Everything is Broken but by How Much, Exactly?

In 2016, my library purchased the Summon discovery layer and since then it has shown increased usage with each passing year. Yet with more Summon searches came reports of broken connections to full-text sources. As we went about diagnosing and reporting these problems, it became apparent that discovery layer linking is inherently flawed. Librarians are expected to donate tremendous labor investigating problems with vendor software and supplying fixes for them. If we want our users to be able to access the full-text resources that we’ve paid for, we have to correct others’ inaccurate metadata or locate identifiers such that direct links can be constructed. In some instances, the software’s structure and assumptions prohibit fixes. Broken links must remain present, to an extent that perhaps does not even meaningfully decrease with time. In this presentation, I will describe the state of discovery layer linking, categorize the most common failures, and present the methodology and results of exhaustive research I’ve performed into how often links break and the particular nature of the breakages. I will discuss how we automate what we can of the fixing process and advocate for algorithmic changes.


1:20 PM
15 minutes