Case Study: Encore Duet Delivers Robust Article Delivery and Real-time Integration


The University of Warwick is globally recognised for the quality and impact of their research and commitment to student success.  The institution is consistently ranked as one of the top ten universities in the United Kingdom and continues to demonstrate strong performance in the government’s Research Excellence Framework.  Matching academic excellence with relevance is a hallmark of the university, and their enterprising approach is reflected in a desire to leverage leading-edge technology in support of their students and faculty.  Serving more than 25,000 undergraduates and postgraduates, plus more than 4,000 staff across campus, requires robust systems.

The University of Warwick performed a market scan to evaluate modern library discovery solutions, with an eye toward improving user experience and access to articles, while maintaining real-time availability and visibility of local collections.  The university’s library staff determined Innovative’s Encore Duet offering, based in the cloud and customised to reflect the university brand and unique library services, was the best solution to meet their needs.

Challenge: Provide users with a modern discovery solution that offers comprehensive coverage and easy access to relevant articles to support world-class research and student success.

The University of Warwick recognised the benefits of a discovery layer and suspected there were opportunities to make finding relevant articles easier for their students.  Focused on providing all their users with the best experience technology could offer, the search began for a discovery solution that could deliver advanced usability features and a high percentage of coverage for journal and electronic collections – without increasing effort required to train students or maintain the system.

“We needed a solution that made it easy for users to find what they were looking for, regardless of source.  A clear interface with fast, relevant search results and fully integrated access to the user account were important for usability, and visibility of local collections with real-time availability was a big factor, too.  We were focused on the ease of getting all that working, and Encore Duet made that possible.”

– Ed Kirkland, Data Services & Digital Production Manager, The Library at University of Warwick

The Solution That Ticks All The Boxes

For Warwick, making it easier to find articles required a combination of intuitive interface and broad coverage.  Known for its clear display and familiar interaction model, Encore Duet was a logical choice.  After confirming that the central index used for article discovery included comprehensive results over the majority of the university’s collection, as well as a high percentage of journals and databases, the library was confident users would find top quality content that was relevant for their studies.

In addition to subscribed resources, access to local collections and digital assets was critical.  Harvesting via OAI/PMH meant Encore Duet would integrate discovery of Warwick’s archival materials, digital objects, and articles from their institutional repository alongside electronic resource records and bibliographic results from the library catalogue. This brings collections together from multiple different systems into a single search.

Real-time integration between Encore Duet and Sierra meant users would have completely accurate information about catalogued materials, as well as integrated access to their library account (requests, checked-out items, personal history, etc).  Also, staff would not have to worry about maintaining record loads or establishing system connections.  Finally, integration with the library’s existing link resolver, knowledgebase, and authentication method meant they didn’t have to change anything behind the scenes.

Reliable Performance And Localised Support

Having identified a solution with all the functionality they required, the next step was confirming it could satisfy the university’s volume of users.  Located in the United Kingdom, Warwick was pleased to see that when Encore Duet was hosted in a Tier4 security collocation facility in Dublin, they experienced quick response times and reliable performance, even during peak usage hours.   With Innovative taking responsibility for system maintenance of the cloud-based discovery solution, the library has additional peace of mind knowing they can speak with a support team from Innovative’s Dublin office, in Warwick’s same time zone.

Result: Better Experience And Increased Usage

The University of Warwick was satisfied that Encore Duet could truly take over as their primary search tool.  The library felt very confident about promoting the new discovery solution and positioned it as the only search box on their home page.  Having won over the academic librarians, students see Encore Duet in all the induction teaching materials now.

Library staff have been very pleased with the localisation options offered by Encore Duet.  Ed Kirkland, Data Services & Digital Production Manager notes, “With a customised header and background image that includes the university branding, the interface matches the main website and feels like a natural continuation for users.  It’s quite nice that it looks like ours – really makes Encore Duet stand apart from other discovery solutions.”  The library is also able to customize text and material type icons.  Beyond cosmetic adjustment, they have added JavaScript to include additional features and to power integration with local systems, such as the ability to request external store items.  Users benefit from a single click on the results browse, which automatically populates request forms with title and author information from the bibliographic record, served up by Encore Duet.  The best part is the library can control everything within a web-based administration interface, so there is no need to open service tickets.

Since promoting Encore Duet as their primary search interface, the library has experienced a significant increase in usage.  During the first academic year after implementation, they were pleased to see that discovery sessions were up by 73%, the number of unique users was up by 202%, and the number of page views was up by 37%.  Anecdotally, they have gotten positive responses from their users.  The launch was marked by complimentary comments on Twitter, and students and academics from the university’s Business school in particular really appreciate the improved experience and have become very heavy users.  Best of all, the library doesn’t get any complaints – Encore Duet is always available and working well for students and faculty.

Overall, Innovative’s Encore Duet discovery solution allows the University of Warwick to better serve faculty and students, satisfy library staff, and guarantee ongoing excellence in research and teaching in accordance with their mission.