha) or in ‘Articles Plus’ (Explorit Everywhere!) and which would be searched entirely separately, e.g. the UAL Archive Catalogue. This also helps to explain the mock-up search of ‘Books and e-Books’, which illustrates the flexibility of Explorit Everywhere! and offers a possible solution for the possibility of removing e-books from the library catalogue.
The metaphor of the scuba diver and the jet ski was taken from page 17 of the book ‘The Shallows: how the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember’ by Nicholas Carr. In the book, it is used to describe the experiential difference between reading books and reading content on the internet. I thought that this represented an appropriate analogy to demonstrate the philosophical underpinning of our choice of discovery tool as it reflects the difference in the respective models of ‘web-scale discovery services’ and federated search engines, the former marketed for the ‘Google Generation’ and dependent on huge banks of pre-harvested metadata, the latter open to genuine customisation, providing the ability to delve down into customer-specific resources and therefore more conducive to ‘deep’ research.
The quote from Roy Tennant highlights the irony that it was bandied around by vendors of web-scale discovery tools around 2009-2011, although it was originally written in 2001 to extol the ability of federated search engines to allow users to search multiple electronic sources, without having to access and become familiar with each individual search interface.
The deep zoom-back to reveal the final slide of the presentation is intended to depict the ‘unknown’ information landscape of the future.
That’s the tagline for the Helen Hayes Hospital MULTIsearch gateway and isn’t it great? Organizations often find that adding just a few words of explanation helps them successfully market their new Explorit Everywhere! search application to their researchers, and usage goes up. We thought that Helen Hayes did a wonderful job explaining why users benefit from using MULTIsearch instead of going directly to PubMed or Google.
MULTIsearch: More than PubMed®, Better than Google!
Besides PubMed, MULTIsearch searches 15 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES! So, YES—more than PubMed!
Because these resources have been carefully selected for their reputable, reliable health care information, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SCAN A BAZILLION RESULTS to find the “good ones”! So, YES—better than Google!
Wellspring, a leader in efficient technology scouting, will host a webinar titled “The simpler way to find and manage technology” on December 2nd at 1pm ET/10am PT.
Wellspring’s Search Once Scouting tool incorporates Deep Web Technologies’ Explorit Everywhere! federated search as a critical part of the knowledge supply chain. Eliminating search duplication, Search Once Scouting captures current and relevant knowledge and offers rich data output, simplifying a more cumbersome scouting process.
With Wellspring’s Search Once Scouting tool, over 100 million records from over thirty authoritative sources are simultaneously searched and presented in the Wellspring for Technology Scouting and Corporate Venturing software solutions. Users can select a search result and dynamically import it as a new opportunity record with no data entry. Firms can then quickly route and evaluate technology and investment opportunities. Unlike spreadsheets, databases, or document-sharing systems, all opportunities can be managed with sourcing and investment processes united in one place, ensuring true collaboration and the application of best practices.
Many mainstream libraries have a standard list of sources they search: EBSCO, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, PubMed, and others. Including the usual “suspects” in a single search isn’t terribly hard for most discovery solutions (federated search or discovery services) unless they are competing information vendors who do not want to play nice – see this post: The Last of the Major Discovery Services is Independent No More.
But, once information journeys down the road less traveled, sources are less likely to be included in a discovery solution. The information may be considered more valuable by content owners and so they are reluctant to include it in an indexed service. If the content is specialized, interest in the source may be limited to only a small group of customers, excluding the source from discovery services and most federated search vendors where broad appeal prevails. Some sources also may be technically challenging to include in a discovery solution.
These sources are considered un-indexable and un-federatable.
Fortunately, Explorit Everywhere! specializes in un-federatable sources. We connect to databases that most discovery service vendors steer clear of, and most federated search services are simply unable to touch with their lightweight connector technology. The robust connectors included in Explorit Everywhere!, however, can tackle the most ornery sources for special libraries and research organizations.
For example, one of our newest customers chose DWT as their discovery solution vendor because they were mired in this un-federatable dilemma. Their previous discovery solution vendors were not able to include quite a number of their important subscription information sources, leaving researchers to inefficiently spend time searching those sources separately. Once our prospect tested the proof-of-concept built by DWT, they realized that DWT could federate their un-federatable sources and chose Explorit Everywhere! as their discovery solution.
This particular customer, specializing in military and defense research, included challenging sources like these two:
- JANES – IHS Jane’s International Defence Review, specializing in defense and security.
- PERISCOPE – Includes open-source global defense information.
Really, what’s the point of having a single search technology if only half of your sources can be included? Explorit Everywhere! federates the unfederatable. Not only do our connector developers consider it a challenge to build robust connectors to these specialized sources, DWT’s focus has always been to connect our customers to their information, wherever it may be. New customers requiring “unfederatable” sources are pleasantly surprised when they find that not only are we willing to build connectors to their difficult sources, but we don’t charge extra to do so.
Interested in hearing more on how we connect to your “un-federatable” information sources? Email us, or find us at one of our upcoming conferences.
December 3rd and 4th mark exciting days for PTFS Europe, a new Deep Web Technologies partner (stay tuned for a press release this month). Their annual Customer Day conference, held at the Aston University in Birmingham, highlights customer case studies, product trainings and support as well as general PTFS Europe news. This is also a time to introduce new products, and Deep Web Technologies is pleased that Explorit Everywhere! is on the list!
Abe Lederman will travel to the U.K. for the Customer Day to briefly speak about Explorit Everywhere!, our next generation federated search product. In addition, we are thrilled that Paul Mellinger of the University of the Arts London, will be speaking about their experience with Explorit Everywhere!. UAL’s Explorit Everywhere! application was integrated with Koha, an open source library system, by the folks at PTFS Europe.
Deep Web Technologies is thrilled to take part in this event and looks forward to meeting PTFS Europe customers attending the conference.