Wednesday, 16 June 2010

CamLib mobile interface and Aquabrowser

One of our aims in this project was to integrate our widgets with the new (forthcoming) Aquabrowser discovery layer, which will be launched later this summer. Cambridge library resources come in from a huge variety of data sources, including eight (yes, eight) Voyager databases. Searching across these collections presents a huge challenge for our users. Look at the previous search options:
  • UL & Dependents
  • Departments and Faculties A-E
  • Departments and Faculties F-M
  • Departments and Faculties O-Z
  • Colleges A-N
  • Colleges P-W
  • Affiliated Institutions
  • Manuscripts
So it was difficult to even search across all colleges, let alone the whole of Cambridge.

Aquabrowser takes feeds from all these data sources and rearranges and tidies up the data (through a mixture of straight deduplication and FRBR) to make it all more manageable - and more importantly provides a single point from which to search all of our collections.

We've now managed to integrate Camlib, our mobile interface, with the Aquabrowser APIs to provide a much improved search service. Our new search options are:
  • Search All
  • UL & Dependents (incl. Manuscripts)
  • Departments and Faculties
  • Colleges
  • Affiliated Institutions
  • Electronic Resources
The big difference is that you can now search across the whole of Cambridge. But you can also search across the different types of collection more sensibly. As an extra we've separated out electronic resources as a distinct section for those only interested in the online.

The search results are very differently presented - one result for each title, followed by a list of the libraries who have a copy.

In short, if you are looking for all copies of a particular title in Cambridge, instead of having to make eight separate searches and plough through multiple results in each, you make one search with all the relevant information returned under one result.

We're hoping that a by-product of this kind of searching will be increasing integration of library services in Cambridge - if people see us and our collections as an integrated whole, then we might move faster to meet their expectations.

And we've even got some funky book covers from Syndetics to spice up our results list ...

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