Inmagic Presto Success Story
CTR and Lucidea − Results, Relevance and Reputation
The Center for Transportation Research (CTR) is a multidisciplinary and multimodal research institute at the University of Texas at Austin. CTR administers between 150 and 200 research projects and interagency contracts with combined budgets exceeding $12 million; the CTR library contains all reports published by the Center and their goal is to provide online public access to their significant body of transportation research and resources.
“One of the main reasons we chose Presto was our history with Inmagic and knowing how responsive the team has always been… we knew we could call any time, and that we could really learn how to improve our end users’ experience.”
Modern, feature packed, extensible and innovative web presence
Expands TxDOT’s reputation as a world class transportation research organization
Cost containment while increasing access and impact
Inmagic Presto’s Impact
Enables discovery, enhances learning, supports lifesaving research
Seamless integration (e.g. CTR website, DB/TextWorks, Transportation Research Database)
Web presence significantly expands outreach and access
The Center for Transportation Research (CTR) is a multidisciplinary and multimodal research institute at the University of Texas at Austin. It is recognized as one of the leading university-based transportation research centers in the world, with researchers, faculty members, and students working together to promote cutting-edge developments in transportation science and technology. In a given year, CTR administers between 150 and 200 research projects and interagency contracts with combined budgets exceeding $12 million. The CTR Library contains all reports published by the Center and serves as an official depository of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Research Program. The entire collection contains an additional 17,000+ titles of other transportation-related research from different agencies, for a total collection of more than 30,000 print volumes. Open access full-text links are provided for nearly 50% of the collection.
CTR’s information access imperative
TxDOT is a major CTR funder, and one of their most important strategic goals is to provide online public access to the significant volume of transportation research and resources they produce. TxDOT developed a strategy of showcasing their best-in-class research to the public and to other universities, research units and libraries via the Web. To support that goal, CTR knew they had to offer cutting-edge technology in order to secure the partnership and assure continued funding. The need for sophisticated and powerful online access was the impetus for an upgrade to Presto, resulting in a public catalog that is one of the most advanced in the transportation community. It supports researchers nationally and globally (particularly in Canada, India, and South Korea) with the resources they need as they work to save lives through scientific and technical developments.
Partnership and progress
CTR was a long time DB/TextWorks client, so when they needed to develop a powerful and sophisticated online catalog, Inmagic’s Presto was a clear contender. They very quickly ruled out other options once they saw Presto. CTR staff were impressed by its powerful features and ease-of-use. Not only would they benefit from all the great features of Presto, they could continue leveraging the power of DB/TextWorks and avoid a costly, time consuming database migration. The path was clear and they moved forward. Within four weeks, Ms. Barnes had implemented Presto, even though managing the library’s web presence is just 10% of her multifaceted role. TxDOT leaders take a keen interest in CTR’s Presto project. They were so impressed when they first saw the implementation that they asked the CTR library staff to show it off via a statewide webinar conducted from within the TxDOT office. The reaction from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and Ms. Barnes was able to use their input to make a few modifications and further improve ease of use. TxDOT engineers meet quarterly with CTR to discuss feature updates, and University administration and research staff say that catalog features save them a lot of time. As just one example, faculty members often ask their assistants for updates on their own publications. The “see more by this author” button allows searchers to fulfill that request in one touch.
Discovery by design
CTR’s instance of Presto is designed to encourage exploration and facilitate “serendipity”; it’s built for finding rather than searching. TxDOT and CTR end users now enjoy the many powerful features of Presto that enable discovery—reinforcing the idea that while users come to the catalog for something specific, they may find something even better. There are collections of hot topics on the home page; lists of new research; federated search capability across both local university resources and the national Transportation Research Database; canned google searches which save researchers valuable time; the ability to modify a single search using faceted or keyword filtering, and many other options. Presto functionality allows the collection to be indexed on Google, and content can be pushed to researchers via RSS feeds and Twitter updates that auto-populate.
Measurement, Meaning and Modifications
There is significant traffic to the catalog, with an average of 1,500 visits per month, 800-900 of which are unique with the rest coming from repeat visitors, and a monthly average of 7,000 page views. CTR uses Google analytics to measure activity and produces monthly reports for CTR and TxDOT leadership. In addition, they collect data through a unique spin on Presto functionality: if users register via the Presto interface, they can set up email alerts for when new publications come in, or subscribe to RSS feeds that will help them stay on top of research in their particular area. Registered users can also comment on publications because CTR leverages the social tools available with Presto. The registration information collected is used for additional reporting (though never for marketing) – helping to track numbers of new users, to identify what users look for most, to expose knowledge gaps, and generally help make the catalog more customer driven. With Presto’s flexibility and powerful functionality coupled with their innovative user-centered approach, there’s no limit to the ways CTR can further the field of transportation science and technology.