Students and Federated Searching: A Survey of Use and Satisfaction




Korah, Abe
Cassidy, Erin Dorris

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Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association


This study assessed student use of and satisfaction with a WebFeat brand federated search tool implemented by the library at Sam Houston State University. Students voluntarily responded to an electronic survey, providing feedback on how often they conducted class research using the federated search tool, individual databases, and online search engines and how well each search tool satisfied their class research needs. The study found a high rate of federated search use but only moderate satisfaction; for most students, federated search did not replace individual databases and online search engines, which also saw frequent use for class assignments. Federated search use was highest among lower-level undergraduates, and both usage and satisfaction declined as student classification rose. Classification—which can be seen as the amount of experience in an academic environment—played a larger role in federated search use and satisfaction than did age or subject area of study.



libraries, federated search, user satisfaction


Korah, A., and Cassidy, E. D. (2010). Students and federated searching: A survey of use and satisfaction. Reference and User Services Quarterly 49(4), 325-332. doi:10.5860/rusq.49n4