Presentations (Communicative Events)

Information for All: Leveraging the Blacklight Search-and-Discovery Layer to Increase International Use of Open Access Collections

Hilliker, Robert J.; Baker, Matthew C.

In the current environment, even top-tier institutions are feeling the pinch of ever-increasing subscription prices—imagine, then, how much more difficult the situation is in developing countries, where funds are far more limited and very few have access to institutional collections. In response, libraries have supported open access initiatives, establishing open access journals and developing institutional repositories to make faculty and student research available beyond the confines of their campus. Yet even these initiatives cannot bridge the digital divide if collections are not discoverable on the open Web, through popular search engines from Google and Bing to Yandex and Baidu. At Columbia, we recently adopted Blacklight, an open-source search-and-discovery layer, to improve the findability of the resources in our research repository, Academic Commons. Blacklight is fully Unicode-compliant, so content can be displayed in vernacular scripts, further enhancing its discoverability. The results have been better than we imagined: following our relaunch, traffic from Asia and Africa increased 300 and 400%, respectively, and our international users generally spent longer on our site than American users, accessing more content.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Libraries and Information Services
Published Here
December 13, 2011


Presented at the ACRL/NY Annual Symposium, "The Global Librarian: Information Without Borders," New York, December 11, 2011.