The Masland Library at Cairn University is excited to begin rolling out new developments to its information systems. While some may read such news with indifference, this new technology offers promising opportunities to students in their research endeavors.
The library staff has teamed up with Innovative: a library software and services company for over 10,000 libraries worldwide. Innovative develops new technology to optimize libraries’ research capabilities, and Cairn was one of two higher-ed institutions to help develop Inspire Discovery. This new search engine aids researchers in finding the best possible resources—including print books, eBooks, articles, and media—they may not have even thought of themselves.
Stephanie Kaceli, director of the Masland Library, has been Cairn’s point of connection with Innovative in this new research venture. As part of regular student surveys, Kaceli and her staff found that students were having a difficult time navigating the previous library information system. Students were finding that the search engine offered a lot of information, but the right information was difficult to find: “A lot of the time, you’ll notice your first results aren’t all that great, or you end up with over two million hits, and it’s kind of overwhelming,” Kaceli says. Despite an ever-increasing quantity of high-quality content, students struggled to locate resources for their academic work.
In conjunction with Innovative, the Masland Library has helped create a solution in the new search engine, Inspire Discovery. “Inspire brings together the print collection as well as our electronic collection and makes it findable,” Kaceli explains. “It’s kind of like a mini Google, in a way. It’s searching all that we have access to.” New features such as the context wheel provide researchers with a visual of the relationships between what they search for and what could be other sources pertinent to their research. Features such as this exemplify the ease of access and increased effectiveness Inspire offers.
Cairn University was excited to join Hillsdale College as the two partners to work with Innovative in the development of this new service. Kaceli, who recently presented at the Charleston Library Conference on Cairn’s work with Inspire, believes the Masland Library is “nimble” enough to try new ideas like this one, and they have a desire to constantly serve their students better. “We here at the library come with the mentality that we don’t care if we have 1,000 students or 13,000 students. Each one matters, and we need to support them,” Kaceli explains. “If there’s something new out there that makes life better, let’s do it!
Over the next few months, the Masland Library will continue to roll out the Inspire Discovery feature, eventually planning to make it their primary search engine. Ultimately, Inspire will help students navigate the rapidly growing body of information available in the internet’s many databases. “We’re here to encourage exploration and help them navigate this world of information that’s just massive, “ Kaceli says. The Masland Library at Cairn University will continue this exploration at the forefront of the library systems industry.