Stone, Graham (2010) Searching life, the universe and everything? The implementation of Summon at the University of Huddersfield. In: 39th LIBER Annual General Conference, 29 June - 2 July 2010, Aarhus University, Denmark. (Submitted)

“Why is Google so easy and the library so hard?”

A review of the recent literature suggests that users prefer simple search interfaces such as Google. The implication here is that libraries often fail to make their resources discoverable and that this may in turn affect the perceived value of the library.

Against the background of the ongoing national debate about user expectations, a project group at the University of Huddersfield was asked to investigate the current provision for electronic resources and to look at a solution which would ‘provide ease of searching and access for the user, whilst reducing the workload for systems and technical services and remaining within current budget levels’

As a direct result of this review, the University of Huddersfield was the first UK commercial adopter of Summon in the summer of 2009. The Summon web-scale discovery service from Serials Solutions provides a simple single-search box to the breadth of the library’s collection, swiftly delivering simultaneous information and results from the local catalogue and remote electronic resources offering a real alternative to the traditional federated search.

This paper will provide a case study of the implementation, evaluation and launch of this radical new service to users at the University of Huddersfield, by detailing the approaches used and lessons learned throughout the implementation period and making recommendations for future enhancements.

Summon will be soft launched at the beginning of February 2010, to enable a period of user-testing alongside the existing federated search service, MetaLib, before a full launch in July 2010 and subsequent roll out for the academic year 2010/11.

The key aims of this paper are:

• To describe the rationale behind the e-resources review and the subsequent decision to move away from federated search.

• To report on the objectives for implementation, challenges encountered and any issues raised during the technical implementation of Summon, including MARC mapping from the library catalogues, population of full text resources via Serials Solutions and the University Repository and inclusion of locally held collections, such as lectures via streaming video.

• To discuss the feedback received from a representative range of users after the initial ‘soft launch’ of the service in order to refine and approve the system for a full launch in July 2010.

• The very nature of Summon will completely change the way user education is approached at Huddersfield. The paper will go on to consider some of the changes that will be made to the information literacy strategy as a result of the adoption of Summon.

• Finally the paper will discuss any future enhancements that may be necessary to improve the system and to share lessons learned from the project.

Problems with ‘federated search’ rank alongside lack of library text books as the perennial favourite in students’ comments about the library, this paper will consider whether we really can meet students expectations by providing Google-like interfaces with Google-like results.

Stone_Liber.ppt - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (21MB)


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email