- Product Trial
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.
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.
This year Deep Web Technologies is attending the Military Libraries Training Workshop in Arlington, VA, December 6-9. Sponsored by the Military Libraries Division of SLA, the MLTW hosts 4 days of networking activities, talks, meetings and discussion for military librarians. For the full schedule, please see this page.
Deep Web Technologies, along with 50+ other vendors, will be exhibiting Sunday evening, and all day Monday and Tuesday. In addition, we’ve chosen to sponsor the Wednesday afternoon break, December 9th, which follows two discussions on FEDLINK (and yes we’re going to the FEDLINK vendor show too!).
If you plan on attending the 2015 MLTW, please stop by our table for a quick demo of Explorit Everywhere!.