Integrating Information Resources: The tale of the Primo development partnership at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt formed a partnership with Ex Libris to develop Primo, a new search and retrieval platform for library and university resources. The session will cover:
· Project management experience from the project
· Working with staff that are not confident with the product
· Shifting time schedules
· What happens when the deliverables change
· Staffing needs
· Technical development
· How to integrate two different ILS philosophies
· Creating a GetIT system
· Extracting information

Speakers: Dale Poulter and Jody Combs, Vanderbilt University

Saturday 10:50am; about 50 in audience


Explanation of link between strategic plan & partnership was used to develop a good support base

– Users were searching for articles in opac – i.e. looking in the wrong place – documented by log files
– Vanderbilt library also manages blackboard system for campus
– In terms of staff – you can work with the “constructively skeptical” but not the “terminally skeptical”

– Amazon data was used for enhancement metadata
– Had an integrated comment feature in their preview version
– Created a test pilot web site, put links on opac and other library web page
– Combining all the holdings records into a single MARC record for processing – one of the most difficult things to do.

Alpha Search Jean & Alexander Heard Library – Demo:
– Sign-in is also remote access authentication.
– Can save search sets, send to Endnote, tag, output to del.icio.us
– E-shelf (my book shelf feature)
– Spell check like google – suggestions “do you mean” – but only recommends if there is something that matches in their database
– “Facets” = new jargon for search limit
– Suggested new searches functionality (“more like this”)
– When entering comments have to click on an agreement to make comment public and to be used by Vanderbilt

Speaker comments:
* Goal: once user is at the item can get it as quickly as possible, or provide them with alternatives to request item
* “took a great deal of work” to get the authority checking/collapsing function into the product
* Can define what group can access what – like circ groups – called “scope”
* Primo has multiple access level account functionality
* “total cost of ownership is very low”
* Can change rank to control what the default search is.
* Per tab and per view default view settings can be modified
* Don’t have universal one-login works everywhere system yet.
* Version 4 is faster than 3.3 – federated searching will always be slower than single interface search

Questions from audience:

* What’s the role for native interfaces after Primo is rolled out?
No. They plan to go with Primo as *the* interface
Then later said, yes we would link out to the native interface and they would stay available to link out to.

* Will librarians be teaching native interfaces and well as Primo?

* Have you thought about pipes going directly to databases instead of Metalib?
Depends on the vendor, might be in future development
Vendor might create a Primo-compatible index at the database side to incorporate into the Primo federated search. Very complex option.
But the vendor would keep control of their data. Might be better to always have a separate tab for separate searching.

* Do you need to have an OPAC underneath it?
Yes. The ILS data or digital repository data needs to be maintained in the background.
To clarify: you wouldn’t NEED to run the local opac, but they will do that because some people still prefer it.

* Primo is built on Lucene – why use Primo instead of Lucene, which is “free”?
Partnering with very large institutions which have the resources to create a working product in a short period of time.
Wanted to ultimately achieve a very user-oriented product.

* Have you done much customization of Ex Libris products, Primo ramifications?
They haven’t made a lot of changes and have not yet broken anything.

* Scenarios where user has to bounce out to the native OPAC? Does it confuse users?
Demo of Primo search, use “get it” button – brings up their opac record – right now then click on ILL and have to link again – but they are working on making it all seamless, one login and all processes in Primo.
If a given function can be offered in all data sources, it would make sense to push that to the Primo interface.
They haven’t had any confused user feedback.

* Why did they choose default search as combo OPAC and TV News?
They wanted to demonstrate that you can search all local data sources at once.