ELUNA Meeting Summary

May 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment

From May 7-10, I attended the 2012 conference of ELUNA of “Ex Libris Users of North America” along with other 490 participants from academic, public, government and corporation libraries. As an umbrella organization of users of library software products licensed by Ex Libris, ELUNA combines NAAUG of North American Aleph Useres Group and SMUG of the SFXMetaLib Users Group and becomes what it is today after Endeavor merged into Ex Libris in 2007. ELUNA also includes users from EndUser. The goal of this educational group is to share best practices with peer institutions and support each other through meetings, networking, and hosted email discussion lists. One important aspect of the conference is to share ideas and discuss issues surrounding the end user searching experiences of various products by Ex Libris.

The topics that I found particularly interesting and useful are Primo Product Update and its search process and the processing of the results. In a session that’s specially designed for reference librarians by focusing on what really happens when users perform a search in Primo, for example, the presenter from Vanderbilt University shared his insight into searching Primo Central, the local index and SFX. He brought up several specific questions asked frequently by both general users and librarians. Some of the interesting questions are:

• Why did I get book reviews and not the actual book? (caused by “blending” combining the local and primo central indexes)
• Why did I get result X for Searching Y? (Everything that is searched does not necessarily display; new results are re-sorted into the results set)
• Why do I not get all of the results when searching the Databases by subject? (All results are not returned from the database immediately; updating issue—local resorues get immediate availability updates, but Primo Central has availability updated weekly from SFX using the institutional_holding.xml file)
• How can I search just the X database in Primo? (No way; use the Facets instead)
• What exactly are we searching? (Can vary for each resource)

Attending ELUNA and participating in sessions that deal with the end user side of the library products are very important to a reference librarian. Such learning experiences allow me to have a better understanding of the products, the search interface and the search process. I’m in a better position to explain to users how the system works or assist in troubleshooting. I also have a better understanding of options and limitations of the discovery tool. Most importantly, I’ve developed a better appreciation of the system’s complexities, and I believe that increase understanding can lead to more suggested changes. Lastly, my thanks go to NAHSL for its financial support to cover part of the meeting cost. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Hongjie Wang
Information and Education Services Dept.
Lyman Maynard Stowe Medical Library
University of Connecticut Health Center

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