By Christine Stohn, Director of Product Management
Library discovery has evolved greatly since its early days. The substantial growth of electronic and digital material as well as the expansion of material types has prompted changes and challenges in operational tasks. It necessitates the use of more scalable big data technologies and requires new exploratory discovery services, beyond just searching, to support users in finding what they need. However, one key concept has remained consistent – the need to ensure convenience for the user, not only with finding material but also with accessing it. Linking to full text is one of the critical pathways for discovery.
Ex Libris, now part of Clarivate, and its library discovery services – Primo and Summon – has always centered around content neutrality and inclusiveness. Librarians choose where they purchase content to meet institutional needs and our discovery services support those decisions. While OpenURL-based linking and direct links from the indexed data have always been key to provide good linking capabilities, as well as choice, our new Quicklinks feature takes user convenience and linking to a new level.
Quicklinks provides users with a simple one-click-to-full-text experience, directly to either the pdf or the html version, from the result list in Primo and in Summon. Like our discovery services, Quicklinks is content neutral and based on library choice. While we are starting with a small list of content providers, the service is open for any content provider who is able to provide stable and reliable links directly into the full text, pdf or html. Each Quicklinks addition requires analysis, creation of rule sets, and extensive and ongoing testing. The reliability of the link is key. We are taking the quality over quantity approach while extending the list of supported providers, but we expect many more to be added over the next year.
Equally we will be extending options for libraries to prefer and choose which links to use. During the development phase we extensively worked with a group of libraries who tested links, gave feedback about their experience and made suggestions about how they would like to be able to specify their preferences. We’re extremely thankful for our testing partners’ assistance. Their help was invaluable. Ex Libris has a long tradition of working in close cooperation with customers, and that certainly played a critical role in the development of Quicklinks.
Convenient delivery of material will remain an important focus for us, alongside the continued development of discovery functionality. New evolving delivery methods and services – from interlibrary loan software for resource sharing to controlled digital lending (see also new NISO project) – impact also our discovery services. Convenience for users has become an even more prominent concept during the difficult times of lockdowns and working from home due to COVID-19. Though many users start their research in Google, this does not make library discovery any less important as the millions of searches conducted daily in our discovery systems demonstrate.
Libraries offer a unique combination of expertise and services, among others curation and delivery. The combination of local and unique material with broadly available material, the ability to expand and narrow research and to use exploratory paths in high quality metadata, convenience in delivery and access, and incorporating library services into the user workflows is and will remain a key focus in the coming years. We’re excited that Quicklinks can play a role in this long-term strategy and bring more convenience to users.
Learn more about Quicklinks through this short video, review the dedicated Primo and Summon pages in the Ex Libris Customer Knowledge Center, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
December 14, 2021