Monday, April 20th, 2020

New Syndetics Unbound Feature: Mark and Boost Electronic Resources

ProQuest and LibraryThing have just introduced a major new feature to our catalog-enrichment suite, Syndetics Unbound, to meet the needs of libraries during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our friends at ProQuest blogged about it briefly on the ProQuest blog. This blog post goes into greater detail about what we did, how we did it, and what efforts like this may mean for library catalogs in the future.

What it Does

The feature, “Mark and Boost Electronic Resources,” turns Syndetics Unbound from a general catalog enrichment tool to one focused on your library’s electronic resources—the resources patrons can access during a library shutdown. We hope it encourages libraries to continue to promote their catalog, the library’s own and most complete collection repository, instead of sending patrons to a host of partial, third-party eresource platforms.

The new feature marks the library’s electronic resources and “boosts,” or promotes, them in Syndetics Unbound’s discovery enhancements, such as “You May Also Like,” “Other Editions,” “Tags” and “Reading Levels.”

Here’s a screenshot showing the feature in action.

mab_screenshot

How it Works

The feature is composed of three settings. By default, they all turn on together, but they can be independently turned off and on.

mab_buttons

  • Boost electronic resources chooses to show electronic editions of an item where they exist, and boosts such items within discovery elements.
  • Mark electronic resources with an “e” icon marks all electronic resources—ebooks, eaudio, and streaming video.
  • Add electronic resources message at top of page adds a customizable message to the top of the Syndetics Unbound area.

“Mark and Boost Electronic Holdings” works across all enrichments. It is particularly important for “Also Available As” which lists all the other formats for a given title. Enabling this feature sorts electronic resources to the front of the list. We also suggest that, for now, libraries may want to put “Also Available As” at the top of their enrichment order.

mab_alsoavailable

Why We Did It

Your catalog is only as good as your holdings. Faced with a world in which physical holdings are off-limits and electronic resources essential, many libraries have discouraged use of the catalog, which is dominated by non-digital resources, in favor of linking directly to Overdrive, Hoopla, Freegal and so forth. Unfortunately, these services are silos, containing only what you bought from that particular vendor.

“Mark and Boost Electronic Resources” turns your catalog toward digital resources, while preserving what makes a catalog important—a single point of access to ALL library resources, not a vendor silo.

Maximizing Your Electronic Holdings

To make the best use of “Mark and Boost Electronic Resources,” we need to know about all your electronic resources. Unfortunately, some systems separate MARC holdings and electronic holdings; all resources appear in the catalog, but only some are available for export to Syndetics Unbound. Other libraries send us holding files with everything, but they are unable to send us updates every time new electronic resources are added.

To address this issue, we have therefore advanced a new feature—”Auto-discover electronic holdings.” Turn this on and we build up an accurate representation of your library’s electronic resource holdings, without requiring any effort on your part.

mab_easyholdings

Adapting to Change

“Mark and Boost Electronic Resources” is our first feature change to address the current crisis. But we are eager to do others, and to adapt the feature over time, as the situation develops. We are eager to get feedback from librarians and patrons!

— The ProQuest and LibraryThing teams

Labels: new features, new product, Syndetics Unbound

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