The Library Challenge: Meeting Evolving User Needs and Expectations

Today’s library users seeking scholarly knowledge resources have more options than ever before. This new information landscape requires libraries to meet user expectations for speed, ease of use, and relevance of results in order to once again assume a leadership position in setting discovery and delivery standards. The Primo® system from Ex Libris unlocks library potential by providing users with a universal solution for finding and obtaining the full spectrum of library materials—print, electronic, and digital—regardless of format and location.

A New User Experience: Fun, Fast, and Focused

Drawing on the latest search technologies and Web 2.0 paradigms, the Primo solution goes beyond Web search engines and other Internet services. Libraries leverage their ability to provide access to a multiplicity of physical and electronic information resources from a single point.

Interactive and rewarding, Primo engages users by streamlining the search process from discovery to delivery, enabling patrons to quickly locate and obtain accurate, high-quality information from a wide range of sources. Users are presented with relevant library information, enriched with data originating from external resources, accompanied by situation-specific delivery options on which they can act.

From widgets to Web services, a spectrum of access points provide users with the power of Primo whenever they want it and from wherever they are. By embedding Primo services in popular institutional platforms, such as Websites and learning-management systems, libraries increase the accessibility to and usage of their collections. Primo can be integrated into the existing information infrastructure of academic institutions to enable them to best serve their user communities.

Like all Ex Libris solutions, Primo was designed and developed in collaboration with leading libraries and library consortia worldwide. Primo development partners were brought on board during the earliest stages of system design. After endorsing the product vision, members of the Primo charter program joined Ex Libris and the development partners to help fashion a next-generation solution that is unmatched in the library marketplace.

“ The continuing proliferation of formats, tools, services, and technologies has upended how we arrange, retrieve, and present our holdings. Our users expect simplicity and immediate reward and Amazon, Google, and iTunes are the standards against which we are judged. Our current systems pale beside them.The current library catalog is poorly designed for the tasks of finding, discovering, and selecting the growing set of resources available in our libraries.”

Rethinking How We Provide Bibliographic Services for the University of California, Bibliographic Services Task Force, Final Report: December 2005

Highlights for Users

Intuitive: Users will begin working with Primo naturally, with no need for training. To ease the search process, the system accommodates flexible search syntax and provides “Did you mean?” suggestions and additional results based on synonyms and the preprocessing of authority data. Upon receiving search results, users can refine them using faceted browsing or broaden the search with suggested new searches.

Efficient: Primo is fast, delivering highly relevant results in accordance with institutional or consortial access rights. Deduplication and “FRBRization” of data serve to streamline the discovery process.

Collaborative: Tagging, rating, and reviews encourage participation and enable users to share knowledge.

Personalized: Users can save search results, set preferences and alerts, and move library materials into their personal research space within Primo or in third-party products.

Comprehensive: Users discover and retrieve results from locally held and remote institutional resources. A mashup of additional services such as abstracts, tables of contents, and book jacket images provides users with a complete view of any item.

Use everywhere: Primo search functionality can be easily integrated into institutional portals, course-management systems, and other third-party software.

Satisfying: Up-to-date availability information and media-appropriate delivery options provide a delivery process superior to that offered by conventional search engines.

Building on Library Assets and Applications

Primo integrates with existing library environments and can be used with a range of back-end software products—from Ex Libris and other library system vendors—including integrated library systems (ILS), digital repositories, and searchable remote sources. By separating the user interface and the back-end system infrastructure, Primo optimizes discovery and delivery across all institutional resources—providing libraries with a solution that leverages existing library applications and minimizes total cost of ownership.

Highlights for Libraries

End-to-end solution: Primo harvests data from library-controlled resources, enriches it with information obtained from various sources, detects duplicates and groups the records (applying the FRBR concept), and creates an index optimized for searching. Using this index along with meta-search capabilities for searching remote resources, Primo enables users to find the information they need and, ultimately, to get it.

Flexible: Primo’s open architecture enables institutions to continue working with existing back-office applications and to add or replace systems while maintaining a consistent user experience.

Interoperable: Primo supports industry interoperability standards such as the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), OpenURL, RSS, the Search/ Retrieve via URL (SRU) and Search Retrieve Web Service (SRW) protocols, and Z39.50.

Easy to maintain: Graphical management interfaces and quick reporting capabilities facilitate Primo management and configuration, handled through point-and-click Web pages. A wide range of statistical reports enable library managers to obtain a complete view of user activity.

Full consortial support: From complete centralized control to total independence, a range of consortial configurations allows each member library to select its own settings for search options, user interface, calculation of item availability, and delivery options.

Accessible: Primo meets international accessibility standards required by leading academic institutions worldwide, allowing all users to enjoy the richness of institutional collections.

Librarian-driven design: Designed from the ground up in collaboration with development partners, the flexible, open Primo system can be easily configured by library staff using built-in Web services—with no need to rely on IT staff.

Scalable: Ex Libris products run in many of the largest and most complex libraries and library consortia in the world. Primo is designed and built to meet the needs of these institutions as well as smaller libraries and research centers.