I got a note from Debbie Campbell, Director, Collaborative Services, at the National Library of Australia the other week about their new prototype discovery service.
The service is available at http://sbdsproto.nla.gov.au/ and provides integrated access to over 42 million metadata and text resources from a range of the National Library's collaborative services and from elsewhere. For this initial version there are a range of data sources including: the Australian National Bibliographic Database, Australian Newspapers, Picture Australia, the ARROW Discovery Service, Pandora. The new service will also provide the discovery interface for the People Australia initiative. Additionally we have included some external sources of data such as OAIster, Open Library, the Hathi Trust, the Internet Archive and the Library of Congress tables of contents, publishers' descriptions and sample book chapters.
In leveraging off the collaborative approach the National Library takes with its discovery services, and in integrating results from across collections and formats, this new service will have distinct benefits for users. For example a researcher searching for images relating to "George Woodroffe Goyder" will also be presented with results relating to people, book, manuscript, map and newspaper results. This new approach presents major benefits to the researcher who, in the past, would have had to visit each discovery service in turn and conduct separate searches for the material they sought.
There is further information in the about pages.
I looked at the service and thought I would do a blog in a day or two. Suddenly then though there was a flurry of admiring comment, not least from my colleage Roy Tennant who reported ...
"We will now be going all out," Warwick Cathro of the NLA reported in an email to me this week, "to get additional content for this service such as (a) high level collection guides and finding aids from libraries and archives (b) oral history summaries and transcripts (c) metadata describing datasets, especially Australian social science data held by government or research data archives)." [One-stop searching with a can-do attitute]
This service brings together many individually innovative services to give a unified experience. I hope that NLA tracks how people use this service and what they think of it and let us know what they find out.