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University Libraries is moving to Primo Library Search on Friday, July 1st

by Bridget Voltz on 2022-06-29T09:04:00-04:00 in General (multidisciplinary) | 0 Comments

University Libraries is moving to Primo Library Search on Friday, July 1st, where searching and finding library resources can be done easily in one place!


With this change, you may need to:
  • Update bookmarks
  • Update links in D2L
  • Update instruction materials on library research


We are here to help! For questions or concerns, please reach out to Kerry Walton, Electronic Resources Librarian |

Check our webpage @ to start searching!



For a deeper understanding of our move to Primo Library Search please review our study below.

Recommendation for West Chester University Libraries’ Discovery Layer

Discovery Working Group (DWG)

Members: Kerry Walton, Gary Childs, Clayton Garthwait, Annette Hamilton, Anne Larrivee, Alex

Miriello, Wes Miriello, Jenn O’Leary, Laurie Palumbo

April 4, 2022


Since 2019, West Chester University Libraries has managed and supported two discovery systems – ExLibris’ Primo and EBSCO’s EDS. While EDS serves as the default discovery layer, it is necessary to keep Primo as a public-facing catalog layer. EDS is commonly used for instruction and research-help purposes but Primo remains a staple resource for looking up library holdings. Having two discovery systems provided an opportunity for a usability study to compare the use, behavior, and perception of the two systems. The study was conducted between late fall 2020 through spring 2021 and had 19 undergraduate and graduate student participants. Upon completion of the usability study, it was clear the libraries would benefit from:

  1. Committing to a single discovery layer, which would improve instructional practices, discoverability of resources, and allow for consistent aggregated search practices.
  2. The creation of a working group to oversee discovery related topics.

The Discovery Working Group (DWG) convened in Fall 2021 after soliciting employee volunteers to serve. The charge of the working group was to utilize quantitative and qualitative data from the usability study and library focus groups led by members of the DWG to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the two discovery systems, with the goal of putting forward a recommendation for the discovery system University Libraries should use.

Data and Outcomes

Usability study data indicates that students are less likely to focus on the interface but are concerned with locating and accessing resources needed for an assignment. The study also confirmed the findings of many previously published studies that show students do not understand library terminologies such as catalog, online access, full-text, and citations. Although participants in the study did not show strong favoritism toward a particular system, there was a slight preference toward Primo.


Which Library Search interface did you prefer?



Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent












No Preference









The DWG conducted a focus group of the members and then in late fall 2021 and early spring 2022 led four separate focus groups in the library: student workers, faculty, staff, and library administration. The results of the focus groups were compiled and organized into ten themes (see Appendix A). Overall, the results showed that there were advantages and disadvantages to each system, areas for improvement and customization, and preferences between systems appeared evenly split. Some of the most significant points are:

  • Physical holdings are more discoverable in Primo. The integration of Alma into EDS is not conducive to discoverability:
    • Slow RTAC (Real-Time Automation Controller) in EDS creating problems with the performance of holdings display
    • Weekly upload of Alma data creates a significant lag in real-time holdings
    • Reserves material is not discoverable in EDS
  • EDS provides familiarity for searching and locating resources due to our considerable number of EBSCO databases.
  • Significant issues with searching, finding, and results:
    • Questionable representation of holdings in EDS
    • Highly filtered searches show the omission of a significant number of physical holdings results in EDS such as music scores, physical item date sorting, and known book titles
    • Number of results in EDS is significantly lower than Primo across all searches
      • More control and customization of physical records in Primo increases discoverability
      • Maximized index of electronic resources provides a higher number of search results
      • More options allow for enhanced discovery in Primo
    • Truncation functionality and reliability questionable in EDS
  • Relevance and ranking are questioned in both systems based on results returned
  • Accuracy of collection assessment is greater in Primo
  • Preference for high level of customization with Primo
    • Creating scopes and facets for specific collections such as juvenile literature and Presser Music Library

    • Integration of other tools such as LibGuides, Digital Commons, ContentDM,

ArchivesSpace, widgets, building maps (StackMap), and call number texting

    • Language/terminology, display, etc.
  • Reliability of EDS platform – frequent outages


The Discovery Working Group recommends that the University Libraries’ support the ongoing subscription, instruction, and management of Primo discovery system. The following reasons are supported by the results of the study, focus groups, and discussion among DWG members:

  1. Integration of Primo and Alma
  2. Additional cost of EDS
  3. Additional cost and time of managing two systems
  4. System stability and reliability


The Discovery Working Group’s goal is to respond to the discovery needs and requests of the West Chester University community. Students and faculty should be able to discover library resources with ease. It is important that the resources supplied through our discovery layer are available as soon as possible with metadata that can be customized to match user needs.

Having one discovery system that aligns with the library’s back-end system would allow resource service management staff to refine metadata practices, improve management of electronic resources, and enhance discoverability of all resources including print, subscribed, perpetual access, open access, Digital Commons, special collections and other library specific collections.

Beyond accessibility and discoverability, it is important that our instruction librarians have one tool to develop consistent and outcome-based instruction practices. Having two systems creates confusion and complicates the explanation of discovery searching. It is the recommendation of the group that Primo discovery system will support the needs of both University Libraries’ and the larger West Chester University community.



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