Use of ESBCO Discovery Tool at One University Reveals Increased Use of Electronic Collections but Decreased Use in Circulation of Print Collections


  • Aoife Lawton Health Service Executive Ireland



discovery tools, collection management,


A Review of:
Calvert, K. (2015). Maximizing academic library collections: Measuring changes in use patterns owing to EBSCO Discovery Service. College & Research Libraries, 76(1), 81-99.

Objective – To find out what the effects of a discovery tool are in relation to usage of print and electronic library collections, and with the aim to measure the effects in three specific areas: circulation numbers, use of electronic resources, and interlibrary loan requests.

Design – Comparative quantitative analysis of usage statistics and data sets.

Setting – A regional comprehensive university in the United States of America.

Subjects – Usage data from a university library.

Methods – The methods used were informed by three hypotheses stated at the beginning of the study. First, an analysis of usage data of e-resources tested the hypothesis that the introduction of a discovery tool would increase use of e-resources. Second, to test whether the use of print collections increased, circulation statistics including items borrowed via consortia and in-house use statistics were measured. Finally, interlibrary loan statistics from 2010 to 2013 were collated to test if the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) led to a decrease in interlibrary loan requests.

Main Results – The introduction of the EBSCO discovery tool resulted in increased use of EBSCOhost and other databases at the library in question. However, the library's circulation statistics decreased, with a drop of 28% of checkouts compared to the previous year. The drop is more pronounced with undergraduates, who checked out 39% fewer items after the EDS was introduced. There was a 30% decrease in requests for borrowing items from a consortia. There was insufficient data to support or refute the third hypothesis.

Conclusion – The implementation of a discovery tool at one library has had both postive and negative outcomes. An increase in the use of electronic collections was observed as a positive outcome, whereas a decrease in the use of print collections was a negative outcome. Due to the findings of the study, the library revised its policy on content inclusion to the EDS. Any new content is now screened for suitability before it is included. As a changing student demographic evolves at the library, with an increase in distance and online learners, the library will grow its collection in line with their needs. The author notes that a further study is needed to examine ebook usage, and recommends that the library consider a move towards ebooks for all


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Author Biography

Aoife Lawton, Health Service Executive Ireland

Systems Librarian




How to Cite

Lawton, A. (2015). Use of ESBCO Discovery Tool at One University Reveals Increased Use of Electronic Collections but Decreased Use in Circulation of Print Collections. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(4), 244–246.



Evidence Summaries

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