SMU libraries pioneer new Discover tool

SMU Libraries are pioneering a new tool called 'Discover' that makes searching the catalogs and collections easy.

stock photo of student doing library research

SMU Libraries have a revolutionary service that allows students and faculty to search the library the same way they search the Internet.

The Discover SMU Libraries service, found on the SMU Libraries' homepage, lets users search thousands of the libraries’ resources – books, articles, newspapers, databases and more – from a single search box. SMU's Libraries are one of a handful of university library systems around the world who are pioneering this simple, instant search of library collections.

"Offering this revolutionary service to our community is a culmination of several months of investigation, evaluation and planning by SMU Libraries and Office of Information Technology (OIT) staff," said Toni Nolen, IT Services Librarian at Fondren Library, who led the implementation effort. "We are excited to introduce this user-friendly service that will help researchers find the best information provided by the SMU Libraries for their needs."

stock photo of student doing library researchStudies show that students and faculty prefer the quality information found in libraries, but find searching on the Web simpler and more straightforward. The Discover SMU Libraries service is designed to mimic open Web search methods, delivering the quality content that only the library holds.

Now, any student or faculty member can simply enter a search term in the Discovery search box available at and the service will return — nearly instantaneously — a list of the physical and digital materials from the libraries' book, journal, media, and digital image collections that are relevant to that search. Users click-through to articles and online images or find the book or other physical format items on the shelf in the libraries.

The Discover SMU Libraries service is from Serials Solutions, a Seattle-based company that specializes in developing technology that enables university libraries to more easily manage their electronic content collections. The company developed the service in conjunction with universities on three continents and also works with thousands of publishers to pre-load content into a single repository of information, much like the Web, but specific to each library's holdings. The service's technology allows searching to be precise and fast so that students and faculty spend less time hunting for the right information.

SMU Library Discover tool output sample
Click image to see a sample result of a Discover search for "Fast Food."

"We still have our library catalog and all of the databases you may have grown accustomed to using for research, and library patrons may still use those native interfaces, but the new Discover SMU Libraries search will be a good research starting place for many students and faculty and many times may be all that is needed for a given paper or project," Nolen explained.

More About Discover SMU Libraries

The Discover SMU Libraries search includes records from the SMU Libraries catalog, SMU Libraries Digital Collections, Central University Libraries research guides, and may index some or all of the databases and journals you already use. Some databases and journals have full-text indexing; others are indexed just by citation information (e.g., title, author, abstract, etc.). Here are some of the major publishers and databases at least partially indexed in the service:

  • Alexander Street Press
  • American Economic Association (EconLit)
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Medical Association
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Bioline International
  • Cairn
  • Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA)
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CAUSEWeb
  • Community of Science
  • CrossRef
  • EDP Sciences
  • Emerald
  • Érudit
  • Facts On File
  • Future Science Group
  • Gale
  • GPO
  • Hindawi Publishing
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • IEEE
  • Institute of Physics
  • Johns Hopkins University Press (Project Muse)
  • Kluwer Law International
  • Landes Bioscience
  • Lavoisier
  • LexisNexis
  • Library of Congress (American Memory)
  • Maney
  • Museum Tuscalanum Press
  • National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
  • National Agricultural Library
  • Nature Publishing Group
  • Optical Society of America
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Oxford University Press
  • ProQuest
  • SAGE Publications
  • SMU Libraries Catalog
  • SpringerLink
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Thieme
  • Walter de Gruyter


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