Abstract: Digital libraries must balance competing priorities in efficiency, networking, preservation, usability, and discovery. Allowing users to search multiple collections simultaneously within the digital library preserves the experience of serendipitous discovery, shifting users from browsing physical stacks to browsing relevant results from their searches. Within University of North Texas’ Digital Library (UNT DL), collections are housed together, allowing users to retrieve search results from multiple collections. Because the UNT institutional repository (IR) is seated as a collection amongst other collections, users can access faculty research, not just out of an interest in research from specific faculty members, but rather as it ties into the user’s broader understanding of a given topic. With a flexible infrastructure and metadata schema that connect collections beneath the umbrella of the digital library, the UNT DL employs full-text searching and word-highlighting to strengthen and make visible the connections between objects in different collections.
We will examine how users navigate the overlap between the UNT IR, and other collections within the UNT DL. Through this examination, we can understand which collections may relate to one another, why some unique items are used more than others, and the average number of items used within a session.