In a comprehensive survey of the discovery tool literature, Beth Thomsett-Scott and Patricia Reese discuss the breadth of impact and the relationship of WSDS with information literacy.
While WSDS affect instruction and service, they also clearly affect the research that librarians are conducting.
The published articles span a total of 19 journals, with approximately one-third of the articles (34%) having appeared in College & Undergraduate Libraries, which published a special issue in 2012 dedicated to the research on WSDS and which demonstrates the prominence of WSDS in academic libraries.
The results provided a general idea of the content within each article, and important headings, such as "ONLINE Information Services," "DATABASE Industry," and "Information-Seeking Behavior," give some insight to the discussion of WSDS in the field.
The highest-ranked heading was "Federated Searching," which many articles discussed in their literature reviews to introduce the beginnings of WSDS, but none of the articles truly focused on the subject of federated searching.
Based on the word cloud alone, ambiguous words such as "library," "searching," and "information" have the most precedence, and they do not distinguish this set of articles about WSDS from any other articles in the field of library science.
By looking at the purpose of each article, this analysis demonstrated how WSDS affect library infrastructures.
This may serve as a troubleshooting guide for librarians adopting WSDS for the first time.
This volume of content represents a serious acknowledgment to the effects of WSDS on information literacy and emphasizes the need for librarians to teach the use of a discovery tool.
Even though WSDS are still in the early stages of development (and according to Vaughan's 2011 report on various discovery services, "Each service is evolving extremely rapidly, with enhancement cycles measured in months, if not weeks"), it is apparent that this library innovation is and will continue to be an incredibly impactful one.
It is also clear that with new information-retrieving technology, patrons' ability to seek and locate information will be affected, and WSDS will continue to play a major part in restructuring library instruction and information literacy programs.