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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A word about MNCAT Discovery

During this academic year, University Libraries will be implementing a new discovery tool called MNCAT Discovery. The tool will greatly expand and enhance your ability to search print and digital resources. We intend for MNCAT Discovery to be fully functional in January 2014.

This fall we’ve implemented the first phase: MNCAT Article Discovery, a new general-purpose database. MNCAT Article Discovery is meant to complement rather than replace our rich collection of licensed databases. Rather than focusing on a particular discipline, MNCAT Article Discovery allows you to search the overwhelming majority of articles and other materials currently licensed by the Libraries.

If you’ve used Google Scholar, you already have an idea of how this new database might work. But MNCAT Article Discovery offers some distinct advantages over Google Scholar:
  • The ability to filter results after your initial search, similar to the product filtering you see on commercial websites like Amazon. Perhaps most important for undergraduates, users can quickly filter the results to only peer-reviewed literature.
  • A direct connection to the full text licensed by University Libraries. While it is possible to set up a Find at University of Minnesota link in Google Scholar, the links in MNCAT Article Discovery don’t require any user setup or knowledge.
Other institutions have found that databases like MNCAT Article Discovery also help researchers with interdisciplinary work and re-introduce some of the serendipity that many miss from the days of shelf browsing.

Before spring semester, we plan to fully implement MNCAT Discovery, which will include the Libraries holdings as represented in the catalog. Details about MNCAT Discovery will be coming later this fall.