Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



DeeAnn Allison

Document Type


Date of this Version



This is the pre-published version of an article scheduled to appear in the Journal of Web Librarianship, vol. 4 (4), Oct-Dec. 2010 p. 375-389. Published by Taylor & Francis, Inc.


Libraries today face an increasing challenge: to provide relevant information to diverse populations with differing needs, while competing with Web search engines like Google. In 2009 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Libraries joined with other libraries and Innovative Interfaces as development partners to design a new type of discovery tool. Information portals as a concept best supports the research and instructional needs of our communities by organizing and presenting information that incorporates licensed databases, text, multimedia, and other relevant sources. The discovery tool under examination by UNL, Encore, integrates searches of the catalog, locally created full-text and image sources, and articles from licensed databases, with navigation options that facilitate narrowing and expanding search results. This information portal development is an ongoing process with the goal of providing a tool that is as easy to use as Web search engines but preserves the quality that library users expect. This article explores the requirements for an information portal and describes the challenges UNL faced when implementing Encore. Statistics from the initial implementation are presented, along with recommendations for future usability studies to evaluate where additional improvements should be made