- Product Trial
My Biznar alert on Discovery Services recently deposited in my Inbox a link to this ProQuest blog article: A Guide to Evaluating Content Neutrality in Discovery Services. Although I have written about content neutrality before, most recently in October of 2015, in the blog article: The Last of the Major Discovery Services is Independent no More, because of the ProQuest blog article, I decided to revisit the topic in this blog article.
The blog article by ProQuest linked above and quoted below, raises my main concern about the content neutrality of Discovery Services (EDS, Primo and Summon) that are owned by companies whose main business is selling content:
A concern that some libraries may have is that discovery service providers, that are also content providers, have an intent and vested interest to funnel usage to their content. With the success of online services often based on usage metrics and the fact that the content sales model is driven by the “revenue follows usage” mantra, librarians should well be concerned about content neutrality in discovery services from such dual providers.
Also, in this ProQuest blog article, the author says – “ProQuest and ExLibris reaffirms our commitment to content neutrality in our discovery systems.”
Nowhere, however, have I been able to find any ProQuest write-up that backs up this claim that their Discovery Services are, in fact, content neutral. As one of our former Presidents, Ronald Reagan, was fond of saying – “trust but verify”. With that said, librarians should verify the content neutrality of their Discovery Services.
One test that I would encourage my readers to perform who have purchased a Discovery Service or have access to one is the following: Run 10 queries that cover different subject areas and record for each of the top 10 results where each of these top 10 results are coming from (EBSCO, ProQuest or another publisher). If a large percentage of your top 10 results in EDS are EBSCO results or a large percentage of ProQuest results are being returned by Primo or Summon among your top 10 results, then you have a content neutrality problem. I’d love to see your findings as comments to this blog article.
The NISO Working Group in their Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery report makes a number of recommendations to Discovery Service vendors and librarians to help them evaluate and ensure the content neutrality of a Discovery Service. These recommendations are summarized in ExLibris’ A Guide to Evaluating Content Neutrality in Discovery Systems.
These recommendations include:
- Non-discrimination among content providers in how results are generated and relevance ranked.
- Non-discrimination in how links to results are ordered in a result list or made available via a link resolver. A potential problem might be how duplicate records are treated by the Discovery Service.
- Provide libraries with options to configure how links are labelled and displayed and how links to meta-data and full-text are provided.
In the ExLibris’ Guide, they state that “Content neutrality in a discovery system means that students and researchers are equally exposed to the entire wealth of information from all sources.”
Although, as you might expect, the Discovery Services don’t address the issue that content neutrality is seriously compromised by the inability of their Services to include in their indices ALL of the content that a library has available at the disposal of their students.
So, in conclusion, if you want to ensure the content neutrality of your institution’s Discovery Solution you should seriously consider an Explorit Everywhere! solution.
An Explorit Everywhere! solution provides your users with access to all of the content sources your library has licensed, ranked using our own publisher neutral algorithms (see Ranking: The Secret Sauce for Searching the Deep Web), with the display priority of duplicate results configurable. You might also want to include our partner’s Gold Rush publisher neutral link resolver.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up to an email message from one of our partners in Europe asking if we could federate the enclosed list of sources for one of their prospects. Before I had a chance to respond to his message, my partner followed with a second email saying that he forgot to include the prospect’s EBSCO Discovery Service as one of the sources for us to federate. As I reviewed the list of sources that we would need to federate for this prospect I found that a couple of these sources were Ex-Libris Primo Discovery Services.
What a great example of potential co-opetition, or “cooperating with one’s competitors”. In this case, co-opetition with EBSCO and Ex-Libris (now part of ProQuest) to build a comprehensive solution for a customer that provides one-stop access to content from 3 different Discovery Services as well as some additional sources, something that neither EBSCO nor Ex-Libris could do. This use case gives new meaning to my earlier blog post on Federating the Un-Federatable.
Taking a look at the major Discovery Services we find that Summon has always been a pure Discovery Service, choosing not to complement their Discovery Service with federated search (even though they acquired two federated search companies – WebFeat and Serials Solutions). EDS and Primo have been hybrid services, enabling, although not so well, federation of sources not available in their indices. We’ve seen both EDS and Primo de-emphasize federated search in their Discovery Service, perhaps because federated search is not so easy to do well if it is not your product’s primary focus. OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery Service does not incorporate federation as part of their Discovery Service.
So this opportunity to build a solution for this project that federates 3 Discovery Services and some other sources has energized me, David, to reach out once again to the Discovery Services Goliaths. I have had numerous conversations with customers and prospects where I have heard repeatedly that important content is missing from their Discovery Service. I want to see if now is a good time to do some co-opetition that is a win-win for everyone, especially for the user who wants one-stop access to all of the content that they need and doesn’t care how that content is aggregated.
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.
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.
Wellspring, Deep Web Technologies’ newest partner, announced today the unveiling of their next-generation software platform that simplifies how users find and manage new technologies.
This groundbreaking software framework, code-named “Anavo,” is the result of 18 months of research and development. The Anavo technology seamlessly integrates real-time search of internal and external databases with workflow, assessment, and routing tools.
Last month, DWT and Wellspring announced their partnership to enable users to find and evaluate emerging technologies quickly and efficiently through their Search Once Scouting™ product. Search Once Scouting is a critical component of the Anavo software:
Wellspring partnered with Deep Web Technologies to develop the Search Once Scouting™, technology that enables users to investigate new inventions, patents, publications, and expert profiles in over 30 authoritative databases simultaneously. Users can import relevant results directly with no data entry and immediately begin their opportunity evaluation process.
