Library Research? LionSearch Has Got Your Back!

Recently, something called LionSearch Beta has appeared on the website for the PSU library. Basically, a “library” is a place where you would go to borrow PDF files that somebody else printed out for you. They are even alphabetized sometimes! The library’s website features a variety of databases you probably learned about as a freshman. LionSearch takes all of those and basically makes it into one master search.

About 2 years ago, the Penn State Library brainstormed ideas on how to make its vast amount of content more accessible to the busy college student. As John Connor will tell you, the best place to go for improvement is technology. Using something referred to as “pre-harvested federated search,” LionSearch is much more complex and customizable than your average search. A team began assembling this technobabble last fall and LionSearch entered beta on March 21.

LionSearch combines the CAT, subscription databases, e-journals,  and digitalized collections (like LaVie yearbooks) into one search box. By using checkboxes, the search can be customized to only show whatever form of media your professor is forcing you to use. In particular, scholarly journals (one of my most hated combinations of two words) can easily be browsed using LionSearch. LionSearch can also make citations for you, can save searches, and has a mobile interface. Given time, it could probably learn to make you a sandwich.

As for the name, Information Literacy Librarian Emily Rimland told me the tale:

The newly formed Libraries’ Undergraduate Student Advisory Group along with suggestions by library employees led us to develop a shortlist of names.  We put the shortlist out to vote and over 600 students voted for their favorite from the list, and the overwhelming winner was LionSearch.  And, in case anyone is attached to the CAT, don’t worry, it’s not going away!

For now, LionSearch is in beta with the full version coming in the fall. Feedback from students is being collected and can be submitted using the Feedback tab on the LionSearch site. For news and announcements about LionSearch, the Penn State Libraries Twitter account has you covered.

About the Author

John Dempsey

John is a Junior majoring in Journalism from Hazleton, PA. He is so awesome that sharks dedicate a week to him. Likes: Video games, vigilante justice, irony, talking bears, Burt Reynolds, El Chupacabra, coloring books, chainsaws, and Australians. Dislikes: Zombies, clowns, zombie clowns, turtleneck sweaters, Apple, poor mustache grooming, nuclear winter, Roman architecture, guacamole, robots, LCD TVs, the color yellow, Velcro, ceiling fans, sprinklers, tornadoes, Belgians, squat thrusts, and romantic comedies.


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