Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Open Access
Director of Discovery and Delivery Strategy
Ex Libris Group
Because of the simple search interface that today’s library discovery systems offer, users tend to expect a Google-like search experience in which the discovery system understands what they want; is forgiving of misspellings, omissions, and word variations; and displays the most relevant results first, regardless of how a query is formulated. Known-item searches, which make up the majority of searches in an academic environment, pose a particular challenge for discovery systems. When users know exactly what they are after, their method of describing the desired item can range from typing a few of the title’s words to copying and pasting an entire citation. This session focuses on a research project at Boston University Libraries and the work that the search team at Ex Libris has carried out in the area of known-item searches, including the establishment of methodologies for analyzing search logs and the handling of the variations of known-item search queries in the Primo discovery system.