Posted 1:57 p.m. Thursday, May 6, 2021

By Teri Holford 

Discovery. It’s not always a word necessarily associated with libraries, meaning the institutions where information is carefully curated, collected and connected to users who need it.  

Discovery often evokes notions of excitement and adventure, the treasure just waiting to be found down a dark and winding passage. However, discovery has also found a place within the library world as a way to refer to our public facing information seeking tools, formerly known as catalogs, then online catalogs and now discovery tools. Like it or not, they are one of the new ways of finding information, and they bring with them a whole new set of questions.  

When faced with discovery tools, are we as librarians and users looking for the answer, an answer, or something that is good enough? Are we hoping to find exact information or discover possible solutions that could-maybe-potentially work? Does one decide to discover? Or is discovery more serendipitous?  

Questions often lead to more questions, but in the meantime, Murphy Library is tapping into an embedded feature within our online discovery tool to help users discover resources that have been organized by librarians in a variety of ways.  

Introducing Collection Discovery. This cleverly termed feature is simply another way to present curated sets of information for users. This feature allows librarians to create collections of library materials based on subject, what’s new in the library, library collection (Curriculum Center, Reference, etc.), and more! 

Examples of time-saving shortcuts for consumers exist in other industries too, such as in the clothing industry when pret-a-porter clothes that were ready to be picked out, tried on and purchased as is replaced custom, tailor-made garments. Or in the food industry when cake mixes appeared (just add water, oil and one egg!) post WWII. The concept is supposed to save the user time. And it can, once you know how to find the thing you’re looking for.  

The Collection Discovery feature, for now, is hidden underneath a couple of layers of clicks. To find it, follow the steps presented in the above video.  

Library software is powerful and can do many things to help users discover information. Collection Discovery is a feature we’re currently trying out to determine whether it helps users along their path of discovery. Let us know what you think, and if you find it helpful, spread the word!