GPO PURL Referrals: UW-L Catalog vs. Primo

At Government Information Day, last Friday June 6, 2014 at UW-Madison Memorial Library, there were several 10-minute “Lightning Talks” given.  Mine was entitled: “GPO PURL Referrals: UW-L Catalog vs. Primo”

Here are the slides I presented: GPO PURL Referrals

A PURL is a Persistent URL maintained by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) as part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).  GPO catalogs and keeps track of tens of thousands of online Federal government resources, and those resources are made available as components of the collections of Federal depository libraries.  PURLs are part of the strategy of making sure those resource links continue to work over time.

I presented preliminary PURL referral data comparing the usage of FDLP e-resources by way of the UW-La Crosse library catalog with usage of such resources via the UW System’s new “resource discovery” tool, Search@UW (Ex Libris Primo).

Data is inconclusive so far because the transition away from providing library catalogs at individual campuses to providing a single search tool across System is not yet complete.  But available data is intriguing.  In fall 2013 at UW-La Crosse we chose to continue offering the library catalog alongside the new Search@UW.  Despite Search@UW being the most prominent search on the library home page, we managed to generate more PURL referrals through the library catalog than ever.  Furthermore, that usage was almost 40% of that generated across the entire System via Search@UW, well out of proportion for UW-L.  Then, things appeared to change again for spring 2014.

Does moving to “resource discovery” affect the amount of use of online government information through UW libraries?  The next step is to collect historical PURL Referral data for all UW library catalogs, and compare that sum total with ongoing PURL referral data generated by users of the resource discovery tool.  Stay tuned — the data will tell the story!