If you need to evaluate a discovery tool, allow me to recommend Rebecca Belford's just-published article "Evaluating Library Discovery Tools Through a Music Lens" Library Resources & Technical Service, V. 58, no. 1 (2014), p. 49-72. Available here,  and soon in various aggregator databases.

Don't be put off by "music" in the title - the paper provides a practical method anyone can use to put a discovery tool through the paces. It is full of examples of what to test, specific searches to use, how to interpret the results, and why. Appendix A is a checklist of what to search and Appendix B systematically provides actual sample searches.

It is an excellent companion to the Music Discovery Requirements  (Of which, full disclaimer, I was the lead author and Rebecca Belford was a co-author.) The Music Discovery Requirements outlines discovery needs for music materials. Rebecca's article details how to evaluate an existing discovery tool's performance.

The abstract:
"This paper outlines how to use specialized cataloging to evaluate discovery tools for library collections. An awareness of the capability offered by bibliographic records and data for specialized materials enables libraries to conduct their own evaluation of a discovery tool's functionality for complex materials. Bibliographic records for materials such as music are excellent for putting a discovery tool through rigorous testing. This paper may be used to facilitate evaluation of discovery tools by those without music cataloging expertise, and it provides a ready supply of examples to quickly identify complex search strategies."


Nara Newcomer
Head of Music/Media Library | Adjunct Associate Professor, Conservatory of Music and Dance
University of Missouri-Kansas City | G03C Miller Nichols Library
800 E. 51st St. | Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
p: 816-235-1679 | f: 816-333-5584