By Eddie Neuwirth,
Sr. Product Manager, Discovery Services
In a 2014 three-part blog series, “Focusing on Discovery and Delivery," we discussed why improving linking to full-text content should be a top priority for every library’s discovery strategy. A poor link resolver user experience and failed links due the unpredictability of OpenURL technologies can have negative consequences for libraries.
That’s why ProQuest delivered the most significant improvements to library linking and link resolvers in more than a decade – by incorporating Index Enhanced Direct Linking (IEDL) and a Sidebar Helper frame into 360 Link. Now, just a few months after release of these 360 Link enhancements, more than 300 libraries around the globe are already leveraging these innovations to improve linking for their end users.
Our approach is centered on leveraging today’s technology, not yesterday’s, to improve the user experience through the link resolver – an often ignored piece of the discovery equation for libraries today. The release of IEDL for 360 Link, a more reliable linking technology, produces more consistent and accurate results than the traditional link resolvers, which are still mainly reliant on OpenURL linking alone.
In addition, the customizable Sidebar Helper frame eliminates the most common confusion points for end users, delivers the most direct access to full-text content, and increases visibility for the library brand. This provides new opportunities for libraries and librarians to help users within the context of the researcher workflow.
Early user feedback on the new 360 Link features and functionality has been overwhelmingly positive. In a blog post detailing the launch of these features at Arizona State University library, Tammy Allgood Wolf, the library’s Manager of Discovery services, explains that, “The Sidebar Helper frame enables us to provide the most direct and simple path to full text, without giving up opportunities for the library to promote other services or to provide help to users in the event that links fail.”
At the University of Denver Libraries, Christopher C. Brown, Reference Technology Integration Librarian and Government Documents Librarian states, “The new sidebar is a great improvement over the previous experience… our users are finding the additional links we make available to them, and are understanding their function more readily.” This translates into more successful access to full text for end users and a more satisfying interaction with the library in general.
The latest 360 Link functionality was developed in consultation with beta library partners at Bowling Green State University, Cornell University, East Carolina University and other customer libraries. This partnership with libraries paved the way for hundreds of libraries across the globe – and of all different sizes and types – to rapidly adopt these innovations. The new 360 Link Sidebar Helper frame with Index Enhanced Direct Linking (IEDL) has not only been successfully paired with the ProQuest Summon discovery service, but it is also being used by libraries that use other popular vendor discovery services as well.
All current 360 Link customers can opt-in to use the latest user experience and upgraded linking technology with just a few mouse clicks—without need for any re-implementation and at no additional cost.
We have many more exciting innovations and enhancements coming for 360 Link in early 2015. Stay tuned!