NHTI, Concord's Community College

EBSCO Discovery Service increases value of library resources at N.H. community college

At a Glance

NHTI, Concord's Community College
Concord, New Hampshire

Institution Type:   Academic Libraries
Related Products:   EBSCO Discovery Service


The largest of seven community colleges in New Hampshire, NHTI-Concord offers associate degrees and certificates in 65 programs including business, computers, criminal justice, education, nursing, health sciences, and liberal arts. With 70,000 print volumes, 142,000 eBooks, and more than 70 subscription databases, NHTI-Concord’s Library aimed to make its collection more accessible to users. A long-time customer of EBSCOhost Integrated Search, the NHTI-Concord Library wanted to fully integrate all of its resources – including the online catalog – into a single search tool. When EBSCO approached the library about converting to EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), library leaders quickly recognized the advantages of implementing a discovery platform.

With EDS, NHTI-Concord’s Library provides its 6,000 students and faculty with a robust library research tool that returns relevant results with both speed and accuracy. In addition, the college can better prepare its students to transfer to four-year institutions where the use of EDS is prevalent. Furthermore, the Library has seen an increase in the use of its subscription databases, thus ensuring the college a greater return on its e-resources investment.

EDS gives our students a competitive advantage. The ability to use such a powerful tool is critical for our students and the population we serve. We want them to be the best prepared students, and EDS gives them that opportunity.

Stephen Ambra
Director of Learning Resources
NHTI-Concord's Community College


Previously, students conducting research at NHTI-Concord’s Library could access electronic resources using EBSCOhost with EBSCOhost Integrated Search or by searching individual subject-specific databases.

According to Anne Wirkkala, Assistant Director of Learning Resources, this proved to be difficult for students who did not know enough about their topic or the research process to determine where the most relevant information could be found. As a result, the library’s electronic resources were not being used to their full potential.

In addition, NHTI-Concord has long shared its library catalog with the state’s six other community colleges. Consequently, the integrated search often yielded records for resources housed in one of the other colleges. Since the Inter-Library Loan process could take up to two weeks, Wirkkala said, the library wanted a search tool that could identify records from its own collection.

Finally, the library sought a research platform that would provide real-time availability information, unearth relevant results quickly and accurately, and deliver a search experience that would cater to students’ expectations.

“We wanted to fully integrate all of our research capabilities into a single search tool,” said Stephen Ambra, Director of Learning Resources. “We wanted to take … a comprehensive approach to what our students could access both on campus and remotely.”



When library leaders learned that EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) would help them achieve their goals, they were eager to get started.

NHTI-Concord’s library catalog system, however, was unique. Although the seven colleges share very little of their licensed content and are generally responsible for acquiring and paying for their own resources, they do share a union catalog. Isolating NHTI-Concord’s content within the OPAC would not be easy, but the EDS implementation team was up to the challenge.

Ambra praised EBSCO for its work with TLC (The Library Corporation), which provides the spine for the NHTI-Concord Library’s OPAC. “It was a process … to work out real-time availability and to isolate our collection within the OPAC and make it available to our students through EDS,” he said. “It took a while, but everyone was diligent in making it happen,” he said.

Wirkkala echoed the sentiment. “EBSCO was extremely dedicated,” she said. “We are forever thankful that they were able to work with the system we already had in place.”

Promotion & Training

An EDS search box — called QuickSearch — appears front and center on the NHTI Library website's home page. Users can enter their keywords and immediately check a box to limit results to only full text or peer-reviewed articles.

Head Reference Librarian Sarah Hébert said that every English Composition class receives a two-hour session with a reference librarian at the beginning of each semester, and QuickSearch is featured prominently. While library instruction in other disciplines may focus on subject-specific databases, the reference librarians always offer an overview of QuickSearch.

In addition, a faculty member from each discipline serves as a liaison between the library and his or her respective academic department. Library leaders shared QuickSearch with the faculty liaisons and encouraged them to share the benefits with their colleagues.

“Information literacy is a huge initiative at our college, as is the educated person,” Ambra said. “EDS goes hand-in-hand with both of those initiatives.”

Benefits & Results

Since implementing EDS, NHTI-Concord has seen library usage increase dramatically. In fact, the number of searches conducted shortly after launch more than tripled those performed in the same period the year prior.

“We’re actually getting more value for the money that is invested in our databases because they’re being used to a greater degree and a greater depth,” Ambra said. “EDS is what makes that possible.”

Wirkkala agreed. “EDS goes to where things are with a lot more ease,” she said, adding that Inter-Library Loan requests are down. “Students are getting to deeper levels of materials and databases than they were. They get results right away, so they don’t lose patience with the system.”

Hébert stated that 75 percent of freshmen students polled following library instruction sessions have indicated that they will use QuickSearch in the future to conduct their research.

“The students are really impressed by how much they get so quickly,” Hébert said, adding that during a recent library instruction period, the students were using “and” as a Boolean search operator to limit their search results and kept adding new keywords. “They were challenging each other to see who could get it down to just one result.”

Finally, said Ambra, NHTI-Concord is able to better prepare students for the transition to four-year colleges and universities where EDS is often the primary library research platform.

“We know EDS gives our students a competitive advantage,” Ambra said. “That was one of the points we considered [when we decided] to take on EDS. The ability to use such a powerful tool is critical for our students and the population we serve. We want them to be the best prepared students, and EDS gives them that opportunity.”

To learn more about EBSCO Discovery Service, or to request a free trial, click here.