The OhioLink consortium is one of the most high profile examples of an effective shared service, and has been for over 20 years.
This announcement means that OhioLink members can search not only across the catalogues of the member libraries but also across the enormous number of ejournals, databases and ebooks available to consortium members, all from a single search.
This new “layer” builds on the existing OhioLink catalogue which contains almost 13 million unique titles from its 89 member libraries. Material can be requested by any member and material collected with 2-3 days at the library of their choice. The catalogue is provided by Innovative Interfaces.
The scale of the OhioLink service is impressive and the licensing of eresources on a state-wide basis allows the discovery layer to operate at the same level and facilitate access across a huge range of resources.
The service is expected to save time for students, librarians and researchers and is an example of the type of service which can be offered to simplify access across a diverse range of resources for a wide group of users. The impact of this will be interesting to see. Will users cease to use the native interface of the electronic services that EDS will now cover? Will it be a way for researchers to discover (key word) the most appropriate database for their interests? Will they even be aware of which collection they are using and simply relish the ease with which they can access content?
Thinking of the Scottish HE context, one is bound to harbour dreams of a discovery layer that covers, as a starting point, all the library catalogues plus the content licensed through SHEDL. Seems like modest ambition is comparison. I am also bound to wonder if, given that this is January, whether this utopian vision might have appealed to Burns – then let us pray that come it may, as come it will for a‘ that….
Written by Colin Sinclair, University of Stirling