International College Announces Launch of Federated Search Engine

International College is partnering with The Library Corporation (TLC) and WebFeat, Inc. to launch a federated search engine for students, faculty, and staff, called the IRC Search.

The Federated Search, which launches this week, will be made available to anyone with an International College library card and is accessible through the College’s Information Resource Center web page.

IRC Search will allow users to access multiple databases simultaneously through one search interface. IRC Search acts as a bridge that quickly and easily leads researchers from the College’s library portal web page into needed resources, such as catalog holdings, proprietary databases, electronic books, or subscription data.

“Time to students is crucial. At International College, students have almost 80 databases to choose from when doing their research, as well as thousands of books and e-books. This federated search engine searches across all of those resources simultaneously and seamlessly, thus saving our students time in preparing for class,” said Melody Hainsworth, Vice President, Information Resources and Services. “The IRC Search will also be less confusing for students when they start their research. Additionally, it opens up new databases they may not have known were available to them before.”

The IRC Search is supported by TLC. The Federate Search’s service is provided by WebFeat.

Though the technology became available on the market three years ago, there is a definite growing trend of Federated Search usage among libraries now, explained Ted Koppel, TLC Senior Product Manager for Standards Implementation. TLC has 650 library system installations serving nearly 3,000 libraries, including college, university, public, and special interest libraries.

“Both at the public and private level, librarians are being told that there are too many search boxes to deal with during researching. Users do not want to waste time searching separate boxes,” he said. “There is a real desire to do a one-stop search and let the search software do the work – not the person.”

Jennifer Hansen, Vice President of Client Services for WebFeat, explained another benefit to colleges and universities for incorporating this technology into their system: credibility of information.

“The information available through the IRC search or any library federated search is information that has been quality controlled,” Hansen said. “This means students are accessing higher-quality data that is pertinent, relevant, and trust-worthy. While it is true someone can do searches on a variety of search engines, like Google, that information may not be reliable to be included in research.”

Master of Public Administration major Elaine Reed Kruse was in a small class that piloted the program earlier this fall during the testing stage.

“For me, the IRC Search is fabulous. Usually, you spent hours searching and reading the information. This search engine definitely saves time and is user friendly. I can navigate through the search, bookmark search engines, and save articles to a folder. It is extremely helpful,” Kruse said.
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