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New search tool knows where to look for answers

Originally published Dec. 27, 2016

Whether you’re a fifth-grader needing a report on goldfish, a high-school senior facing the SAT or a voter trying to understand the Electoral College, doing a bit of research is the first step.

Sno-Isle Libraries has a new way to make sure that first step is in the right direction. It doesn’t look like much, just a box on the website labeled “Search All Databases,”  but, don’t let the simplicity fool you, said Information Services Manager Terry Beck.

“It is a powerful tool,” Beck said. “Enter a term like ‘goldfish.’ For many searches, the first result is called a ‘Research Starter,’ an overview. Then, you can filter the results by things like source type, publication, geography, language and much more.”

A drop-down menu can even re-order the results by publication date, oldest or newest listed first.

The new tool is called EDS, for EBSCO Discovery Service. Each search accesses many databases at the same time, including more than 60 sources of information, ranging from newspaper archives and auto repair manuals to business reference guides and the Oxford Dictionary.

Before implementing EDS, separate searches were often required for each source of information. “If you didn’t know where to look, well, you missed it,” Beck said.

EDS searches were added to the Sno-Isle Libraries website in the fall. It’s getting good reviews from staff and customers. One popular feature is the easy ability to share search results.

“Our librarians are there to help our customers—online, on the phone and in person,” Beck said. “Regardless of when, where or how, search results can be saved and shared by email.”

Actually more than just email. A click on the “Share” button brings options to email, add the results to a folder, create an email alert or RSS feed, create and copy a permanent link, or even access and then share via nearly 200 social media options.

The system does have a few limitations.

EDS doesn’t access every database at Sno-Isle Libraries. However, those additional sources are listed prominently under “Additional Resources” and a previous search can easily be applied.

“Adding this tool to make research and accessing data easier is a real benefit to our customers and communities,” Beck said.



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The libraries of America are and must ever remain the home of free, inquiring minds.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower