University increases library use with upgrade to EBSCO Discovery Service

British University in Egypt

Overview

Located in Cairo, Egypt, the British University in Egypt (BUE) aims to become the leading teaching and research University in the Middle East and Northern Africa, preparing graduates to enter key sectors of the Egyptian economy. Approximately 5,000 students attend BUE, which offers degree programs in Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Business Administration, Economics, Political Science, Engineering, and Informatics and Computer Science. With a learning and research collection that includes 30,000 printed books, 150,000 eBooks, and 23 databases containing numerous e-journals, the BUE Library wanted to provide students and researchers with a faster and more effective search tool. In September 2012, the Library upgraded its subscription from EBSCOhost Integrated Search to EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), a single-search platform that streamlines access to library content. Since then, the Library has seen a sharp rise in the number of full-text downloads as well as increased use of its most important research databases. As a result, the Library has upgraded its EBSCO database subscriptions to include Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, MEDLINE Complete, and Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source.

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Challenges

Although EBSCOhost Integrated Search (EHIS) successfully pulled a number of its EBSCO resources into one search interface, the British University in Egypt Library sought a faster, more effective research platform that would also integrate the catalogue and the Library’s non-EBSCO electronic resources.

University Librarian Tarek Mehrem said that some users did not always persist when they had to search within each of the individual databases. “Some users might not know the specialty of each database,” Mehrem said. “Even if they do, it takes a lot of time to search in each one with the same scope.”

In addition, Librarians were spending a lot of their time teaching students how to search for information, and the process often varied from database to database. This task took Librarians away from the critical objective of developing the Library’s collection.

“We wanted a tool that would search all of our databases and books from one point in a short amount of time,” Mehrem said.

EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) provided the institution with an affordable solution.

Solutions

In early 2012, at the encouragement of EBSCO Regional Sales Manager Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, Mehrem and his colleagues began evaluating EDS.

In addition to the speed of the service and its ability to integrate the Library catalogue, Khalil said, the Library staff members were pleased to see the familiar user interface.

“The staff really liked the fact that EDS was a replica of EBSCOhost which they and the students were used to and appreciated,” said Khalil, who presented EDS to all Library staff members.

Mehrem said EDS’s superior relevancy ranking feature also contributed to the Library’s decision to purchase the tool because searches in EDS yield a more comprehensive set of relevant results. Through high-end indexing and subject headings applied through controlled vocabularies, EDS seeks to enhance the indexing of journals and magazines to better inform the relevancy process—a distinction of “quality” vs. “quantity.”

Subsequently, the Library decided to upgrade its EBSCO database subscriptions to include Academic Search Complete and Business Source Complete, a move that would offer users a wider range of journal coverage. The Library also purchased MEDLINE Complete and Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source to enrich the resources of BUE’s Pharmacy and Dentistry faculties.

“The support and good presentation of Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim, the EBSCO representative in Egypt, was another element in making such decisions,” Mehrem said, adding that the databases also trialed well with the academic community. “Of course, the good prices of EBSCO databases helped a lot.”

Benefits & Results

Since upgrading to EDS, the BUE Library has seen a marked increase in the use of its most important research databases including ScienceDirect, an EBSCO Partner Database. In addition, the overall number of full-text downloads during the 2012-2013 academic year nearly doubled over the previous year.

Mehrem reports that EDS is saving the Library staff a lot more time. “Instead of explaining the search method in each database, they can instruct students in [how to use] EDS once,” Mehrem said. “And the A-to-Z search is also helpful in saving time. Our Librarians are able to answer more quickly an instructor about whether we have a specific journal or not.”

In addition, Mehrem said, the A-to-Z Publications list is helping the Library to save money. In the past, academic staff occasionally did not realize that the institution had access to a specific journal and mistakenly requested another subscription. Now, before placing an order, Librarians can simply search the A-to-Z Publications in EDS to see if the Library already owns the title.

Finally, students are pleased with EDS as they are now able to search across all of the Library’s electronic resources using one search box, thereby shortening the distance between search and discovery. “It has saved a lot of time,” said a student. “We did not expect to find all these academic references in one place.”

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

"Some users might not know the specialty of each database [in our collection]. Even if they do, it takes a lot of time to search in each one with the same scope. EDS has solved this problem."

-Tarek Mehrem, University Librarian, British University in Egypt


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