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“Feels like you’ve hit the lottery”: Assessing the implementation of a discovery layer tool at Ryerson University

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posted on 2024-04-02, 14:47 authored by Courtney Lundrigan, Kevin ManuelKevin Manuel, May YanMay Yan

The research study was initiated to evaluate and assess the web-scale discovery (WSD) service Summon to coincide with its launch at Ryerson University Library in September 2011. The project utilized a mixed methods sequential explanatory strategy and applied an inductive analysis. Quantitative data was gathered with two online questionannaires, followed by a series of focus groups with students for the qualitative phase. The quantitative phase of the study collected over 6,200 survey responses (21% of the university population),  with over 420 students indicating interest in participating in a qualitative follow-up (6.7% of the respondents). The survey data showed that most undergraduate students rated Summon highly in ease of use; however, there was a lower satisfaction with the large quantity of, and relevance of search results. Additionally, partiticpants indicated that they used Summon in conjunction with other research tools, such as Google Scholar. In the qualitative phase, small focus groups consisted of a total of 13 participants, allowed the students to express their experiences with Summon in depth. The study has given insight into the role of Summon in terms of undergraduate information-seeking behaviour. Participant feedback revealed potential improvements for Summon at Ryerson and will be useful to other institutions either using or considering the use of similar products. Overall, the results from the study will help to infom Ryerson Library practice surrounding future direction in reference, instruction, and service promotion.

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