May 26, 2022

Final Report From UKSG: “Impact of Library Discovery Technologies”

From the UKSG Web Site:

UKSG, with the support of Jisc, partnered with LISU to carry out the research project: Assessing the Impact of Library Discovery Technology on Content Usage.

The project was carried out by LISU at Loughborough University, in collaboration with the Department of Information Science, Loughborough University and Evidence Base, Birmingham City University.

Research included a survey of higher education libraries in the UK, case studies, and stakeholder interviews. A complete methodology is provided on page 63 of the report.

Goals of the Study

  • To evaluate the impact that library discovery technologies (such as link resolvers and web-scale resource discovery services) have on the use of academic resources
  • To provide evidence to determine if there is a case for (a) investment in discovery technologies by libraries and (b) engagement with library discovery technologies by publishers and others in the academic information supply chain (unless no positive impact is found, in which case to provide evidence to this effect)
  • To provide recommendations for actions that libraries, publishers and others in the academic information supply chain should take to engage with such technologies to best support the discovery of resources for teaching, learning and research
  • To identify additional research, data, discussion, initiatives or other activities required that will support the implementation of the findings of this study.

Direct to Final Report: Impact of Library Discovery Technologies: A Report for UKSG (87 pages; PDF)

From the Executive Summary

  • RDS is becoming a major element of the academic library landscape, with 77% of survey respondents having already implemented an RDS at their institution, and a further 11% in the process of doing so, at the time of the survey. Summon, Primo and EDS are the most frequently used, together accounting for over 76% of systems in use.
  • Increased usage is not the primary motivation for moving to a discovery technology – libraries are more concerned with user experience and providing a single search interface linked to full text. Undergraduate students are seen as the primary users and beneficiaries of library discovery technologies.
  • RDS appears to influence content usage, most visibly for e-books. The impact varies by resource, and across libraries
  • Library perceptions of increased usage following RDS implementation are borne out by the usage data. E-book usage appears to have accelerated in the case study libraries following RDS implementation, while e-journal usage have increased just a little or decreased in some instances.
  • Other factors affecting usage include the link resolver and the options selected when libraries implement the RDS, increase in the volume of subscriptions, growing appetite for electronic content, particularly e-books, promotion of electronic content by libraries and academics, e.g. via reading lists etc.
  • Only half of the libraries in the survey felt that the content covered in the RDS was provided on a neutral basis but the libraries in the case studies did not rate this as a major concern. Vendor rivalries and concerns over data control are seen as unhelpful by libraries and publishers.
  • The impact of RDS is diluted by the use of Web-search engines (on a sector-wide scale)

The full executive summary runs five pages.

Direct to Final Report: Impact of Library Discovery Technologies: A Report for UKSG (87 pages; PDF)

Project Web Site and Timeline

Hat Tip: A-T-G

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.