Four Pillars in Delivering and Discovering Library Content

Technology | September 25, 2018

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The best way for a library to have a leg up against the competition to provide users with complete unearthing of library content. This can be achieved by employing a discovery service.

Irony can certainly be found in the phrase “content is king”. Originally coined by Bill Gates in an essay in 1996, the phrase was originally associated with the advent of the Internet. One particularly interesting line in the essay focuses on the delivery of content to Internet users:

“Over time, the breadth of information on the Internet will be enormous, which will make it compelling.”

There is a lot of truth to that statement. The Internet is a vast space of information, news and content. But a challenge over the last two decades has been a lack of legitimacy in the trustworthiness of content, delivered to anyone who uses the Internet as a vehicle for research. Here is where the library can provide a solution. The best way for a library and library content to have a leg up against non-vetted information is to provide users with complete discovery of the library’s collections. What’s more, libraries of course have rich collections and ensuring seamless access to content is critically important. All this can be achieved by employing a discovery service. However, not all discovery services are created equal. Below, we dive into the four pillars of a discovery service, ultimately connecting end-users to the most relevant and trustworthy library content for their research.

The best way for a library to have a leg up against the competition to provide users with complete unearthing of library content and this can be achieved by employing a discovery service.


Providing access to full-text library content is a vital component to the discovery experience and a library administrator should have control on how to configure links to full-text, the priority of full-text links, as well as how users will identify and follow them. This allows for optimal end-user interaction with full-text content.

Subject Indexing

Many discovery services are focused on full-text searching, but what creates sophisticated precision is subject indexing. Nearly every area of study has some sort of subject index and they act as an internal search engine for their area of focus. As noted in a previous post, “Indexing enables you to find concepts and synonyms indicated by the keywords you search, helping you to discover library content and making it more likely that the whole record will be relevant.”


In today’s world, choice is paramount. When libraries choose their discovery service, they are naturally looking for best-in-breed. And there is a lot to consider: from the user interface, to the library content that can be incorporated, the relevance and value ranking and the ability to tailor the solution for specific research needs. Each institution has its own requirements and different types of users have different needs. From discipline-specific support to catalog integration, customization can be key in delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.

Interoperability with your ILS

Traditionally, the ILS has played an important role in both the management and accessibility of library content. This role was based predominantly on the need to catalog, acquire and circulate print items. Yet during time, the focus has shifted increasingly towards digital items. And with this trend, the end-user expectations have shifted as well. Today, end-users expect (demand) an experience on the library’s website to be as agreeable as, and probably better than, elsewhere.

Partnering a discovery service with a popular ILS vendor allows libraries to take advantage of the benefits of both services. Through these partnerships, mutual customers will get better and easier access to the breadth of content and resources their libraries provide. Through the inclusion of ILS functionality into the discovery experience, including checkouts, holds, renewals, access to personal account history, etc., a library can provide a better user interaction with content.

When it comes to identifying optimal content for research, the best choice for a discovery provider is one that leverages quality subject indexing, optimal full-text linking, customization options and interoperability with ILS providers. The good news? EDS covers these items and then some.

Learn More About EDS

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