New Tripod expands search results

by Annette Newman

Library users now have a new place to start their searches. From a single point, Tripod searches for individual journal articles as well as the tri-college libraries’ collection of books, journal titles, multimedia materials, databases and more. There is no need to decide between searching for books or journal articles first – Tripod now does a simultaneous search of both the regular catalog and many of the article databases. Using the list of facets to reduce choices to specific criteria can produce more precise search results. Similar items are now suggested, like the “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Bought” feature on Amazon. Related items are also listed.

The new Tripod is a discovery layer, a framework that allows for multiple collections or indexes of content to be searched simultaneously in the same interface. This discovery layer sits on top of the content resources and provides a unified, cohesive interface to search across book and journal article resources. The goal is to reduce the number of tools that researchers must use to gain an understanding of the breadth of content held by the tri-colleges.

Designed for undergraduate students, the novice researchers, this discovery layer provides an overview of available content for those not expert in the field they are researching. It should also improve use of underutilized items by doing a better job of helping patrons find what they are specifically looking for and revealing related resources they may not have known about.

The multi-channel approach of the new Tripod presents available resources in a clear format. After entering the initial search terms, users see two lists: Books and More, and Articles. The filters, or facets, listed to the right are the way to narrow the list of results.  For example, researchers can ask for only resources that are available online, for certain publication dates, for type of media like DVDs or streaming video, and for authors and other categories. This ability to see facets of search results returns more precise and meaningful information to the student.

Tripod Classic, the old Tripod, is still easily accessible; the researcher can reach this familiar interface with one click. Everything that was there before is still available. Faculty and student researchers can still access the individual databases to search for journal articles. All of the familiar tools, such as Find-It, are available from both the classic and new version. The updated Tripod is simply a new place to start and refine your search, a better way to find, access, and organize all the great resources the library has accumulated and developed over the years.

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