Parker University is a private university located in Dallas, Texas. In addition to a world-renowned doctoral program in chiropractic, the university offers degree programs and continuing education in the health-related fields including occupational therapy, massage therapy, diagnostic sonography and health care management.
To support the research needs of approximately 1,200 students and faculty members, the Parker University Library offers a variety of information resources through its collection, which includes 74 databases and thousands of e-books.
In 2014, the library purchased EBSCO Discovery Service, a robust library platform that allows users to search across all the library’s resources simultaneously using a single search box, as well as Full Text Finder, a next-generation knowledge base, holdings management tool, publication finder and link resolver. Satisfaction with these EBSCO services led the library to replace its existing website platform with Stacks, a web-based content management system designed specifically for libraries.
According to Library Director Becky Sullivan, the library’s previous website platform did not allow for an integrated search of e-resources and other website content. Although the search box returned copious results from the library’s subscription journals and databases, students and faculty were not uncovering many of the library’s other valuable resources – such as borrowing guidelines, inter-library loan request forms and research guides.
In addition, library staff also lacked the ability to quickly update website content or restructure the navigation to improve the user experience.
When she and her colleagues began evaluating new website platforms, Sullivan contacted the sales team at EBSCO to learn more about Stacks. Stacks is a content management system built specifically for libraries and features an easy-to-use administrator dashboard to help libraries build and manage a website ― all on their own.
What stood out to the Parker University library staff was Stacks’ ability to “plug in and play” existing product platforms like EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS). The library was able to add an EDS search box on the library website homepage.
In addition, Sullivan noted, Stacks includes many out-of-the-box features that help the library create a superior user experience. For example, the platform allows library administrators to streamline access to the library’s e-resources by creating an online index of databases and journals that can be sorted and searched alphabetically or by category. Categories are customizable, and facets and filters help users narrow the list of resources to those that best meet their research needs.
Stacks also offers a variety of features that enable libraries to create, manage and promote news, events, tutorials, campus meetings and more ― right from the library website. For example, the library team leverages the callouts feature to communicate relevant news and information to end users.
Benefits & Results
While it took a lot of time and effort to transition all the resources onto the new library website, Sullivan said it was worth the work. She praised the EBSCO Stacks team for helping with the transition and launch of the new library website.
“Stacks has given the library a makeover,” Sullivan said. “The website is [now] easy to update and helpful for the user.”
As a result of integrating EDS and positioning the search capability front and center on the library website homepage, Sullivan noted, users are no longer confused about where to begin their research. “We do not get the calls from users having trouble navigating the website,” she explained. “This was a constant complaint before Stacks.”
Sullivan and the library staff have been so pleased with Stacks that the library has since integrated OpenAthens, a SAML-based single sign-on solution that offers greater security. Remote users now need only sign in once to access all the library’s resources.