Mabee to streamline searching with Encore search engine

Richard Kelly

A new search engine is in the works for users of Mabee Library.

After several student-and-faculty-driven requests for a more intuitive searching program, Alan Bearman, interim dean of university libraries, went with his colleagues to the group they work with, called Innovative. This group often finds itself on the cutting edge of new technology, said Bearman, and they will continue to make improvements to their existing products, so that they get better even after they’ve been implemented. During the selection process last spring, Mabee Library administrators saw Innovative had a plan to launch a new product called Encore. Ultimately, they made the decision to bring the search engine to Mabee Library.

“We have well over 300,000 books just in Mabee Library, and one of the complaints we always had was that the catalog we were using wasn’t student friendly,” said Bearman. “With [Encore] we think we’ll give students a much more organized and intuitive experience, more similar to Amazon.”

One of the major differences with the Encore program is it offers an easier way to obtain materials. On the current system, searches often yield unsatisfactory results, even if the material is located within the library. Bearman said one of the most exciting parts of Encore is the how much more accessible materials and resources are compared to the old system.

The program itself has only been launched in about 50 to 60 schools and public libraries. Some of the notable schools which use Encore are the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the Yale Law Library. Washburn will be utilizing Encore 2.0, the second version of the program.

“It’s pretty exciting for Washburn,” said Bearman. “It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten out on the cutting edge like this.”

With a launch date of Oct. 10, students won’t have much longer to wait. Students and faculty will be introduced to it that Friday. The transition will be slow, but Bearman said the old interface will still be available for those who prefer it over the Encore program. Bearman added the Encore program will be easy to adapt to and shouldn’t require much of a transitional period.