Woodbury University

More easily connect library users to the resources they need

Image of students at Woodbury University Library

"WorldCat Discovery gives you everything all in one place. A lot of students don't quite know if they want an article or if they want a book. They just need to see it before they know what they want. The fact that they get more results all in one place often benefits the students."

Jared Cowing
Former Systems Librarian/Assistant Professor

Woodbury University Library regularly conducts website user tests and makes improvements based on the results to better serve students and faculty. Although Woodbury began as a business school, now more than half of the students are involved in design programs. Former Systems Librarian/Assistant Professor Jared Cowing explained, “We find that a lot of students gravitate towards visual cues.” WorldCat® Discovery has helped these students find the library resources they need more easily. “It's more visually obvious where you are in relation to where you just were and how to get back there. I think that does reduce cognitive load for students,” he said.

WorldCat Discovery has improved catalog searching for both faculty and students, and results of the website user tests have led to additional improvements. “Signing into your library accounts or renewing a book involves fewer clicks and is better integrated with the catalog, as is course reserves,” Jared said. “All of those functionalities have seen a big improvement since we switched to WorldCat Discovery.” The course reserves module available in WorldCat Discovery has made the process for the library staff much more efficient as well. Jared added, “Our course reserves staff is super happy with it, and students probably benefit quite a bit more from the Discovery version because it's so much more integrated.”

“I am glad that with Google Scholar, if faculty members go there and they're on campus, WorldCat Discovery enables the 'Find in a Library' link that steers them back into our ecosystem."

WorldCat Discovery has also saved the library money by eliminating the need for a third-party mobile app that allowed students to search the catalog on their phones. Jared said, “It was a significant savings for us to be able to get rid of that. Beyond the cost, it helped streamline user experiences.” Now, students can easily access the catalog anywhere since WorldCat Discovery is both responsive and accessible. Jared said, “The fact that Discovery is a lot more accessible is a big plus for us. It's always been important, but especially now, I think libraries and wider universities have been a lot more cognizant of web accessibility.”

In addition to streamlining the website experience, WorldCat Discovery has allowed Woodbury library users to find and request resources through WorldShare Interlibrary Loan more easily. “Even though we can anticipate what students might want, there are a lot of things that we have to rely on interlibrary loan for,” Jared explained. “In WorldCat Discovery, you can integrate that workflow and help guide students and faculty toward resources that other libraries make available.” Jared added, “Our ILL usage in the past few years has gone up quite a bit, and we're very happy to see that.”

Beyond WorldCat Discovery’s features, Jared also appreciates the cooperative nature of OCLC. “Behind WorldCat Discovery, there is that wider OCLC community. The cooperative community,” he said. “It says a lot positively about OCLC that not only are you innovating, but you're doing it in a way that listens to specific functionality needs rather than just pushing for the sake of having something new.” Woodbury librarians appreciate the open culture that OCLC values, as it allows them to have a voice in what changes are being made and to communicate about new features. “The fact that OCLC as an organization is a nonprofit cooperative helps lend itself to that type of culture,” he said. “With WorldCat Discovery comes that community of transparency, which is often a rare commodity in the library services market.”

Map showing location of Woodbury University

Library at a glance

  • Supports one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California with two locations
  • Collection includes approximately 80,000 books, 3,000 films, 200 current print periodical subscriptions, and access to 100 research databases
  • Adds 2,000 new books and 200 new DVDs each year
  • Offers several one-unit courses designed to help students effectively use information resources


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