Library Committee Handbook

Search Assistant Working Group

Charge & Membership

Meetings & Minutes

SA Databases & Platforms


Search Assistant Working Group


The Search Assistant is a resource discovery path for users which allows for searching across multiple electronic resources in a subject area. This group was formed from the final report of the Federated Searching Task Force which was originally charged with implementing a single search interface for undergraduates. The scope of the Search Assistant Working Group (SAWG) is broader and the new charge is to guide the development and implementation of this broadcast search technology within multiple disciplines and research areas.

Goals for the SAWG

  1. Determine priority subject (or format) groups for development and establish realistic implementation timelines for project components
  2. Work with other library units and subject specialists for input on the content and development priority of the search groups
  3. Decide standard nomenclature and look for the Search Assistant components
  4. Determine success metrics, measure usage and effectiveness of the service, and make recommendations on statistical records that should be kept for analysis
  5. Collaborate with the Web Content Management team regarding look and placement of the Search Assistant
  6. Maintain project updates for Library personnel on the Library web site
  7. Promote Search Assistant
    1. within the library through staff awareness so that they may reach out to their user groups, including collaboration with Staff Training to arrange orientation or training for Library staff
    2. outside of the library through PR channels and office of Library Development
  8. Become familiar with broadcast and federated searching and share pertinent information within the group
  9. Draft a report before summer 2009 regarding the on-going status of the Search Assistant including sustainability, evaluation, and a process (or party) responsible for future decisions and developments


SAWG membership is drawn from a variety of library faculty and academic professionals with interest and expertise in user services and information retrieval. Membership on the working group is for two years. Appointments represent a variety of patron groups and disciplines and should consist of: an expert in programming information retrieval applications, at least one individual working in public services, a librarian with primary responsibility in the area of user instruction, and three representatives serving various subject departments.


Reference services: Kathleen Kern (current chair)
IR programmer: Bill Mischo (current CAPT representative)
Instruction specialist: Susan Avery
Subject specialist: Katie Newman (bio-sciences)
Subject specialist: Nancy O’Brien (education and social sciences)
Subject specialist: Nathan Yarasavage (history and newspaper)
IT systems specialist: Peggy Steele