We’re excited to be a part of Wellspring’s new venture!
Data Planet was reviewed in April by the Charleston Advisor, a highly regarded critical review resource for libraries. Deep Web Technologies and Data Planet teamed up several years ago to create Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference, designed to be a more user friendly interface to finding and extracting data from their extensive repository and flagship product, Data-Planet Statistical Datasets.
“Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference is designed to allow users to quickly navigate the 18.9 billion points of data contained in the repository, representing 3.9 billion time series covering thousands of geographic entities. With Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference, users can quickly search and view charts, maps, and rankings of time series at the country, state, county, MSA, postal code, and census-tract/block group levels. All of the data are drawn from authoritative sources and are citable. The product provides high-level summary information as well as detailed line item views.”
Deep Web Technologies worked closely with Data Planet to create the Data Planet Statistical Ready Reference application and later, the Data Planet Related Content application (not referenced with the review). Data Planet Statistical Ready Reference is an Explorit Everywhere! custom user interface that retrieves results via the Data Planet API. Extensive work was done to create a simple UI to search the data, and to present results with accompanying information such as graphs, charts and statistics. To enhance Ready Reference, an additional application, Related Content, was created to perform a Deep Web search for users to research topics beyond the Data Planet database. For example, a Ready Reference Geographical search for “New York”, and a Subject search for “Airports” returns results from only the Data Planet database. Clicking on a result link will take you to a Data Sheet with Sources, Dataset, graphs, charts and Subject Terms. From the Data Sheet, however, you can continue to research your topic by clicking on the Related Content section – News or Scholarly – which opens a federated search application of selected Deep Web resources to retrieve related results.
Data Planet received a composite score of 4 1/8 stars out of 5. Both Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference and Data-Planet Statistical Datasets were included in the review, which judged Content, User Interface/Searchability, Pricing, and Contract Options. The reviewer, Jennifer Starkey of Oberlin College in Ohio mentions, “Data-Planet rates highly in comparison, with its broad coverage of subjects, focus on time series data, provision of raw data that can be downloaded or viewed using the analytical tools, and the overall number of data sources available.”
This isn’t the first time that the Charleston Advisor has taken a close look at DWT. In 2012, Grace Baysinger, Head Librarian and Bibliographer at the Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library and Tom Cramer, Chief Technology Strategist at Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources gave Deep Web Technologies a 4 3/8 out of 5 stars, based on their experience with Deep Web Technologies product. We’re still going strong!
Data Planet plans on rolling out improvements to their Data-Planet Statistical Datasets over the next month. See the Data Planet blog to find out more information and where you can see their products in action.
Deep Web Technologies is pleased to announce that we have signed a partnership agreement with SirsiDynix to resell our Explorit Everywhere! TM search
platform. Explorit Everywhere! will complement and enhance the library management technology solutions provided by SirsiDynix to their customers, providing the best solution in the marketplace for library patrons to access all their subscription content together with their holdings from one search box.
SirsiDynix, the world’s leading provider of library automation solutions, serves more than 23,000 public, academic and special libraries around the world. SirsiDynix is well known for their Integrated Library Systems, Symphony and Horizon.
On September 22, 2014, Swets Information Services B.V. filed for bankruptcy which was subsequently accepted by the court in
Amsterdam. The unfortunate announcement of the Swets bankruptcy took DWT by surprise along many others in the library world. However, Swets and DWT are continuing conversations as Swets determines their path forward.
Our partner since 2010, Swets sold Explorit, rebranded as SwetsWise Searcher, to their global markets. By pushing the envelope in service and product knowledge, Swets created many, mutually happy customers.
DWT has been in contact with our Swetswise Searcher customers to ensure that there is no lapse in customer service during this time. While we are working directly with customers, we are closely monitoring what is happening with Swets.
A big congratulations to Reprints Desk, Deep Web Technologies’ Document Delivery Partner who received top ratings in the 2012 Outsell. Document Delivery puts crucial content in information specialists hands allowing a backup model for cancelled subscriptions or incomplete collections. In light of the growing need for Document Delivery services, Outsell conducted a short survey in September 2012.
In the Scorecard, 3 specific categories of Document Delivery were evaluated:
- Depth and breadth of coverage: One of the critical elements of a document delivery supplier’s service is how comprehensive and deep its reach is across subjects. This attribute measures whether or not the content available from the vendor is what the buyer requires.
- Fair pricing: It is typical for buyers to want lower prices. We asked buyers to rate how reasonable (fair) they believe providers’ pricing to be.
- Ease of doing business: Sales staff turnover, company restructuring or acquisition, customer service, and processes or methods that fit the needs of enterprise buyers are factors in the ease of working with vendors.
In all areas, Reprints Desk was the highest rated Document Delivery vendor, scoring 4.4 out of 5 in Overall Satisfaction. “Reprints Desk has penetrated the market since it opened up in 2006, and its reputation for working closely with its customers has won it many fans.”
We’re pleased to be partnering with Reprints Desk, providing our joint customers with a state-of-the-search capability integrated with the best Document Delivery service on the market. Stay tuned for some exciting new enhancements to Article Galaxy Search coming soon.