Resource Discovery for the Twenty-First Century Library

Jun 2020 | 240pp

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Resource Discovery for the Twenty-First Century Library
Case studies and perspectives on the role of IT in user engagement and empowerment

Edited by Simon McLeish

Discovery is central to academic activities at all levels and is a major focus for libraries and museums. Of all the parts of modern library provision, discovery services are the most clearly affected by developments in IT, from databases to search engines to linked data to machine learning. It is crucial to the relationship between libraries and their communities. This book will help its readers learn how to adapt in a fast changing area to continue to provide a high level of service.

Resource Discovery for the Twenty-First Century Library contains a range of contributions analysing the ways in which libraries are tackling the challenges facing them in discovery in the (post)-Google era. Chapters are written by experts, both global and local – describing specific areas of discovery and local implementations and ideas. The book will help with enhancing discovery both inbound – making locally held resources globally discoverable, and outbound – making global resources locally discoverable, in ways which are relevant to your user community.

 Content covered includes:

  • a survey of what resource discovery is today
  • case studies from around the world of interesting approaches to discovery
  • analysis of how users approach discovery
  • how to understand and make the best use of Internet search engines
  • using limited resources to help users find collections
  • linked open data and discovery
  • the future of discovery.

This book will be useful for subject librarians and others who give direct support to library users, digital library technicians, managers, staff with responsibility for managing electronic resources, metadata and discovery specialists, trainers and user education specialists. It will also be of use to curators and others who give direct support to researchers, managers of digitisation and cataloguing products, IT staff, trainers and user education specialists.

Figures and tables
Foreword: library discovery directions
Lorcan Dempsey
1 Introduction: technology and resource discovery
Simon McLeish
2 Flipping the catalogue: taking resource discovery to the next level
Roxanne Missingham
3 Breaking the record: liberating data into knowledge at the National Library Board of Singapore
Haliza Jailani and Chris Tang
4 Case study: clearing library discovery-to-access pathways for IEEE content
Julie Zhu
5 Case study: putting discovery at the heart of the library experience
Tamir Borensztajn, Oliver Pesch and Kate Lawrence
6 Investigating resource discovery needs at the University of Oxford
Christine Madsen and Megan Hurst
7 ‘Why can’t you just use Google?’
Simon McLeish
8 Exposing collections and resources effectively
Masha Garibyan and Simon McLeish
9 Open source discovery using Blacklight at the University of Hull
Chris Awre and Richard Green
10 A world of curated knowledge: leveraging the wider semantic web to enhance library discovery
Carl G. Stahmer
11 Cultural discovery: trends and futures
Ed Fay
12 Discovering the future
Wolfram Horstmann, David De Roure and Simon McLeish
Editorial afterword
Simon McLeish

'As someone who has been watching the discovery space with interest for years, I read this book with interest and it did not disappoint. Blending case studies of state of art projects such as National Library of Singapore’s OneSearch interface - which does data harmonization to combine multiple GLAM sources in Singapore together to be seamlessly searched, with practical chapters such as one on investigating the resource needs of the University of Oxford, it has something for everyone. The more speculative chapters on semantic search prototypes and futures in particular also intrigued me on what the future might bring. All in all, I recommend this book to all professionals who are interested in the art and future of library discovery.'
— Aaron Tay, Library Analytics Manager, Singapore Management University, and author of the Musings about librarianship blog​


Simon McLeish worked in conference organisation before the planning of an Internet conference led to work as a web designer during the dot com era. This developed into a career in digital libraries, including the development of online academic journals, research environments and authentication. Work on Shibboleth and Identity Management culminated in the production of the JISC Identity Management Toolkit and the book Access and Identity Management for Libraries (Facet, 2013). In 2013, Simon took up the post of Resource Discovery Architect for the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, and now divides his time between managing existing discovery and authentication services for the libraries and research and development.


Chris Awre, University of Hull

Tamir Borensztajn, EBSCO

Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC

David De Roure, University of Oxford

Ed Fay, University of Southampton

Masha Garibyan, Librarianship and Information Science Consultant

Richard Green, University of Hull

Wolfram Horstmann, Goettingen State and University Library

Megan Hurst, Athenaeum 21

Haliza Jailini, National Library of Singapore

Kate Lawrence, Akamai Technologies

Christine Madsen, Athenaeum 21

Roxanne Missingham, Australian National University

Oliver Pesch, Chief Product Strategist

Carl G. Stahmer, U.C. Davis

Chris Tang, National Library of Singapore

Julie Zhu, IEEE