I got already some time ago a copy of a great, concise volume on web-scale discovery services mailed to me (please, note the disclosure). The book is written by Roberto Raieli, librarian and library director working at the Sapienza Università di Roma (known of his previous infomative volume on multimedia information retrieval), translated from Italian by Elena Corradini and published in the Chandos Information Professional Series. It provides a practical summary of the state of the art of these half-way systems between general search engines and repository and database specific search services. The text is aimed primarily to librarians but is as such approachable to any non-technical readers interested in the topic, probably most obviously to museum and archives professionals and information specialists. While being very much down to earth, the text does also provide a critical vista to the major short-comings and problems with services that to a large extent attempt to imitate search engines and provide a comparable user experience, however, not quite succeeding in it and at the same time inheriting many of their shortcomings. It does also a good job in theorising and providing an intriguing outlook to conceptualising the current and future role of discovery services and their role in library and more broadly, ALM sphere and the cultural and informational competences presumed and reinforced by them. Rather unsurprisingly, Raieli's take on managing information overload is the emphasis of the continuing need of bibliography and controlled knowledge organisation. Making finding easier requires an indefinite amount of effort to describe heterogeneous resources and not being blinded by what I termed (Huvila 2012; 2016) as the convenience of complex easiness or hiding the quintessential complexity of such tasks as information acquisition, an illusion of solvability of complex and unsolvable problems promoted by many of the popular contemporary information technologies, and a tendency to appropriate technologies to function in roles far beyond what they are capable of as comprehensive answer machines not only to simple questions of what is the capital of France or when the next train to Copenhagen departs but also to much larger problems of how to stay healthy or live a good life. In this respect Raieli does good work in opening the, if not entirely black, at least a rather grey box of how discovery systems work and perhapos even more so, the ideals that steer their development.
Raieli, R. (2022). Web-scale discovery services: Principles, applications, discovery tools and development hypotheses. Chandos. (transl. by Elena Corradini).
Huvila, I. (2012). Information Services and Digital Literacy: In search of the boundaries of knowing. Chandos.
Huvila, I. (2016). Affective capitalism of knowing and the society of search engine. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 68(5), 566–588.