Bridging the Gap Between Abstracting & Indexing Provider Needs and Discovery Service Approaches


A report from the NISO Open Discovery Initiative Standing Committee. Authors: Scott Bernier, EBSCO Information Services; Noah Brubaker, PALNI; Rachel Kessler, ProQuest; Geoffrey Morse, Northwestern University; Ken Varnum, University of Michigan.

In 2014, NISO published a Recommended Practice, Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery (RP-19-2014), developed by its Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) Working Group to define “standards and/or best practices for the new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search.” In addition to recommending specific practices for discovery and content providers to adopt, the document recommended a number of potential future work items. One of these was that the ODI initiative should take an in-depth look at the unique needs of Abstracting & Indexing (A&I) service providers with regard to the inclusion of their content in web scale discovery systems. The goal of such an assessment was to “identify subsequent recommendations that would address these concerns and ultimately encourage discovery participation from providers of these services.” Section 2.2 of the Recommended Practice specifies several concerns expressed by A&I service providers regarding discovery systems. These concerns included:

  • The level of exposure A&I citations will receive in discovery services;
  • The possibility that the presence of discovery systems will encourage libraries to cancel A&I subscriptions; and
  • The probability that discovery services would not be able to take advantage of the sophisticated controlled vocabulary and other features that A&I service providers offer in their native interfaces.

In June 2017, a subgroup of the Open Discovery Initiative Standing Committee conducted a survey of A&I providers to understand their concerns. This was followed in February 2018 with a related survey of discovery providers. This report describes these two related survey efforts, summarizes concerns raised by both groups, and recommends next steps for the Open Discovery Initiative Standing Committee to better promote transparency and understanding among discovery providers, abstracting and indexing providers, and librarians.