For many corporate libraries, “search” represents an enormous challenge. Depending how users access the library, finding what they need can require a search of multiple databases using the same terms. This can turn out to be an effort fraught with frustration and a time drain on productivity.
When the director of information and knowledge management at a global specialty biopharmaceutical company experienced this frustration first hand, while searching through eight databases for competitive intelligence materials on a tight deadline, she decided this limitation was unacceptable. The library would embark on a mission to become more user-friendly.
The goal? The ability to search across multiple resources for a specific keyword or phrase and retrieve one comprehensive set of results.
The Underlying Issues with Poor Search Experiences
Onerous search experiences are not only time consuming, but workplace data suggests there are costs associated with the inability to locate content in an organized fashion.
Industry research points to an increased return on investment (ROI) of at least 38% when there is improved access to information. Some data also suggests the amount of time knowledge workers spend searching for information has increased more than 10% over the past decade.
“Where’s My Stuff?”
When this mission began, the company licensed more than 80 different content sources, ranging from journal articles and clinical trials data, to competitive intelligence databases and marketing reports. Each content source was listed on the company’s Intranet and could be searched individually, but they were not accessible to search as a group. In other words, a user searching for all available information on a particular drug — a chemical structure, market intelligence, clinical trials, or journal articles — had to search each individual content source separately to piece together the information required.
Bolstered by her own frustration, the library director organized focus groups with more than 100 library users from various parts of the company. User after user reported being unable to find the information they needed in any systematic manner and complained there must be a better way.
The library director was then able to procure support from executive stakeholders to scope out possible solutions to the problem, aptly dubbed “Where’s My Stuff?”