4 thoughts on “Discovery layers – Top Tech Trends 2”

  1. I agree, that discovery layers expose the lack of integration with existing library services. That’s one of the main topics in library technology for the coming time, I think. When you look at the ways, current discovery solutions integrate with the currently existing library services infrastructure, that’s really ugly from a technical point of view (and often from the user’s point of view, too).
    There are some inititives addressing that, most notably the ILS-DI working group (http://groups.google.com/group/ils-di).
    Though, from a technical point of view, I doubt, discovery layers drive more technical(!) integration (I don’t think you wanted to say that, because the article addresses discovery layers from a non-technical point of view, so I just want to add my technical point of view).
    On the technical side, we need disintegration of those integrated library systems to connect discovery layers and other software to the existing systems and services infrastructure. We need open interfaces (APIs).
    We need choice. We need that to provide users with an integrated view of the library services and thus better service (see websites like those of the ETH Z├╝rich library or University of Michigan library for integration of discovery layers and the complete library web site in one user front end). We need that to finally bring libraries on the Web…

  2. Lorcan, could you expand a bit – either here or perhaps later – on what you are alluding to when you say in your first point about the full library collection,“if they develop as anticipated (a real question”? There are identifiable risk factors (and many different kinds of risk, of course) with any projection for developments of any of the collection areas of the OCLC grid, for example, as well as unforeseen risks as always, but has there been any discussion of alternate futures?

  3. As excited as I am about discover layers, I do worry deeply worried about those databases that don’t work in this environment (due to technical limitation or licensing restrictions). Students and faculty at the college where I work depend on resources that are data driven that are unlikely to find a home in discovery layers; I’m thinking about things like Thomson ONE, Reuters terminals, Bloomberg terminals, Wharton Research Data Services, Datastream, etc. Where you say, “What is not represented in the discovery layer will be much less visible,” understates the potential downside we may see. These products are among the most expensive resources we license; their absence from the library’s “search engine” (as our students are bound to call our discovery layer) will prove painful to us in many ways. Is there much hope for including these data-driven resources in discovery layers?

  4. Frank – what I was getting at was that discovery layers may not take off in the way that some are suggesting because of various of the issues around them. Can they be comprehensive enough of licensed materials? Can they synchronise effectively enough with local repository or catalog systems? Can they provide enough customization or API support? And so on …

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