Exploring Discovery

Jul 2016 | 304pp

Price: £64.95
CILIP members price: £51.96

Share this page

Join our mailing list

Exploring Discovery
The front door to your library’s licensed and digitized content

Edited by Kenneth J Varnum

In the context of libraries, “discovery” is the process of finding appropriate resources to meet an information need.  We are in a new age of discovery where technology has enabled today’s researchers to explore increasingly vaster realms of information more efficiently than ever before.  

What cutting-edge tools and services are emerging from the growing suite of discovery interfaces and indexes? Where is “discovery” going, and what tools and techniques are emerging as standard elements in the library technology toolbox?

Exploring Discovery examines the range of discovery-focused tools and technologies being deployed by libraries and provides a series of case studies illustrating the interfaces and technologies that can be used by libraries today. 

The key topics covered include:

  • vendor-provided web scale discovery platforms
  • using discovery vendors in small and mid-sized libraries
  • libraries, archives and museums sharing a single discovery tool
  • custom discovery systems built with open-source software including Blacklight
  • discovery on a shoestring
  • integrating discovery to improve user experience
  • different discovery interfaces
  • metadata challenges in discovery services
  • Open Access and discovery tools
  • regional aggregation and discovery of digital collections.

Readership: The book will be essential reading for library managers, systems librarians, metadata librarians, digital services librarians and anyone working in libraries, archives and museums looking to evaluate, implement, develop or improve discovery services.


1. Collaborative Growth Towards Discovery: Becoming Stronger Through Change - Margaret Heller and Hong Ma
2. Approaching Discovery as Part of a Library Service Platform: Lessons Learned - Nathan Hosburgh
3. When You Rent Your Front Door: A Mid-Size Library’s Experiences Relying on Discovery Vendors - Stephen Bollinger and Kate Silton
4. Exploring Discovery @ Rosenberg Library: What Happens when a Library, a Museum,and an Archives Get Together to Share a Single Discovery Tool? - T. Louise M. Kidder


5. Geospatial Resource Discovery - Darren Hardy, Jack Reed, and Bess Sadler
6. Discovery on a Shoestring: Implementing a Full-Functioned Discovery Tool with Free Software and No-Extra-Charge Metadata Sources - Julia Bauder
7. Agile Open-Source Discovery: Blacklight with EBSCO Discovery Service - Sam Popowich
8. Using Blacklight for Archival Discovery - Adam Wead and Jennie Thomas
9. Creating a “Magical” Request and Delivery Experience for Patrons using a Blacklight-Based Catalog - Matthew Connolly, Jennifer Colt, Joanne Leary, and Melissa Wallace


10. The Bento Box Design Pattern - Jason Thomale, William Hicks, and Mark Phillips
11. One-to-Many: Building a Single-Search Interface for Disparate Resources - Cole Hudson and Graham Hukill
12. Integrating Discovery to Improve the User Experience - Sonya Betz and Ian Roberton
13. Fixing Facets - Sean Hannan, Steven Heslip, and Kristen Johannes
14. One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Tailoring Discovery through User Testing - Joseph Deodata, Khalilah Gambrell, and Eric Frierson


15. From User Stories to Working Code: A Case Study from NYU’sDigital Collections Discovery Initiative - Daniel Lovins
16. Regional Aggregation and Discovery of Digital Collections:The Mountain West Digital Library - Anna Neatrour, Rebekah Cummings, and Sandra McIntyre
17. Open Access and Discovery Tools: How Do Primo Libraries Manage Green Open Access Collections? - François Renaville
18. Discovery Platforms and the Database of Record - Alan Manifold
19. Know Thy Metadata: Metadata Challengesin Discovery Services - Myung-Ja K. Han and William Fletcher Weathers

"Compiled and edited by Varnum, Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content features first-hand profiles of 19 library projects. Varnum and his roster of contributors offer guidance on the complete range of discovery services, from the broad sweep of vendors' products to the fine points of specialized holdings...Exploring Discovery is easy to dip into as needed, and provides a comprehensive examination of discovery services that will prove invaluable to IT, web development, electronic resource management, and technical services staff. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, Exploring Discovery is very highly recommended for community, corporate, governmental, and academic library "Library Science" instructional reference collections and supplemental studies curriculum reading lists."
- Midwest Book Review

"...an essential tool for individuals who manage their library’s discovery systems. This book is recommended for academic libraries."

"Although primarily focused on discovery in academic libraries, Exploring Discovery does offer any library considering how to best implement a discovery service some useful examples of projects as well as some thoughtful examinations of issues surrounding discovery....this would be a valuable book to refer to when beginning the discovery process."
- Technicalities​

"Exploring Discovery is an excellent resource to find out what solutions libraries of different kinds are using, and what are the challenges to expect when trying to improve a library discovery system."
- Claudio Svaluto, University of Surrey, Alexandria

'Exploring Discovery is a valuable book for implementers and is admirably complete on the topics it covers.'
- Thomas Dowling, Wake Forest University, Technical Services Quarterly

'The authors of the essays come primarily from the academic library world, but there are corporate and museum representatives, as well. Taken together, the volume effectively presents the complexity of providing adequate discovery tools for optimal utilization of the vast holdings of institutions in the current era.'
- Maurine McCourry, Mossey Library, Against the Grain


Ken Varnum is the Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Learning Analytics at the University of Michigan Library. Ken's research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. From 2007-2015 he was the Web Systems Manager at the U-M Library, where he managed the library's Drupal-driven website. He wrote Drupal in Libraries (2012) and edited The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know (2014) and The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks (2014). You can learn more about Ken at http://varnum.org and find him on Twitter at @varnum.

More titles in this category >>