A new project is getting underway at the CDL.  The Metasearch Infrastructure Project will create an infrastructure that can be used by campus libraries and the CDL to tailor search portals to particular user needs.   This infrastructure will replace the existing SearchLight service with a “family” of portals aimed at specific audiences and needs.

The decision to embark on this project was based on feedback from students, faculty and library staff, and from research conducted by Christy Hightower (UC Santa Cruz) and Catherine Soehner (UC Santa Cruz).

We learned from the SearchLight project that a multi-resource discovery tool was needed, but SearchLight’s architecture did not allow for easy customization, and it was expensive to maintain.  Now that the market has matured somewhat, we’re able to consider a vendor product for this purpose.

CDL’s goal for the Metadata Infrastructure tool is that it will be flexible enough to allow campuses and libraries to adapt it for their user’s needs.  For example, an engineering library could take the Metasearch Infrastructure and create its own gateway into engineering resources.  Likewise, UC Santa Cruz could use it to create a portal into its core humanities resources.

Some initial CDL and grant-funded projects that will use this infrastructure to experiment with creating portals include:

  • Core collection: this tool for undergraduates and those outside of their area of expertise will include a few core databases (yet to be determined) that will allow users to get a broad overview of a topic.  The CDL will be working closely with Christy Hightower (UC Santa Cruz) and Catherine Soehner (UC Santa Cruz) and other campus staff to create this tool.
  • Melvyl Search of Other Library Catalogs: cross database searching of selected non-UC partners’ catalogs
  • Digital Collections Research Project (grant-funded): this prototype portal will provide access to online information, such as journal article citation databases, monographs, digital images and digitized primary source materials, to assist faculty in preparing materials for undergraduate teaching.

The CDL is in the process of reviewing vendors’ products and hopes to make a selection in early 2004.

Please visit the project web site to learn more: http://www.cdlib.org/services/d2d/metasearch/index.html