Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2017’

  • Share the Love!

    At DWT, we want to make Explorit Everywhere! easy for our customers to integrate into their workflows. So, we offer hosted and self-hosted solutions, we support desktops, tablets and smartphones on all major browsers, and we make it easy to embed Explorit Everywhere!, well everywhere!

    Our loyal customers have asked how we can help them to promote the “Explorit Everywhere!” solution in their organizations. In this article I’ll introduce some ideas on how you can help to spread the word to your communities. In the next article (or two) I’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of some of the things that your IT staff can do to link to and embed Explorit Everywhere! from your corporate or university website.

    Here are the ideas.

    Promote Explorit Everywhere! in your community outreach. Promote your search solution in your newsletters, blogs and other customer communication. DWT has a regular newsletter that you can subscribe to on our contact form. It notifies readers of our recent blog articles. Those articles might give you ideas for ways of communicating with your search community. In our blog, we periodically include a customer corner which highlights how customers have used Explorit Everywhere! One such article tells about Colorado Technical University’s deployment of federated search in 2016. Another customer corner shares the experiences of the University of the Arts London with Explorit Everywhere! Share your own experiences with your users or be the subject of our next customer corner! One other thing, we occasionally send a README document to customers with updates on new features of Explorit Everywhere! You can forward these documents to your users to keep them abreast of enhancements to your service.

    Link to your Explorit Everywhere! application. Include links from your organizational website, your library’s catalog or home page, your online newsletter site or from anywhere! If your site has a header, footer, or a sidebar template, one of those could be the ideal place to link to your search page.

    Educate your users. Your users and your stakeholders may want to know how federated search meets their needs better than Google and better than discovery services. We have a number of resources to help you educate your users in our Literature Library and in our information specific to enterprise, government, library, life sciences, medical, military, and multilingual users. Resources in our Literature Library include:

    Blog articles that make the case for federated search include:

    And, here are some blog articles about how Explorit Everywhere! works and its features:

    You are more than welcome to reference our resources in your communications resources. And, you may want to point your users to our FAQs and to your application’s help page, found in the About menu on your Explorit Everywhere! home page to learn more about our technology and product features.

    Create search builders. Search builders are the perfect way to customize your users’ search experiences. You can create a custom title, description, and editor info, set the number of collection columns to 1 or 2, choose which collections are searched, and which fields are available. You can create multiple search builders to give different communities of users their own tailored search experience. We’ll discuss search builders in more detail in the next article in this series.

    Embed. It’s the “everywhere” idea behind “Explorit Everywhere!” that makes it easy for your users to run searches from whichever of your webpages they’re on. You can embed our search widget (instructions at http://[yourApplication]/widget.html). Your web designer can easily customize the widget code to match the look-and-feel of your site.

    Link to and embed us in your subject guides. If your library has LibGuide or another subject guide content management system then you can integrate Explorit Everywhere! into your subject guide published content in the same way that you can include links and widgets on your organizational web-site. Read about how University of the Arts London integrated Explorit Everywhere! into their subject guides here.

    Integrate search into your learning management system. This is very similar to the last idea. Anywhere that you can integrate your own content, you can integrate Explorit Everywhere! Read our thoughts about including libraries in learning management systems here.

    Add third-party widgets to your Explorit Everywhere! application. One of our customers has a chat widget that connects users to librarians. The chat widget company provided a little snippet of HTML and Javascript to load the widget. We helped them to add that to their search page. Most widgets will have simple code to embed them anywhere! The Virginia Department of Transportation added a chat widget to their Explorit Everywhere! application. We wrote a little bit about their experience here.

    Those are our ideas. I’ll be blogging some of the techie details for folks who are inclined to dive deeper.

    Subscribe to our blog by contacting us at or by filling out our contact form.

    Finally, please leave us a comment. How have you promoted Explorit Everywhere! in your organization? How can we better support you?

  • George Mason University Launches Search Engine for Open Source Textbooks

    George Mason University (GMU), in collaboration with Deep Web Technologies (DWT), has just launched Mason OER Metafinder. Wikipedia explains that OERs, open educational resources, are “freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.”

    Mason’s OER Metafinder is the brainchild of Wally Grotophorst, Associate University Librarian for Digital Programs and Systems at George Mason University. Grotophorst explains the motivation behind collaborating with DWT to bring his idea to fruition.

    What we want to do is help faculty identify open resources that they can adopt for the courses–and thereby save the students some money and still provide quality instruction. To support that desire, I had the idea of developing a search engine that would go across the various OER sources and help a curious faculty member quickly see just what sort of things might be available.

    Grotophorst also noted:

    We believe so much in OER that we’re giving small stipends to faculty who want to produce open texts (which we’ll publish through our Mason Publishing imprint). And, the Office of the Provost is also encouraging faculty to adopt OER texts.

    Mason OER Metafinder supports the vision of the Mason Publishing Group, which aims to make textbooks more affordable. Their web page on Open and Affordable Education Resources explains their vision:

    At Mason, we want to make your courses accessible to all students. One way to do that is to reduce the costs of the textbooks and other educational materials you use—and University Libraries can help. We offer support for reducing the cost of textbooks and for making library-licensed e-content available to your students. We’re also ready to help you discover, use or even develop and publish your own open educational resources.

    Mason OER Metafinder searches fifteen of the leading OER repositories with a single query. Users can perform broad queries across all sources or they can search for terms in full record, title, or author(s). They can also specify a date range and narrow their searches to a specific date range.

    A full record search for “calculus” identifies over 322,000 resources and displays the 623 most relevant ones. Results are clustered by topic, author, source, document format, and document type, making it easy to drill down to explore results of a particular type.

    GMU is a long-time customer of DWT. GMU built Mason OER Metafinder using DWT’s “Search Builder” technology, where customers can create a search engine with custom search fields and sources.

    My niece just started her freshman year at UC Davis. She spent $500 on textbooks. Her parents sure hope the OER movement continues to grow!