Why Customize Research with Discovery Tools?

Technology | July 26, 2017

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The ability to customize research with your discovery tool satisfies users and leverages your library collection. Check out our latest post to find out why.

We live in an age where one-size-fits all is no longer the standard.  Almost everything we interact with in our daily lives has some form of customizable technology — from how we watch television and movies, to music selection, even down to how we view our emails. Customization can be effective when it is done correctly and can answer a pain point we have within an experience. The same goes for your library users and research. When you customize research with an effective discovery tool, the impact is greater than you and your users’ could imagine.

So what is customization exactly? How is it different from personalization? And why would you want to customize research through a discovery tool?

First, let’s dive into the important distinction between customization and personalization in technology. The Nielson Norman Group defines these two words providing a clear distinction.

Personalization is done by the system being used. Think of your shopping experience on Amazon, this is personalization at its finest. Content and functionality are delivered to a user based off their “role” and or their behavior.

Customization on the other hand gives more control back to the user, or in the case of libraries, the administrator. Changes can be made to meet the specific needs of the user, rather than relying on a system. When it comes to research, customization tends to be a better route to travel. As a librarian or the discovery administrator, you can adjust the discovery experience for users based off of their feedback and challenges. Customization marries both qualitative and quantitative data and allows for you to make adjustments to create an optimal research experience.

Why would you want to customize the research experience using a discovery tool? There are two answers to this question. First, by customizing the experience, you are creating an optimal way for your users to conduct their research. Second, by optimizing this experience, you are ensuring usage of your library’s collection and therefore leveraging the true value of your collection.

Customization marries both qualitative and quantitative data and allows for you to make adjustments to create an optimal research experience.

There are a number of ways to customize the research experience with EBSCO Discovery Service™.

Apps – We offer hundreds of custom apps to craft a unique research experience. Our apps cover a range of categories from analytics, content spotlights, international-focuses and search add-ons.

Branding – Branding is an important element for your library. Not only does it create a more seamless research experience for users (e.g. they know exactly where they are) it also allows users to feel trust in the tools they are accessing. By branding your discovery service, you will create more awareness and validity of your collection.

Search Boxes - Placing your EBSCO Discovery Service search box front and center, you are not only satisfying a typical UX expectation of your users, you are quickly connecting users to the right content directly from the place they are most likely to start their search – your library website homepage.

Custom Linking – The ability to configure full-text linking within your discovery tool is a win-win for you and your users. This can help improve the access to full text for your users and help you to address any issues around linking.

Placards – This feature is a great way to help guide a user to exactly what they are looking for, or were intending to look for. Placards are positioned at the top of the search results and can direct a user to a research starter on a popular topic, a journal or a particular database. This type of customization is particularly helpful with first-year students.

Implementing a discovery service is just the start for your library. EBSCO Discovery Service delivers unparalleled research customization through the above features and through other initiatives. Watch our latest customer video to learn more.

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