Beyond Search: Acquire, Embed, and Organize

Imagine you’re working on a project and you need a resource from your organization’s library. You visit the library’s Website and begin typing the name of the resource into the Search box, but you stop suddenly when you notice that it doesn’t say Search. It says Organize. Or Embed. Or Acquire.


At Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, these words represent the many ways that employees can engage with the library. Kelly Bergman, manager of Knowledge Services at ETS, and Angela Pagliaro, an analyst, had wanted to create a visual image that would help market the ETS Library to their colleagues, so they started developing a list of the services they offer. The list grew so long they had to group the services into four categories, as follows:

  • ACQUIRE: I know the item I need but can’t access it.
  • EMBED: I need an information research partner.
  • ORGANIZE: I need information organized and searchable.
  • SEARCH: I want to learn about a topic.

These four “levels of engagement” formed the basis not only of the image but eventually of a paper, which Angela and Kelly presented at the SLA 2016 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. The paper was named the best contributed paper presented at SLA 2016, earning Angela and Kelly free registration at SLA 2017 in Phoenix—and an interview with Information Outlook.

“I think that our interactions with the researchers [at ETS] and our other users may have influenced our topic for the contributed paper,” Angela told Information Outlook during the interview. “Out library services are more than categorizing and fulfilling requests; we want to be a partner and a resource for our patrons and understand what they need to do their jobs. This goes beyond the folks in research—we want to ensure that anyone at ETS can reach out to the library for anything.”

To learn more about how the ETS Library serves its clients and the value that Angela and Kelly add, read the interview.

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