Jinfo BlogThe fast-changing face of discovery services - new Jinfo research

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By Elizabeth Trudell

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Over the last few years, the meaning of the term "discovery services" has been evolving and changing among information professionals. A fresh Jinfo survey looks deeper into factors driving the deployment of discovery services in corporate settings and uncovers overlap into web-scale tools, enterprise content management systems and data analysis products.


To update our perspective on discovery services, we recently conducted a survey of information professionals, with a focus on corporate organisations doing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research. 

We aimed to learn how these individuals describe the term "discovery services", how they view the user needs driving the use of such services and what systems and tools they are currently using.

The report, "Jinfo survey - exploring discovery services - 2017" is now available to Jinfo Subscribers. 

The top-level research results show that use of discovery services which provide a single point of entry to multiple licensed content sources is rising, as is use of enterprise content systems to improve relevancy and findability for data feeds and internal content. However, data analysis tools show an even greater level of experimentation for content discovery.

What's driving deployment?

The survey results show that a user's biggest challenge occurs at the very start of the discovery process, with frustration in not knowing how to choose the optimal content resource(s) from among many choices.

Respondents' comments capture some key pain points:

"Our vast number of resources were difficult to find on our library web portal. Many users, especially new employees, did not know where to begin."  

"What is missing from all is analytical capability. We have added to our user's pain; now they search everything."

Increasing use of discovery services and tools 

A surprisingly high percentage of respondents are currently using or considering a web-scale discovery service such as EBSCO Discovery or ProQuest Summon. A slightly smaller but still significant percentage are also using or considering use of an enterprise content system such as InfoDesk or NewsEdge to aid discovery.  

There is considerable churn, as many respondents have tried and then discontinued using one service and are now considering other options. This indicates that the market is in an emerging rather than stable state, with many different solutions being tried to meet user needs.

Of equal interest is the usage reported for a long list of tools for data analysis. These include services such as IBM Watson and Google Health Analytics, which deploy machine learning techniques in big data environments.

However, the biggest burst of activity is with specialised tools such as Tableau, which enables visualisation using almost any kind of data, or Altmetric (Jinfo product review coming soon), which helps researchers track interest in their published work.

Read all about it!

These highlights of the research findings give just a taste of the current landscape uncovered by this research. Jinfo Subscribers can read all the details in the complete report "Jinfo survey - exploring discovery services - 2017".

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