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What Publishers Need To Know About Web Scale Discovery. SSP Annual Conference June 2013. Jay Henry. Introduction. Web Scale Discovery in brief & why it matters Metadata – new ruler of the realm Life Cycle of Metadata – Publisher as Parent Evangelic Appeal for Standards

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What publishers need to know about web scale discovery

What Publishers Need To Know About Web Scale Discovery

SSP Annual Conference

June 2013

Jay Henry


  • Web Scale Discovery in brief & why it matters

  • Metadata – new ruler of the realm

  • Life Cycle of Metadata – Publisher as Parent

  • Evangelic Appeal for Standards

  • Strategies, Tactics & Pitfalls to Avoid

Many terms tossed around
Many terms tossed around…

Federated search, Metasearch, NextGen catalogs, discovery layers --- and now “Web Scale Discovery Service”

An improved search experience has always been the motivation behind innovation…

The latest generation of tools are something different.

A definition
A Definition

  • A pre-harvested central index coupled with a richly featured discovery layer providing a single search across a library’s local, open access, and subscription collections.

…but it’s more than that

Not just another search
Not Just Another Search

  • PDA/DDA are purchasing models that were ahead of technologies ability to properly accommodate. The acquisition systems developed in conjunction with WSD represent a logical progression of capabilities

  • Patron-driven acquisition, or PDA, is not new, but it is on the rise. Approximately 400 to 600 libraries worldwide have switched to a patron-driven system for purchasing new works, and that number is likely to double over the next year and a half (2012)

Content is king
Content is King?

  • Metadata is the real ruler of the realm

  • Using descriptions of content to generate purchase and use is more important now than ever

  • So, if we know what the target is, how do we create the best possible metadata?

The black box
The Black Box

The people who know how these systems work aren’t telling


Lifecycle of metadata
Lifecycle of Metadata







The basics more is better
The Basics (More Is Better)

  • Title

  • Author

  • Format

  • ISBN

  • Subject categories

  • Imprint

  • Link to publisher’s dedicated page

  • Publication Date

  • Price

Data sales
Data = Sales

  • Titles that meet the BIC Basic standard see average sales 98% higher than those that don’t meet the standard

  • Records with complete BIC Basic data but no image have average sales…of 473% [higher] in comparison to those records which have neither the complete BIC Basic data elements or an image.

  • The difference in average sales between records which…don’t have enhanced metadata, and records which do…have enhanced metadata elements is on average over2,600 units, which represents an increase of almost 700%

How identifiers help
How identifiers help

  • Proper understanding of the customer, whether author, reader or institution

  • Provides a simple basis for wider data governance:

    Data governance, as defined at Ringgold, is the processes, policies, standards, organization, and technologies required to manage and ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, consistency,auditability, and security of data.

The supply chain


End User

Submission and Peer Review System

The supply chain

Discovery Service




Data Syndication Targets


Technology Partner




Fulfilment House or System

Subscription Agent or Sales Agent


The supply chain1


End User

Submission and Peer Review System

The supply chain

Discovery Service




Data Syndication Targets

Technology Partner





Fulfilment House or System

Subscription Agent or Sales Agent


Strategy suggestions
Strategy Suggestions

  • Create the most complete metadata possible

  • Distribute widely and efficiently

  • Adhere to standards

  • Uniquely describe each manifestation of a work

  • Develop an internal policy to create uniform data across all published works

Practical tactics
Practical Tactics

  • Require Authors to establish an ORCID profile

  • Create links into content, the more specific the better

  • Develop concise descriptions of content (not jacket copy)

  • Include as much as practical – e.g. abstracts of chapters are often written by the authors themselves

  • Apply unique identifiers to establish longevity of the metadata (e.g. ORCID, ISBN, ISSN, DOIs Ringgold ID, ISNI)

  • Evaluate the benefits of working with outside partners to assist in metadata development, application and syndication

Pitfalls to avoid
Pitfalls to Avoid

Non-Standardised Naming Conventions

Result: Poorly associated data in the supply chain.

  • Example 1: Inconsistent author listings, e.g. John Smith, J Smith, Smith J etc.

    Solution: use ORCID numbers

  • Example 2: Lack of affiliations between authors and institutional customers.

    Solution: use the Ringgold or ISNI number

  • Example 3: Inability to link author and customer data together.

    Solution: use the Ringgold or ISNI number

Pitfalls to avoid continued
Pitfalls to Avoid (continued)

Lack of or Inadequate Subject Classifications and Keywords:

Result: Dramatic negative effect the positioning of content in relevancy rankings in discovery or search services

  • Example 1: Applying non-standard subject classifications causes a mismatch against what is expected by libraries or end-users

    Solution: Understand the standards and best practices being applied by current systems and similar publishers; provide information in a form that will most easily utilized by the systems presenting your data

  • Example 2: DDA sales are lost because subjects were applied without using an international standard resulting in poor search results among international users; cross-discipline keywords lacking entirely e.g. Football in the US does not mean the same as Football in Europe.

    Solution: Adopt an internal policy to adhere to an accepted standard at the core of subject description, and then expand the description using keywords in the abstract/summary copy.

Pitfalls to avoid continued1
Pitfalls to Avoid (continued)

Format and versions:

Result: Confusion within sales and distribution channels

  • Example 1: Users fail to find a compatible format for the title they want

    Solution: Apply ISBNs correctly – unique identifier for each e-edition

  • Example 2: Citations are incorrect or inconsistent

    Solution: Apply version-specific pagination if appropriate

  • Example 3: Links to content fail over time

    Solution: Apply DOIs to establish a persistent and reliable link

  • Example 4: Data is not fully utilized/indexed by discovery systems

    Solution: Output information in industry standard formats (ONIX)


Lack of high quality information reduces the likelihood of content to be discovered.


  • The Ins and Outs of Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services by Athena Hoeppnerhttp://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/apr12/Hoeppner-Web-Scale-Discovery-Services.shtml

  • Stakeholders Strive to Define Standards for Web-Scale Discovery Systems By Michael Kelley on October 11, 2012 http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/10/discovery/coming-into-focus-web-scale-discovery-services-face-growing-need-for-best-practices/

  • White Paper: The Link Between Metadata and SalesBy Andre Breedt, Head of Publisher Account Management; David Walter, Research and Development Analyst, 2012 http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk/uploads/3971_Nielsen_Metadata_white_paper_A4(3).pdf

  • The BIC Basic standards for bibliographic data provision


  • Web-Scale Discovery in an Academic Health Sciences Library: Development and Implementation of the EBSCO Discovery Service DOI:10.1080/02763869.2013.749111JoLinda L. Thompsona*, Kathe S. Obriga & Laura E. Abatea Medical Reference Services Quarterly Volume 32, Issue 1, 2013


  • Discoverability Challenges and Collaboration Opportunities within the Scholarly Communications Ecosystem: A SAGE White Paper Update by Mary M. Somerville, University of Colorado Denver;Lettie Y. Conrad, SAGE Collaborative Librarianship Vol 5, No 1 (2013)

  • Affection for PDA BySteve Kolowich 2012 Inside Higher Ed


Thank you
Thank you

Jay Henry

Vice President

Ringgold Inc.

[email protected]