Primo Central – Oxford's Experience

Many of us working on the library systems side already know about Primo Central index. For those who don’t, here is an excerpt from Ex Libris’s official site.

The Primo Central index is a mega-aggregation of hundreds of millions of scholarly e-resources of global and regional importance. These include journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators, and from open-access repositories. Ex Libris works with the world’s leading providers of global and regional information to benefit its customer community. The Primo Central index fully exploits the richness of the underlying data to facilitate fast and easy search.

Oxford went live with Primo Central in September 2010. We made Primo Central index part of our resource discovery platform SOLO based on Ex Libris’s Primo, and introduced it as a new tab called Journal Articles (beta) [Now called Articles & More]. We tagged it as beta, because we still believe that there are areas where Primo Central is not as comprehensive as it could be, e.g. Law resources. We also provided a brief description of the limitations and the advantages of Primo Central on SOLO’s home page so that people don’t think of it as comprehensive and the only place to look for resources. So far, we have received really good feedback from our users, excerpts of which follow:

This evening a reader successfully found the article he was looking for with just a couple of words in the title, rough year of publication and journal title. He (and me) were delighted.


the beta version of the solo journal search is truly great!


Solo Journal Articles (beta) – good stuff: User-friendly, and it’s made clear that this is not an exhaustive search of all subscribed databases.


I think Primo central is very promising. I started showing it to students and staff, mostly because I have observed that this years new students – grads and undergrads – tend to use SOLO.


Primo Central will often get good results even if you do a fairly rubbishy search, and compares well with google scholar. For Law researchers, I just give the usual advice that it’s not going to pick up westlaw articles etc, and that it won’t be comprehensive…

In my opinion, Primo Central as a resource is very valuable and promising. With more and more publishers providing their metadata to Ex Libris for addition to Primo Central, things are moving in the right direction. Please do share your experience if you subscribe to Primo Central or any other mega-aggregated index tool, such as Serial Solutions Summon, Encore Synergy, EBSCO Discovery Service, etc.

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