BONUS: 360 Search (Serials Solultion)

Founded by a librarian for librarians, Serials Solutions is said to be the leader in e-Resource management, serving worldwide more than 3,000 libraries of all sizes and types. As a vendor, Serials Solution has spent the last ten years developing the new and improved face of federated searching: 360 Search. 360 combines two of the world's leading federated search engines--360 and WebFeat--into one of the single most feature-packed and powerful integrated search services available. And that's why BPL chose it!

But let's start at the beginning, shall we?
More on federated searching:
Federated Search is integrated searching. Simply put, when you search with a federated search system you comb the library’s entire collection of e-Resources, including the online catalogue, recommended websites, e-books… Basically anything online can be integrated. The end product is one, unified, clustered set of results that can be easily refined.
BPL chose to subscribe to 360 Search as a way of assisting customers with research; to make choosing one resource over another a non-issue. With a single click of the mouse, staff and customers (of all ages!) can search the entire BPL collection--both physical and virtual. That's a total of more than 60 different e-Resources, including our databases, favourite websites, and the BPL catalogue.

To put this into perspective, a subject search for "Canadian history" in the BPL catalogue will get you 450 results. The same query in 360 Search will get you nearly 36,000 result... 

But don't get overwhelmed! The beauty of 360 Search is that it clusters your results, organizing them into topic, date, publication title, author, and e-Resource title allowing you to limit or broaden your return list to a particular subject, publication, or format.

And it really is that easy! Simply put, federated search allows you to:
  • Find information for a customer when you have no idea where to begin
  • Find information for a customer on a topic you have little or no knowledge of
  • Identify BPL's coverage of a particular topic or subject area
  • Identify new sources of information, both online and in our print collection that you otherwise might not reference
  • Focus your search quickly and efficiently
But as my grandmother would say "the proof is in the pudding". To begin using 360 Search, connect to it in one of three ways:
  1. By clicking on Internet Databases from within the library catalogue, and on In Library under all-in-one search.
  2. By clicking on Internet Resources from the library homepage, and on In Library under all-in-one search.
  3. By clicking on Internet Databases from the library homepage, and on In Library under all-in-one search.
The 360 Search interface is straightforward and a breeze to navigate, containing a few of the common features we look for in an e-Resource (click image to enlarge):

  1. Advanced search
  2. Subject search
  3. Help
Worthy of note: while the basic and advanced search tabs offer few limits, a number of additional features can be found within your search results, where you can choose to:
  • View clusters (or subjects.) Clusters sort your 360 Search results into categories, to help save you time in deciding which results are most appropriate for your purposes. Clustering can also help you refine your search, by giving you new ideas for your search query.
  • Sort Results by publication date, title, author, or source. If your results contain publication dates, they will automatically be sorted by date unless you choose another sort option.
  • Filter by full-text content or peer-reviewed content, or to both.
Don't forget! You can search 360 by subject heading OR by individual e-Resource title. You can even choose to search more than one e-Resource at a time (from multiple vendors) without having to search everything. Simply click search by database, and select from the e-Resource title list the resources you'd like to include in your query.

Hidden gem? The hide/show summary link within your search summary is the perfect way to narrow your results to one or more relevant e-Resources, or for quickly identifying which e-Resource has the most material for your query, thus making the process of choosing relevant e-Resources for your next search query a quick and easy process.

For example, the summary for a basic search for the words "climate change Canada" will tell you both:
  • the total number of federated search results (2321)
  • and the number of search results returned for a particular e-Resource title, i.e. AccessScience (23), Canadian Literary Centre (1), Canadian Points of View Reference Centre (107), CPI.Q (71), Novelist Plus (1), Science Reference Centre (1)
The next time you complete a similar search, you could try limiting your search to the relevant e-Resources (AccessScience, Canadian Points of View Reference Centre, and CPI.Q) rather than wasting time wading through unrelated content. And if you're interested in viewing the results from one specific e-Resource, just click on the e-Resource name in your search summary, and your clustered results will automatically change.

What type of information question might you use 360 Search to answer?
  • "Does the library have any current information on stem cell research?"
  • "I'm looking for biographical information for Barack Obama..."
  • "What can you tell me about Scottish Fold Cats?"
  • "I heard the name 'Zinedine Zidane' on the radio today--who is this person, and what are they famous for?"
Homework Question: Use 360 Search to answer the question below, emailing your response to Answers to these questions can be in point form, but should include all steps taken to complete the query. Please list specific titles of articles (and their publication titles), images, media, etc. pertinent to the question posed. Please also list other e-Resources you could use to support this question.

Joe is nine years old, and arrives at the Brant Hills library with his mom. For his grade four social studies project, Joe has been asked to research agriculture in the Middle Ages; specifically, the various methods used by farmers in medieval times. He has been told he will need five sources of information for his project, including books, encyclopedia articles, and information from the Internet. Can you help him?
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