The Open SESMO (Search Engine & Social Media Optimization) Project: Linked and Structured Data for Library Subscription Databases to Enable Web-scale Discovery in Search Engines
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Today's learners operate in digital environments which can be largely navigated with no human intervention. At the same time, libraries spend millions and millions of dollars to provide access to content which our users may never know is available to them. Through the Open SESMO (Search Engine & Social Media Optimization) database project, Montana State University (MSU) Library applied search engine optimization and structured data with the Schema.org vocabulary, linked data models and practices, and social media optimization techniques to all the library's subscribed databases. Our research shows that Open SESMO creates significant return-on-investment with substantial increased traffic to our paid resources by our users as evidenced through analytics and metrics. In the core research of the article, we take a quantitative look at the pre/post results to assess the Open SESMO method and its impact on organic search referrals and use of the collection analyzing data from three distinct fall semesters. Returns include demonstrated library value through database recommendations, connecting researchers to subject librarians, and increased visitation to our library's paid databases with growth in organic search referrals, impressions, and click-through rates. This project offers a standard and innovative practice for other libraries to employ in surfacing their paid databases to users through the open web by applying structured and linked data methods.
Jason A. Clark & Doralyn Rossmann (2017) The Open SESMO (Search Engine & Social Media Optimization) Project: Linked and Structured Data for Library Subscription Databases to Enable Web-scale Discovery in Search Engines, Journal of Web Librarianship, 11:3-4, 172-193, DOI: 10.1080/19322909.2017.1378148