Seeking Details About Mystery Discovery Layer Company

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There is a message floating around the net with a link to a survey about "a completely new online resource discovery service." There is no identifying information information on the survey; obviously the entity that commissioned it wants to remain private. I, however, want to know who this organization is. (I have some questions to ask.) Think of it as a game -- a treasure hunt of sorts. Speculations welcome, either publicly in the comments or privately.

The message going around says:

Subject: REMINDER: Take a library survey – you may earn a $100 Amazon voucher

If you haven't already done so, please participate in our 15-minute web survey and be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift certificates.

We'd like your feedback on the potential value of a completely new online resource discovery service for libraries. All you need to do is click on the link and answer our brief survey.

Winners will receive their $100 Amazon gift certificate via email by midnight September 30th 2008.

Thanks for participating!

On-Line Communications
401 S Dewey, Suite 500
Bartlesville, OK 74003

The survey itself contains a description of the entity conducting the survey and a sample screenshot of the new discovery layer being tested:

[caption id="attachment_505" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Screenshot from the Survey's Prototype Discovery Tool"]Screenshot from the Survey's Prototype Discovery Tool[/caption]


This new discovery service is offered by a major vendor that has been exclusively serving libraries for a matter of decades. This vendor has:

  • Extensive expertise in large-scale hosted search
  • Experience in the quality treatment of scholarly content and its metadata
  • Market recognition for consistently designing interfaces with users in mind
  • Excellent, long-term relationships with thousands of publishers
  • Deep knowledge of library e-resources
  • Trusted, longstanding reputation for superior customer service


The exact annual subscription rate for this discovery service would depend primarily on your enrollment/FTE.

These costs are still being developed, but an initial estimate for institutions like yours is $xxx per year, plus a one-time installation fee of $xxx.

The vendor believes that the subscription cost would be offset by savings from no longer needing to have a federated search product nor any hardware or maintenance associated with it.

The e-mail was sent out through what looks like a standard commercial bulk emailer (like the kind that send out corporate newsletters and advertisements). The domain is registered to an entity called Action Market Research, so that isn't much help. Thoughts about who is sponsoring this survey?