Encore webinar 3.23.2011

(archive will be posted)
(Katie's comments in italics)

They said that it's not all about content, it's about the user experience.
- Yeah, but it's ALSO about content. If it doesn't search our stuff, it's not useful.

"Dangerous: different interfaces for different metadata silos, each that reflect content"

British study 2008: 90% of students start their research w/ search engine like Google.

Encore Synergy attempts to provide a consistent interface to library interfaces

Nowadays, user expectations are driven by the web

State of the web
  • Nobody has everything you need (not even Google, though users assume it)
    • databases continue to specialize.
    • aggregation is importatant
  • techies were right: databases need to be able to talk to each other
  • techies were wrong: original focus was on system-level connectivity. but web architecture is shifting to APIs, web services instead of database-to-database connections..

The right technology: web services
  • using infrastructure of web so machines can use it like people can.

Web services let us be:
  • user-centric
  • content neutral
    • complete
    • unbiased
    • but still biased toward resources that encore can search?
  • independent of disparate native interfaces
  • real time
  • direct links to eresources

Content neutral vendor partnerships
  • lexis
  • sci dir
  • proquest
  • ebsco

Web services
  • more than just API's to indexes.
  • not just for searching, also for doing.
    • placing holds
    • external content enrichment - covers
    • user interaction - comments, ratings
    • virtual reference
    • (all this stuff in one place)

New features in Encore 4.1
  • Cobalt skin (interface look & feel)
    • designed from user feedback
    • old look & feel: citrus
      • 3 columns. results in middle. facets on left. other finding tools (tag cloud) on right
    • cobalt removes the 3rd column. usability testing w/ undergrads showed that they didn't use tag cloud, not because of tag cloud, but because on the web, ads live in the right column.
      • it looks a little more concise to me - buttons for each item aren't so big.
    • top article results continue to be integrated.
    • tags are now displayed as refinements in the left column.
    • Other sources are in the left column, in links at top of screen
      • I don't think anyone is going to notice/use these things here.
    • in an individual book result:
      • activity bar at top of screen: request, add to cart, add a tag, review, comment, export to refworks.
    • article search:
      • also got rid of third column.
      • retains faceting tools.
  • integrated article discovery
    • "integrated for precision and power"
      • blah blah marketing speak
    • start a search for simon winchester in the catalog mode.
      • in the result set, there's a preview of real-time relevant article results. "channel" of article results. Also for local collections results.
        • got this model from google. they know you don't force different types of data into a single browse - they separate images, news results, etc.
          • benefit: can rank differently. news is ranked with recent stuff first, websites are ranked w/ relevance first.
        • mouseover article for abstract
        • if fulltext is available, it links directly to it. (no going through link resolver page)
        • if the user wants to view more articles, can
          • click on "view over 900 more"
          • use format facet "articles"
          • Google-style (old google style) navigation on top.
          • found that users most often used the facet to get to articles. (75% of users use facets at some point in their search session)
          • users don't distinguish between local and remote.
      • real-time article results from sources.
      • faceting area for articles
        • breaks out articles by databases grouped by subject areas.
          • "premier sources"
            • what they're calling a bunch of ebsco databases. can aggregate results from vendors
          • single click access to fulltext.
          • if no fulltext, can use link resolver to link you to fulltext in another database, or ILL
      • Changing context - (grouping of databases by subject)
        • users can choose whether they want to search general sources or more subject-specific resources. don't have to go through everything all at once.
          • librarians decide how broad or narrow the categories are.
      • advanced search
        • first iteration of encore was a single search box, but we also need to support power users.
          • boolean - add rows.
          • this just looks like pre-specifying the facets to me - aren't they better-handled as facets?

Summing up:
  • based on concept that web services are best way for libraries to integrate not only content, but user functions like placing holds, interacting with library staff.
  • articles: real-time, content-neutral

Features in next release (2011).
  • Mobile interface - Iphone, android, etc.

Q&A
  • How are article portfolios determined? name? content?
    • library determines these.
  • "Premier sources"?
    • this is what they're calling a mashup of ebsco databases.
  • facets in articles view
    • how do you get facets for the different sources?
      • web services lets them use the native faceting of the source you're searching. for example, all ebsco facets (incl. subject thesauri) are available in encore for searching ebsco databases as well.
  • what if fulltext is available from several sources? what does encore choose?
    • as they search in a specific data source, they give fulltext links to that source. you can also use your link resolver to get fulltext from other sources.
  • is there a list of all the db vendors and content providers you're working with through web services?
    • yes, your customer sales person can answer this.
    • it's continually being updated.
  • does encore support persistent linking syntax? (so you can link directly into it from a library website, etc)
    • yup, like webopac
  • is it a hosted service, or do I need another server onsite?
    • can be implemented either way.
      • iii will provide and maintain your server, either way.
  • can users place requests directly from encore?
    • yes.
  • when can I get encore 4.1 or see it in more detail?
    • it's in beta / usability at a few libraries
      • nobody has rolled it out to the public yet, but will be showing it at acrl, and your customer sales rep can visit and give an in-person demo.