University of Sussex Library Updates

News and information from the University of Sussex Library

Tell us your views on our plans for future developments online



The Library is currently looking at how we can best serve our users online, both through our local services and working with others on the web. In particular we are looking at how we can enable you to discover content and resources relevant for your research more easily.

With that aim, we’re developing a broad strategy for search and discovery and would like your feedback on what we are proposing.

You can see our draft e-strategy : search & discovery here [pdf], details on how to leave feedback below. The strategy focuses on how we can help you find the content (online or physical) you will find useful for your research and work, the document does not look cover our collections or what we subscribe to.

We have based our draft strategy on three broad themes: Simplicity, Openness and Currency.

Simplicity: easy to use, not requiring specialist knowledge of where to go to search for different types of items or specialist knowledge of complex search structure, and one intuitive interface to search for resources.

Openness: different researchers have different ways of working and different needs. There is an increasing number of tools and services on the web to help with academic and scholarly work, many of which we have no formal relationship or contract with. We need to think more widely than just our own website: how we can improve the experience whatever workspace a researcher at Sussex chooses to use. This will involve opening our data, implementing technical standards, and working with others on the web to improve and develop new tools.

Currency: we spent some time debating what to call this theme. In a nutshell it encompasses embracing common ideas used by popular sites today such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. We’re not going to try and replicate these services, but to acknowledge that people are often familiar in using these sites, how they work, how they interact with users, etc, and we need to ensure our site feels familiar to those who already use the web frequently. Sites such as Amazon not only provide a powerful search facility but also complementary ways to discover items such as user recommendations, user lists, and similar items. In academia we have always had different ways of discovering relevant items, such as users recommending articles or books to friends/colleagues, or browsing the shelves in the Library. We need to explore how we can facilitate such things in an online environment.

With more and more content becoming available electronically, our online presence and services are more important than ever. We want to make sure we are catering to all our users’ needs and develop our service in a clear direction.

During February and part of March we are putting our draft Library e-strategy online for comment and would really appreciate any views or opinions you might have.

Please do let us know what you think. You can provide feedback using this form .

Draft Library e-strategy : search & discovery [pdf]

2 Responses to “Tell us your views on our plans for future developments online”

  1. Sol Schonfield says:

    This pdf seems to state three drivers and ask for feedback on them.

    Giving feedback on drivers/words such as openness, simplicity and currency is very difficult and does not provide space for real input.

    I would suggest providing draft examples of how you will achieve these goals as they do need to be reached.

    • Chris Keene says:

      Hi, further in the document it does expand on – and provide examples for – these three broad areas.

      I wont repeat them here, but under simplicity for example is the idea that we should aim to develop a front end as easy to use as Google (or Google Scholar), that reaching the full text should be quick and simple, and the interface should be as consistent as possible.

      Google Scholar is a good example of what we mean by openess. If you access Google Scholar on campus (or off campus use the preferences to add Sussex) you can see a ‘Find it at Sussex’ button next to journal articles which will take you to the full text where we subscribe to it. For this to work we shared our holdings data with Google (updated automatically every week) and passed on a number of settings about our network and systems. By doing this, our users can use Google Scholar, if they wish, and easily access the full text of an article where we subscribe to it.
      The way the web and mobile apps are developing, there are many different sites like this which people may wish to use, and we want to try and work with third party websites to ensure our users get the best experience as possible no matter where they choose to carry out research.

      The find strand: currency, is basically the idea that our website and systems should work in a similar way to other popular sites, such as Google, Amazon, flickr and Facebook. Especially in terms of user interface, terminology and how the actual search works.

      Hope this is of some help.