MetaLib: Enhancing Discovery

Category: Featured Articles
Published: November 01 2011

In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) released its implementation of MetaLib, the federated searching tool with more than fifty databases. MetaLib complements and gives added depth to the access to Federal publications provided by the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) through its ability not only to search databases, but to simultaneously search databases.

All of the databases configured in MetaLib are free, publicly accessible, Federal Government databases. MetaLib has something for just about everyone. Examples of some of the Federal Government information treasure troves accessible through MetaLib include:

A variety of search options are available for seekers of Government information on such subjects as health, agriculture, transportation, U.S. military, education, and many more. The Basic Search offers two pre-defined search sets: General Resources and GPO Resources (more on this later). Adventurous users can go one step further to the Advanced Search for subject-oriented, pre-defined search sets that search up to ten resources simultaneously such as Business + Economy;  Health + Safety; and Recreation, Travel + Transportation. Expert Search offers even more flexibility. You can also browse through the A-Z Resource List. Not only can you take advantage of the simultaneous federated search, but you can also link to each database and search its own interface individually.

MetaLib is accessible through a link on the CGP homepage, or from <http://metalib.gpo.gov>. Since the databases accessible through MetaLib are free, publicly accessible resources, no authentication is required of users.

For all users, MetaLib offers the ability to search Federal Government databases simultaneously on a plethora of topics. It is now possible to search FDsys and the CGP through a pre-defined search set entitled “GPO Resources.” The single search box has been a request of the depository community that we are happy to have implemented in MetaLib.

Where are we going? Our goal is to continue to build MetaLib. We encourage you to continue to recommend databases for inclusion in this tool. To do so, click on “Suggest a Resource” in the upper right hand corner of the MetaLib homepage, or use askGPO. When submitting a question, please choose the category "Federal Depository Libraries" the subcategory “Catalog of U.S. Government Publications” and then “MetaLib – suggest a resource.”

The base set of resources was derived from the List of Classes, with additional configurations for titles in scope taken from the Ex Libris MetaLib Central Knowledge Base. We welcome suggestions from experts in the community for additional resources. Since searches and saves to “My E-Shelf” in MetaLib are session-based, and since all users are guest users, we are considering development to enable depository access to MetaLib through the CGP FDLP Login page, which will then allow saving across sessions.

Some statistics on MetaLib use:

Since MetaLib’s release, from October 14, 2010 - October 10, 2011:

FDsys in MetaLib, from September 24, 2011 - October 10, 2011:

Take a look at MetaLib, and try out the search capabilities of the new “GPO Resources” pre-defined search set. Any feedback is very useful to us in planning future development and functionality as we strive to continually improve our services to depository libraries and to the public.