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Discovery: Where Researchers Start


About The Webinar

If the discovery resources available via the library don’t necessarily serve as the faculty’s starting line for launching cutting-edge research, then what’s the next step? Published in early 2017, ITHAKA’s US Library Survey of roughly 1,500 institutional libraries indicated a diminishing expectation that the institutional library will be the starting point for researchers. What does that suggest for content providers and for library professionals? How does a library know that faculty are using something else? How can libraries draw upon that knowledge of researcher preferences to improve their own services?

Confirmed Speakers: Karin A. Wulf, Professor, History and Director of the Omohundro Institute. College of William and Mary; Joelen Pastva, Head, Collection Management and Metadata Services, Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University; Robert Sebek, Collections Technology Specialist, Virginia Tech.

Event Sessions

Where History Begins: As the Archive Turns Digital, and the Library Becomes an Archive


Karin Wulf

Professor, History, and Director of the Omohundro Institute
College of William and Mary

Though the humanities and social sciences vary dramatically by and even within discipline, I’m going to focus in my talk on how research libraries function in my own discipline of history. Libraries are less places of discovery than gateways of access. Of course libraries have subscriptions to online journal content, but for researchers they very crucially have subscriptions to primary source collections. As more special collections libraries digitize their holdings and make them available via their own websites, a research library’s collection becomes less important as a means to these research materials.

And yet what libraries still have--though they may not yet value-- is the strata of material that is beginning to inform analysis of how scholarship has evolved. For a journal and book publisher, I have come to understand our place within libraries as part of the layers forming a corpus for researchers engaged in the study of the discipline's origins as much as the research contained within the journal’s pages. This turn toward the study of the past’s past is quite important, and represents a larger pattern of reflecting on the history of knowledge production in many disciplines. Perhaps libraries may even need to reconsider deaccessioning.

Beyond the index: research and discovery services in a health sciences library


Joelen Pastva

Head, Collection Management & Metadata Services
Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University

Electronic journals dominate the health sciences library landscape, but the average library user is more able than ever to access journal content through channels that obscure the library's role as a content provider. Despite the improved functionality of centralized indexes of journal articles offered by library discovery tools, health sciences researchers just aren't using them. How are researchers finding their way to the library, and how does the library connect with researchers? 

This presentation examines the trends and metrics used to gauge user engagement with library discovery platforms at a health sciences library and how they influence design and configuration decisions. It discusses new types of library-licensed resources that present challenges for discovery, and specialized services that allow the library to meet the users where they are.

Configuring Knowledgebases for Discovery and Access


Virginia Tech's recent switch from one knowledgebase and discovery service provider to another gave us an opportunity to review the primary means our patrons use to access our resources. Through a combination of vendor statistics and website analysis, we recognized that alternate means of access were often ignored by librarians and that care would need to be taken to ensure users could access the resources they need, regardless of where they started their search. That resulted in updated LibGuides, choices in configuring the knowledgebase, and new emphasis in training sessions.

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, August 1, 2018, will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

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  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the day before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.

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  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

For Online Events

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