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Omni Search Scope Study

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8am - 10pm

All service hours

In July 2021, we collaborated with UX partners at Brock, Western, and Queen's to learn how users understand the search scope. The search scope defines which collection(s) the user is searching. In particular, we wanted to know if it was better for the default search scope to be the user's home library or the user's home library + all Omni libraries. 

Research questions

  • Do users prefer one search scope over the other?

  • Can users easily find items from their home library using the home library + all Omni libraries scope?

  • What are users' expectations and behaviours when they see the message 'not available locally'?


  • Task usability study

What did we learn?

  • Most users did not use (or even notice) the search scope in the basic search interface; they did notice it in the advanced search interface.

  • Users were more likely to want to be able to see items available at other libraries, even if they might not decide to request the item.

  • Requesting items in Omni remains a cumbersome and non-intiutive task.


  • Make home library + all Omni libraries the default search scope.

  • Change the label 'not available locally, click for more options' to a more positive message such as 'available from another library, click to request.'

Year of Study


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