What is a discovery service?

According to Marshall Breeding, a discovery service is a system that searches “seamlessly across a wide range of local and remote content … [providing] relevance-ranked results.”

Marshall Breeding “Web-Scale Discovery Services“, American Library Association, January 14, 2014

With the arrival of Quicksearch beta, the Library will have two large scale discovery services in its arsenal.

Articles+, powered by ProQuest’s Summon discovery service, allows the user to search through electronic journal articles, images, newspapers, and abstract and index content, as well as our own LibGuides. Articles+ is a production service at Yale, supported by LibraryIT staff and maintained remotely by ProQuest. Along with our eJournal title list and our database A-Z list, the Articles+ discovery service is our patrons’ access point for licensed electronic resource items.

Quicksearch beta is also a large scale discovery service, but has several differences in structure, support and scope in comparison to Articles+. Quicksearch beta is a locally maintained service. It is powered by the open-source Blacklight framework, and is being developed in tandem with our digital collections repository service, findit.library.yale.edu, by LibraryIT staff. Because Quicksearch beta is a an open-source system that the library supports and maintains locally, there is more potential in presenting our data in specific and unique ways. Articles+ uses a central index of over 11.4 billion items, maintained by ProQuest, and it is ProQuest who ultimately decides how that data can be presented.

Like Articles+, the Quicksearch catalog search runs off of a central index; but unlike Articles+ this index lives on a Yale server and contains only Yale catalog records. Quicksearch uses a “bento box” approach to execute simultaneous searches against Morris and Orbis catalog records (the Catalog search) and Articles+ itself, directly from the Quicksearch beta landing page. In this way, a search for a book title might come up with the book in the catalog search, and reviews for that book in the Articles+ search.

Quicksearch beta is just that- a beta product that is still in development. If you’ve never heard the term before, PC Magazine has a useful definition: “A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to try under real conditions.” Quicksearch beta is therefore not a fully developed product like Articles+ is now, but will be eventually!

For more information on discovery services at Yale, particularly Articles+, please see this handout from August’s Rediscover Discovery forums.

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