What it Takes to Have a One-Stop Research Portal

Research & Development | November 30, 2017

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A one-stop research portal for users should include easy navigation, seamless access to information and authentication of e-resources.

The act of research sets the course for the development of any product or service. Without comprehensive research, all stages that follow could be greatly affected. Research can be tough; resources and information are often located in disparate places, and accessing the right content can be time consuming. Certain research portals can often feel outdated or are complicated to use for even the most seasoned researcher. The journey of a researcher is marked by a few key elements — navigating to information, discovery of and access to this information and authentication. It’s important as a knowledge manager or librarian that you have a research portal that can serve as a one-stop shop, incorporating these areas.

Part 1: The Portal Itself

The first tool your researchers will interact with is the “point of entry” to information resources. Building a modern research portal that can serve as this entry point should include a few key items. The first is a research portal built on user experience best practices. Your researchers are used to accessing websites (whether in their personal or professional lives) that respond to their screen size and are optimized for mobile, but also contain ideal user experience elements to make it easy to navigate (think single search bar front and center, clear organization of content and action-oriented words).

Knowing which core elements should be part of your research portal could take you years of testing. But having an out-of-the-box web platform, also known as a content management system, can help take the guesswork and time out of designing an optimal research portal for users.

The journey of a researcher is marked by a few key elements — navigating to information, discovery of and access to this information and authentication. It’s important as a knowledge manager or librarian that you have a research portal that can serve as a one-stop shop, incorporating these areas.

Part 2: Search and Discovery

A user-friendly research portal is just one piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve tackled the challenge of an easy-to-navigate portal, you need to ensure researchers can search and discover the right information and content for their work. A discovery service is the next tool to consider integrating into your research portal. There are a number of discovery tools available today, but understanding the backend of search and technology is essential. Consider how metadata is used, the methodology around searching and retrieving search results, how the tool anticipates users’ needs, and what can be integrated into the discovery tool — your internal repository, apps and more.

Part 3: Authentication

As research and your collection of information resources become increasingly digital, authentication will be a key component to ensure the security of your users and your company. For example, your collection may offer users access to various publisher platforms such as ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost®, etc., that all have varying requirements for authentication. Entry into these resources is expected to be seamless and intuitive by researchers. Conversely, as a knowledge manager or librarian, having control over account information and understanding usage will help you determine which resources resonate with researchers and should remain within the research portal.

Understanding what goes into a successful research portal is just the beginning. Finding the right tools to do the job is next. EBSCO offers tools and partnerships that can address these three areas, including Stacks, EBSCO Discovery Service™ and OpenAthens.

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