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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Introducing MNCAT Article Discovery

The world of research contains a vast number of information sources: books, articles, conference papers, reference materials, and so on. Experienced researchers and librarians know that it's easier to find the sources you need by first choosing where to look. Libraries help facilitate the research process by providing access to a wide variety of databases. 

These databases typically index literature in a particular discipline or for a specific purpose. While helpful--even vital--for focused research, choosing among the hundreds of databases licensed by University Libraries is overwhelming for those less familiar with the process, and even for specialists in one field who need to branch into something new to them.

This fall, we are introducing yet another database to this mix: MNCAT Article Discovery. Rather than limiting a search to a predetermined scope, MNCAT Article Discovery indexes most of our licensed resources as well as a selection of the freely available content typically found through Google Scholar or an Internet search engine.

Of course, when it comes to results, more doesn't necessarily mean better. MNCAT Article Discovery uses a robust relevancy ranking algorithm combined with powerful facets to help the user focus on the most appropriate resources to meet their current research need. We'll provide more information on relevancy and facets in a future post.

In September, MNCAT Article Discovery will be the default search target from the Articles and Databases tab of the Libraries website. It will also be listed in the Databases A-Z list accessible from that page. For now, you can try out MNCAT Article Discovery in MNCAT.

Prior to spring semester, another resource will be added to MNCAT Article Discovery: MNCAT, our current "books and more" library catalog. This blended database will be called MNCAT Discovery, and it will be the default search from the Libraries main website. We'll provide more information about the scope, relevancy, filters, and features available in MNCAT Discovery, as well as a link to the test environment, during fall semester.

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