10.11.2010: RIT/Rensselaer Conference Call on Metalib/Xerxes (and possibly a little Encore)

Monday, Oct. 11, 3:30-4:30 in the conference room

Notes from Meeting

Hi Ref/BI, hi LibTech Committee.

Fran, George, Bob and I will be attending a conference call with Shirley Bower and others from RIT on RIT's implementation of Metalib/Xerxes on Monday from 3:30-4:30 in the conference room. We're also hoping to ask them about their experiences with Encore if there's time. A list of the questions we're asking is appended below. I'll post notes from the discussion on the library intranet, but you are also welcome to attend if you would like.

This conference call is a result of the Sept. 9 meeting with the reference team on market basket libraries and multiple database search (federated search). After looking at how our market basket libraries are handling federated search, RIT emerged as the favorite. We wanted to find out more about how it is working out for them, how much work it was for them to implement, and what kind of maintenance it requires over time. (<http://rpi-lib-tech.wikispaces.com/9.09.2010#want_to_know>)
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Thanks very much!

Katie

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Questions for RIT/Rensselaer Conference Call on Metalib/Xerxes (and possibly a little Encore)
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Technical

- How much effort was it to get Metalib and Xerxes running out of the box?
- What kind of customizations did you make to Xerxes? Would they be easy for us to implement as well?
- How much on-going maintenance do MetaLib and Xerxes require?
- How is the Ex Libris tech support for MetaLib?
- - (From Tammy) How many automation/systems staff members work in the library?

Functionality / Workflow / User Satisfaction

- How is federated search working out for RIT?
- - (From Collette) What do you see as benefits and deficits for students and faculty? For library staff?
- How long has RIT had a federated search? What have you learned about how to do federated search well since starting with it?
- - (From Collette) At this point based on experience and/or improved technology in the marketplace, is there anything that you would change?
- How do you teach federated search along with native database interfaces?
- How does federated search impact how your users do research? Have you done any usability tests, or looked at changes in statistics on database searches / fulltext downloads?


Encore

If we have time, we'd love to get your thoughts on Encore as well. With ConnectNY implementing Encore soon, we're wondering if we should be looking more closely at it for our own catalog. How is your Encore beta test going? (We're getting a demo of Encore in November that will cover Encore's federated search component as well.) We're not sure whether it would be better to put our resources toward an improved catalog interface, or improved article search. At this point, it doesn't seem like there are any discovery layers (or similar) that do both well. Are you looking at ways to move book and article searching into a common interface, or do you see these remaining separate in the foreseeable future?