Metasearch aka Federated Search aka The Mind Killer
This is the period during the year at MPOW that we are reviewing our goals, and really looking at what the next 6 months will bring. As a portion of that, it’s up to me to try and figure out how our IT department fits in with this, given that we are mentioned in no less than 99.999999943% of the Library Wide goals. Pretty much every overarching goal for the library as a whole has some part of it that IT is going to support, or design, or maintain, or drive.
This makes for job security. It also makes for many hats.
After looking at where we are headed (new building, re-thinking the library, focusing on the students) we decided that the area that could most impact the way that we do things is metasearch. No one is happy with their ILS, and patrons just aren’t using our catalog at all…circulation statistics for books is through the floor. But foot traffic, website visits, database use, reference questions…all are up from previous years. So we’re definitely being used, just not for books. Given that the library “brand” is books, that’s worrying.
As an attempt to bridge this gap to the books, the library IT council decided unanimously to pursue Metasearch over the course of this year. The idea is, of course, to have books presented to patrons side-by-side with all of our other resources.
The gap between theory and practice in this case seems like the Grand Canyon.
Is anyone happy with a metasearch product? I know that most of us agree that the technology isn’t mature yet, but at this point implementation of a metasearch solution seems less daunting than trying to roll to another ILS. Especially since I can give LibraryFind a try without signing away my soul to the Library Corporate Masters.