Promise fulfilled? An EBSCO discovery service usability study

Sarah C. Williams, Anita K. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discovery tools are the next phase of library search systems. Illinois State University's Milner Library implemented EBSCO Discovery Service in August 2010. The authors conducted usability studies on the system in the fall of 2010. The aims of the study were twofold: first, to determine how Milner users set about using the system in order to better inform customization choices, which in turn would create better search experiences, and second, to find out whether discovery tools fix the problems of federated search. With federated search technology, users often felt frustrated by the search experience. Some reasons for the frustration included a desire for better ways to determine the relevancy of search results and for more information about the material included in the records. The authors determined that while many federated search problems were solved, some issues persisted. Overall, the move to EBSCO Discovery Service at Milner Library has been a positive experience for its users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-198
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Web Librarianship
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic libraries
  • Database searching
  • Discovery layers
  • Information seeking behaviors
  • Resource discovery tools
  • Usability study
  • User experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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