New online service benefits student research

Olivia Young

Students now have access to a new way to research information at University Libraries with the new service, Discovery@ Kent State.

In recent years, students used KentLINK, OhioLINK and other online databases one at a time to find information. With Discovery@ Kent State, the research process is restructured to combine the findings of KentLINK, OhioLINK and more than 300 different sets of databases to search information within seconds, according to a university press release.

The main purpose of Discovery@ Kent State is to create a convenient search engine that students will utilize.

In one search alone, hundreds of databases will be analyzed, however, it does not cover every single database the University Library has access to. When this happens, students may click a link to request to have a copy of the database sent to the library within a few days.  

“Students are getting used to looking in one place on the web for things, rather than going to find different places for something,” said George Leggiero, a senior applications support analyst. “It is the best attempt so far at trying to bring all of our different types of resources into one search.”

Discovery@ Kent State became available for student use in June 2014 with the hope students would ease into the transition and give feedback to improve the service.

“Student feedback has been positive because it is very convenient,” Leggiero said, “but we were concerned that it might return so much information at once (that) it would be overwhelming.”

With more than 300 different databases being searched, it is easy to see where information overload may occur.

Alexa Guarino, a senior public health major, said at first it was confusing not being familiar with major search engines.

“I have used Google for most of my research,” Guarino said. “But getting accustomed to the new database hasn’t been too difficult.”

Guarino said the best part of Discovery@ Kent State is using the filters to narrow a broad search. When the database provides too many search results, users can use filters, questions and other variables to refine their search for the most relevant information.

Sarah Silbaugh, a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science, has been using Discovery@ Kent State since the end of summer and said the transition was a little challenging at first, but was pretty easy to get used to.

“The discovery layer is really great for starting research because you get a lot of resources from a lot of different areas,” Silbaugh said. “It really widens the search of opposed to just searching in academic search engines.”

Access to Discovery@ Kent State can be located directly from the University Libraries homepage and is available to all Kent State students, faculty and staff.

Contact Olivia Young at [email protected].