NFAIS Releases Draft for Review and Comment

The National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS™) has posted a draft Discovery Service Code of Practice for review and comment from February 1 through March 16, 2012.

Document ReviewThey believe that discovery services have the potential to provide ease of information discovery, access, and use, benefitting not only its member organizations, but also the global community of information seekers. However, the relative newness of these services has generated questions and concerns among information providers and librarians as to how these services meet expectations with regard to issues related to traditional search and retrieval services; e.g. usage reports, ranking algorithms, content coverage, updates, product identification, etc.

This document has been developed to assist those who choose to use this new distribution channel through the provision of guidelines that will help avoid the disruption of the delicate balance of interests involved.

NFAIS is inviting all members of the information community to review the draft and submit questions and comments for consideration by the Code Development Task Force. Background information and the draft Code can be accessed at:

NFAIS wants to hear from you. Are there other issues to be considered? Who do they impact? What solutions should be considered? All comments are welcome and can be submitted online at:

Alternatively a marked up document or written comments can be submitted to Bonnie Lawlor, NFAIS Executive Director, at


In 2010 NFAIS was requested to gather information on the experiences and perceptions of its member organizations regarding discovery services — specifically those services that offer an alternative to the simple search capability provided by Google. A survey was conducted, but the results were inconclusive.

The respondents had not been working with discovery services long enough to gain sufficient experience with which to quantifiably determine the benefits and challenges that they presented to information providers and their users (see:

The survey did raise questions and during the time that elapsed while answers were being sought from each of the major discovery services (EBSCO, Ex Libris, OCLC, and Serials Solutions), three facts emerged:

  1. The questions being raised by information providers overlapped significantly with those being raised in parallel within the library community; e.g. questions related to discovery service ranking algorithms, content coverage, usage reports, updates, branding, etc;
  2. Each service has their own proprietary system and unique approach to information discovery so that there is no single answer to the questions being raised
  3. A steadily growing number of librarians and information providers were entering into arrangements with discovery services with diverse expectations and without an awareness and understanding of the issues and concerns of the various players in any discovery service arrangement.


NFAISFounded in 1958, NFAIS is a membership organization of more than 60 of the world’s leading producers of databases and related information services, information technology, and library services in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, business, and the arts and humanities. Unlimited Priorities is proud to be a member of NFAIS.


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