We frequently get questions about the capabilities and integrations available with Aspen Discovery. Unlike traditional proprietary vendors, with open source, we are able to connect to a wide variety of resources to tailor your discovery layer to what fits your individual library's needs. As the Aspen community grows, and we bring on new partners with new integrations, we continue to expand our offerings. Here are some of the integrations Aspen currently offers.
Aspen Discovery seamlessly connects to several eContent sources through APIs. This connection is ideal because the API allows your Aspen Discovery layer to have up to date conversations with eContent providers. This enables Aspen to show patrons current information on what is available to them in that collection, they will not see titles that are no longer available, and they will get information on whether they can currently check out those materials or where in the waitlist they are. Additionally, patrons can checkout the materials right in Aspen and access those titles in Aspen as well, allowing patrons to stay within your catalog!
We currently have API connections to the following eContent vendors:
- RB digital
- Cloud Library
If you utilize another eContent vendor who uses APIs let us know and we can work on integrating those resources!
Side Loading eContent
There are some eContent vendors who do not currently have APIs but we have a solution to get those records into Aspen Discovery. We have a feature called 'side loading' where you can load your eContent marc files right into Aspen Discovery. This is super easy to use and maintain. When you have a new marc file to update your collection with, all you have to do is load the file into Aspen and you can choose to replace the old file or just add the new file as well! This is way easier to manage than loading the files into your ILS. You can find a tutorial on that process below.
We can also integrate a direct connection to EBSCO EDS. By integrating EBSCO EDS into Aspen patrons can search the databases directly in it's own search or they find applicable results in the catalog in the 'Explore More'. You can find out more information on the explore more function on a following section.
Third Party Enrichment Integration
Aspen Discovery can also pull in other enrichment or resources from many third party vendors. We currently integrate with the following:
Additionally, we pull in information from the following resources for you automatically:
- New York Times bestseller lists
- Accelerated Reader data
- Cover images from Google Books, Amazon, Open Library and OMDB
- content from DP.LA
- Wikipedia author integration
Aspen Discovery can be used on many ILS' and the list is only growing! We currently have integrated with the following ILS':
If you do not see your ILS on this list, do not worry! We have developers who are ready to make sure we can set up those connections properly. Aspen is completely customizable, so we can integrate any ILS or system.
You can pull in any digital or open archives into Aspen to be indexed and discoverable by your patrons as long as they follow OAI-PMH. You can find more information on that here: Aspen Weekly: Connecting to Local History
Aspen Discovery currently has integration with Library Market's Library Calendar. When you integrate your events, patrons can search events directly and discover them when searching your catalog.
Locally Created Content
Aspen Discovery has a module called Web Builder where you can create web pages locally within Aspen Discovery! This module is super easy to use with endless possibilities. For example, within Aspen you can use this feature to create a web page for your Beanstack reading challenges or to showcase your virtual storytime videos. Within this module you can also create staff directories super easily and generate 'Web Resources' that will show in the explore more box. You can find tutorials on how to accomplish all of this here: Web Builder
In addition to the web building functionality we have placards which are a resource to spotlight anything you want patrons to know about! Placards are customizable boxes that show above catalog results when patrons search a word that you have defined as a trigger word for that placard. For example, you can create a Mango Languages placard to give information on that resource and have it appear when patrons search for 'language' in your catalog. You can find many more examples on our publication on placards here: Aspen Weekly: Promotions with Placards
External Website Integration
Within Aspen you can also choose to index external sites. For example, if you want patrons to be able to discover web pages you have created on your library website outside of Aspen we can pull those web pages into Aspen. This is helpful if you make pages on events or resources and patrons will be able to find that information within the catalog!
You can tell that Aspen Discovery can pull in so much content and resources automatically for your patrons! We have tons of other ways to manage content and resources like we have mentioned above - you can even create custom menus! One of the main goals is to allow patrons easy access to all of your great resources and because we can integrate so many of those we want to ensure patrons are aware of the content so we have something built into Aspen called 'Explore More'.
This box will display results from other indexed resources in Aspen that are applicable to what they searched in the catalog. So for example, if I searched for 'events' in the catalog I would see my applicable results in the catalog but I may also get an explore more box that will show me web pages I have created in Aspen on my library's events. If I do a search on 'history' I may get archive results, or resources on local history, or EBSCO EDS results on history right in that explore more box.
These are just some, not all, of the integrations that Aspen Discovery is capable of! As the Aspen community continues to grow, we keep adding new integrations and new opportunities for libraries to have the most robust and customizable discovery layer available.
Read more by Addie Van Salisbury