Student Searching with EBSCO Discovery: A Usability Study




Cassidy, Erin Dorris
Jones, Glenda
McMain, Lynn
Shen, Lisa
Vieira, Scott

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Taylor & Francis (Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship)


The researchers conducted task-based usability testing of the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) with 20 students. While most participants felt positively about EDS, a few usability issues emerged. Confusion arose regarding source types and icons, facets/limiters, relevancy ranking, integrated search connectors and more. Students encountered difficulty with spelling corrections and a failure to understand terminology, and they demonstrated an unwillingness to view additional pages of search results. Findings indicate the need for changes to the local implementation of EDS as well as to features and structures under EBSCO’s control.



web-scale discovery, EBSCO Discovery Service, usability, higher education, information-seeking behavior


Cassidy, E. D., Jones, G., McMain, L., Shen, L., & Vieira, S. (2014). Student searching with EBSCO Discovery: A usability study. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 26(1), 17-35. doi:10.1080/1941126X.2014.877331