Universities and other organisations have made considerable investment in creating collections of digitised resources for learning and research. However, these resources are not always as discoverable as they could be by online audiences.
This means that students may miss opportunities to benefit from valuable primary source material. It can also limit the impact of digital collections on education and research, both locally and internationally.
What you can do
As part of our co-design project, also known as spotlight on the digital, we have put together a series of guides to help make your digitised collection more discoverable and easier to use.
Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo are major discovery tools for all online audiences, including students and researchers. Develop techniques to ensure your collections are easy to find using search engines.
Social media allows you to place your digital collections directly in front of targeted, interested audiences. Learn how to develop a social media strategy and select appropriate tools for your campaign.
In academia there are a number of major online services that pull together resources relevant to researchers and students in particular fields. Examples include Copac, ArchivesHub, Summon and Primo Central. Learn how you can use aggregators to promote your collection.
Students value recommendations from their teachers to help them discover new resources so teaching staff are a key path to sharing content from your collection. Discover new ways to help teachers and students use your resources.
Some of the web’s most popular sites, such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr, offer an opportunity for you to achieve a wider reach. Get to know these and exploit them to reach far larger audiences.
Consider how users find and navigate your collection, and the tasks they go on to complete as a result. Find out how you can improve the user experience.
Learn about common researcher behaviours such as citation chaining. Discover new ways to help researchers find and use your collection.
Many people rely heavily on recommendations from those they respect in order to discover useful resources online. These trusted individuals might include teachers, peers, even family and friends. Learn how to empower key individuals to champion your collection.
Within your own organisation there may be a variety of systems where people can search for resources. Ensure your collection integrates with local discovery systems and is easy for your users to find.