In a recent article, Infotech reported that Oxford, Cambridge, and Stanford have each announced federated search systems.
The press releases provide some insight into what was important to each of them:
- Ex Libris issued a press release, on May 5, announcing that Oxford had chosen its Metalib product.
- WebFeat (now part of Serials Solutions) announced, on April 30, that Cambridge had chosen WebFeat Express.
- Stanford ‘s March 27 press release announced a partnership with Deep Web Technologies (this blog’s sponsor).
The three announcements, all occurring in roughly a one month period, tell me a couple of interesting things. First, there is still opportunity within top universities to provide federated search. Second, federated search is perceived to be of sufficient value that university libraries are investing in keeping up with other major libraries.
Also of interest, each university selected a different vendor, and each for different reasons.
Ex Libris’ press release summarizes Oxford’s draw to MetaLib:
“After conducting a very thorough assessment and evaluation process, we feel that MetaLib is the metasearch solution to truly meet our current and evolving library needs,” comments Alice Keller, head of Collection Management at the OULS. “We were extremely impressed with the open architecture of MetaLib, which will allow us to easily integrate this solution with other university systems and develop new functionalities required for our specific needs. The fact that Ex Libris could offer us a fully hosted solution made our choice even easier,” summarises Alice Keller.
WebFeat’s press release explains what was important to Cambridge:
“Cambridge selected WebFeat Express as a federated searching solution due its comprehensive coverage of our varied e-resources and an identifiable low total cost of ownership,” noted Edmund Chamberlain, Systems Librarian, Cambridge University Library. “We expect it to provide our users with a new and relevant means to discover and access the parts of our rich e-resources collections that are relevant to their needs.”
Stanford’s press release tells why it selected Deep Web Technologies’ Explorit Research Accelerator:
For Michael Keller, University Librarian, giving scholars effective tools to discover digital information is an over-riding priority: “The digital revolution and the explosion in the number of relevant online resources are fantastic opportunities, but also a great challenge. Stanford students and faculty need a way to reduce the amount of time they spend searching, and to make it easier for them to find precisely relevant information on multidisciplinary research topics.”
Oxford chose MetaLib because it wanted an extensible solution. To Cambridge, cost and coverage were major purchase factors. Stanford wanted a partner who would work closely with them to create a solution “tailored to the environment of an academic research library.”