IPSWICH, Mass. — February 11, 2014 — Richland Library in South Carolina has created a truly unique user experience for its library customers, with the help of EBSCO Discovery Service API (EDS API) from EBSCO Information Services. By implementing EDS API, Richland Library was able to use their own website applications for their discovery user interface and still provide their users with all the functionality offered in EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS).
Although Richland Library wasn't initially looking at discovery services, they soon realized after an evaluation, that EDS API can help develop the ideal user experience while also enabling creative control for its library. EDS API is a unique solution that complements and enhances the search experience for libraries with custom discovery solutions by providing access to premium content available through EBSCO Discovery Service, as well as a robust set of features and functionality. With EDS API, libraries can integrate critical components of EDS into their library solution including rich metadata, superior relevancy ranking, full-text linking, (including SmartLinks), persistent links, custom links, facets, limiters and expanders, and book jacket images.
Virtual Services Manager at Richland Library, Kelly Coulter says they were focused on bringing services to their website so library customers could find what they were looking for with ease and also interact with the library in the way that they expect to. "My biggest priority was to stop sending people to a million different other websites and try to keep our visits on our own website. That way we can control the user experience more than if we're just a portal sending customers off to other websites". Coulter recently gave a presentation at Computers in Libraries based on this goal entitled "The Ideal User Experience". The presentation still gets visits every day - even almost one year later.
Coulter explains how the process works for their library, "Our website makes an inquiry to EDS and passes along the search parameters. It then pulls back the information it can get from EDS and presents it on the library website in a way that's formatted and styled to look like our website."
Coulter had a commercial background before coming to the library and knew what was involved in order to be the go-to information source for their library customers. "I know from my background outside of libraries that you can't train your customer to do anything. It has to be easy for them or they're going to go somewhere else. I knew we had this really limited window to grab them and give them what they needed before they were just going to go to Google."
Coulter's vision of bringing services into the website rather than sending people off the website was a huge undertaking and involved many members of her team but Coulter says working with EBSCO has been very positive. "Everybody at EBSCO has been great. It can be iffy whether someone is willing to kind of get down in the weeds with you to do some of these things. It's an inconvenience for a vendor to revamp things or think about things in a different way. I've had a really good experience so far."
Over the next few months Richland Library hopes to do more usability studies and to see how the library customers are interacting with the library website. They plan to take advantage of some additional features and functionality that EDS provides including adding more facets to the interface to cater different user-level search needs.
EBSCO Discovery Service brings together the most comprehensive collection of content—including superior indexing from top subject indexes, high-end full text and the entire library collection—all within an unparalleled full-featured, customizable discovery layer experience.