by Patrick Carr, East Carolina University

Web-scale discovery tools like EBSCO Discovery Service and Summon by Serials Solutions enable patrons to instantly search a vast range of subscription databases, catalogs, and repositories. As a result, these tools are being widely implemented by libraries.

But, with their powerful searching capabilities, web-scale discovery tools also introduce problems. Becoming accustomed to the convenience of a simple, Google-like search experience, patrons might neglect to search specialized databases that would give them better results. Moreover, the fact that the leading vendors of these tools are also leading vendors of subscription databases raises questions about the extent to which the vendors’ interests in promoting use of their databases might lead them to rank search results for content in these databases over results in competing databases.

How should libraries address these potential problems with Web-Scale Discovery?