At the December 1, 2010 meeting in Mountain Iron with technology expert
Marshall Breeding, there was a strong consensus that ALS should first
pursue a so-called “Discovery Layer” before proceeding with the search for
a new integrated library system (ILS) to replace the current Horizon
system.

To quote one source, “[a] discovery layer provides a single point of
access to the full library collection across bought, licensed and digital
materials. Typically, a single search box is offered alongside a range of
other navigation features. Products which support this approach include
Worldcat Local, Summon, Primo Central, and the Ebsco Discovery Service,
as well as a range of institutional, national or other initiatives.”

As discussed on December 1, the proposed discovery layer concept
would allow all patrons to use a single search to simultaneously
search the Horizon catalog at ALS, the Polaris catalog at the Duluth
Public Library, and a number of the many licensed databases available to
our users.

The ALS Board seemed very interested in the concept of a discovery
layer and here at ALS we will be discussing how to proceed with the
process of identifying a discovery layer that would work best for our libraries.
While the AquaBrowser product has been quite popular in the public library
market, there are several product options.

In a follow-up e-mail exchange with Mr. Breeding, he has offered a
few suggestions of libraries using discovery layers as the “front
end” for searching their their catalogs. See the list below (the name of
the library is followed by the product they are using):

Seattle Public Library — BiblioCommons
http://seattle.bibliocommons.com/dashboard

Queens Borough Public Library — AquaBrowser:
http://www.queenslibrary.org/

Scottsdale Public Library — Encore —
http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/books

Ann Arbor District Library — SOPAC — http://www.aadl.org/catalog

CARLI consortium in Illinios — VuFind —
http://vufind.carli.illinois.edu/all/vf/