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  • LISWire: Exploring Discovery – demystifying the breadth and depth of discovery

    July 26th, 2016LISWire aggregatorUncategorized

    Facet Publishing have announced the release of Ken Varnum’s new edited collection Exploring Discovery

    We are in a new age of discovery. Not one recalled from history books, where exploration of the physical world proceeded apace, but an age where the incredible breadth and depth of knowledge is just as mysterious to the typical researcher. The new age of discovery builds on decades of advancements in handling metadata and full text in digital formats, natural language processing, keyword searching, and information science. The pace of change in the last half-century has been dizzying, enabling library technologists to enable information discovery across multiple scales, with tools and processes specific to each.

    The concept of discovery covers scales from billions of items in the large web-scale systems to just hundreds of items at the other end of the scale in purpose-built discovery tools for an individual library. In his new book, editor Ken Varnum brings together leading experts to explore both discovery tools that have been made to enable in-depth access to relatively narrow information silos, as well as tools that enable exploration of broad swathes of digital and off-line content.

    Using a series of case studies, Exploring Discovery illustrates the interfaces and technologies that can be used by libraries today and examines the future of discovery. Divided into four sections, I) Vended Discovery Systems, II) Custom Discovery Systems, III) Interfaces, IV) Content and Metadata, the book covers key topics including:

    • choosing a web-scale discovery system
    • libraries, archives and museums sharing a single discovery tool
    • managing internal development requirements with the constraints of a small or medium-sized library
    • integrating discovery to improve user experience
    • custom discovery systems built with open-source software
    • metadata challenges in discovery services
    • open access and discovery tools
    • regional aggregation and discovery of digital collections.

    The Midwest Book Review said, “Exploring Discovery is easy to dip into as needed, and provides a comprehensive examination of discovery services that will prove invaluable to IT, web development, electronic resource management, and technical services staff”.

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    Exploring Discovery: The front door to your library’s licensed and digitized content | Jul 2016 | 304pp | Paperback; 9781783300969; £64.95

    About the author

    Ken Varnum is the Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Learning Analytics at the University of Michigan Library. Ken's research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. From 2007-2015 he was the Web Systems Manager at the U-M Library, where he managed the library's Drupal-driven website. He wrote Drupal in Libraries (2012) and edited The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know (2014) and The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks (2014). You can learn more about Ken at and find him on Twitter at @varnum.

    Watch Ken Varnum describe the book in this video:

    The book is published by Facet Publishing and is available from Bookpoint Ltd | Tel: +44 (0)1235 827702 | Fax: +44 (0)1235 827703 | Email: | Web: | Mailing Address: Mail Order Dept, 39 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4TD. It is available in North America from the American Library Association.

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