The 21st Century Searcher by M. Gorrell

Gorrell, M. (2008). The 21st Century Searcher: How the Growth of Search Engines Affect the Redesign of EBSCOhost. Against the Grain, 20(3), 22-24.

This is a short article written by the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Ebscohost Publishing. It explained the motivation behind Ebscohost 2.0, the new Ebscohost search platform and interface.

Librarians frequently concede that search engines are popular because they are convenient and quick, but quickly criticized that they do not necessarily offer the best answers. In other words, libraries are still better at high quality content.

Gorrell argues that being the best may not be better because convenience is, whether we like it or not, probably the most important criteria for the success of any search instrument. This may not be palatable but it is true. Most users are going to use something that is easier even if it is not the best.

Gorrell, in his conclusion, said:

    • Today,


    • is easy. Most browsers have a search box built into the browser itself. The challenge … is to make


    premium high-quality content just as easy.

There is a difference between searching and finding. Obviously finding is more important and also harder to achieve. But that difference shouldn’t stop us from trying to make both as easy.

Cheryl LaGuardia (2005) reviewed the Communication & Mass Media Complete database offered by Ebsco Publishing and has this to say about the pre 2.0 platform:

    The Ebscohost system continues to be one of the best interfaces on the market because it is so simple yet so powerful … The screen draws your attention to what is needed most yet offers “add-ons” that allow you to do quite sophisticated searching just by filling in the blanks.

I agree. Ebscohost is fairly easy and straightforward. It is not an easy task to come up with a user-friendly interface and intuitive features. Many say that they are but they really aren’t.

When Ebscohost 2.0 was launched, I didn’t know what the fuss was about. With any new change, I experienced some inconvenience because I need to unlearn and relearn a few habits. But the new system has proven itself. It was a good move to redesign and be on par with new developments in search engine technology.

The only problem I have with Ebsco now is the 1-year embargo on quite a number of the journals in their collections. It hurts the quality of their content coverage. I hope they can address this issue and then many of my users will be very contented.

LaGuardia, C. (2005). Communication at Last. Library Journal, 130(3).