New Service from EBSCO Publishing Allows Libraries to Use EBSCOhost® as the Front End of Their Online Catalog

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Let EBSCO “host” Your Catalog—EBSCO Publishing Now Enhancing the User Experience of Online Catalogs by using EBSCOhost® Search Functionality

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Now libraries can offer a catalog search experience that heightens the value and usability for patrons, while also bringing to light important content held by the library where users can take advantage of it.

EBSCO Publishing is leveraging its expertise in loading and enriching data along with the popularity of the EBSCOhost® interface to enable public libraries to use EBSCOhost as the front end of their online catalogs. Loading catalog records on EBSCOhost® allows public libraries to provide public library patrons with a better user experience using the features and functionality of EBSCOhost.

Public libraries have long been concerned with the usefulness of the interfaces through which patrons access the library catalog. With so much time and so many resources put into the development of a library catalog, the user experience is often criticized and antiquated. The goal of having catalogs available via EBSCOhost is to allow users to explore their library resources with ease based on what are now common search techniques. Adding library catalogs to EBSCOhost allows libraries to leverage the power of the intuitive EBSCOhost interface to present their catalogs to patrons via a familiar search experience already optimized for end users accustomed to Web searching.

An OCLC report: Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want indicates that end users expect their library catalogs to function like the websites and search engines they use everyday.

The OCLC study asked end users to choose the information that is most essential in catalog searches. Respondents indicated that the following items were most important:

  •     A list of libraries that own the item
  •     The ability to see what is available immediately
  •     The author
  •     Item detail
  •     Links to online content/full-text

Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want, OCLC, 2009 (End-user pop-up survey), p. 20.

Let EBSCO “host” Your Catalog

Searching catalog records using EBSCOhost is designed to provide easy access to catalog content including:

  •     Easy access to catalog content, including books, eBooks, audiobooks and other materials available from a given library, branch or union catalog
  •     The choice of straight-forward basic search options or robust advanced searching options with facets to narrow searches
  •     Up-to-date search experience through real-time availability checking, daily updates and the ability to limit results by location
  •     Catalog content—such as book jackets and subject headings—displayed in the result list
  •     Relevancy ranking ensures that keyword searches bring back appropriate results
  •     One-stop searching with direct links to related information
  •     Ability to brand the interface with library colors and logos to further market valuable resources and create awareness of services
  •     Option to create a profile that includes the library catalog along with EBSCOhost databases in a single search, at no extra cost

EBSCOhost was redesigned in 2008 with the end user in mind as described in the article The 21st Century Searcher: How the Growth of Search Engines Affected the Redesign of EBSCOhost.

EBSCO Publishing Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Michael Gorrell, says using the EBSCOhost interface to provide library catalogs is a logical step in the development of EBSCOhost. “While EBSCOhost offers a strong starting point for access and utilizing catalogs, we have put a lot into specifically developing the service not only to provide a more intuitive user experience, but to heighten the value of the catalog records through contextually related material. Now libraries can offer a catalog search experience that heightens the value and usability for patrons, while also bringing to light important content held by the library where users can take advantage of it.”

Adding links to other library resources is another way using EBSCOhost as the online catalog’s front end can help public libraries leverage their subscription content. Libraries subscribing to an EBSCOhost database such as Literary Reference Center™ would be able to provide links from the catalog records to the pertinent literary criticisms or author biographies while NoveList® Select subscribers would be able to add reading recommendations for millions of titles. Libraries will also be able to add related information such as book reviews, similar books, other books by the same author and links to resources such as Google Book Search and social media sites. The ability to brand the interface with library colors and logos allows libraries to further market their valuable resources and push their services to patrons.

About EBSCO Publishing
EBSCO Publishing is the world’s premier database aggregator, offering a suite of more than 300 full-text and secondary research databases. Through a library of tens of thousands of full-text journals, magazines, books, monographs, reports and various other publication types from renowned publishers, EBSCO serves the content needs of all researchers (Academic, Medical, K-12, Public Library, Corporate, Government, etc.). The company’s product lines include proprietary databases such as Academic Search™, Business Source®, CINAHL®, DynaMed™, Literary Reference Center™, MasterFILE™, NoveList®, SocINDEX™ and SPORTDiscus™ as well as dozens of leading licensed databases such as ATLA Religion Database™, EconLit, Inspec®, MEDLINE®, MLA International Bibliography, NISC™, The Philosopher’s Index™, PsycARTICLES® and PsycINFO®. Databases are powered by EBSCOhost®, the most-used for-fee electronic resource in libraries around the world. EBSCO is the provider of EBSCO Discovery Service™ a core collection of locally-indexed metadata creating a unified index of an institution’s resources within a single, customizable search point providing everything the researcher needs in one place—fast, simple access to the library’s full text content, deeper indexing and more full-text searching of more journals and magazines than any other discovery service ( For more information, visit the EBSCO Publishing Web site at: EBSCO Publishing is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

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Kathleen McEvoy
EBSCO Publishing
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