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EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) Best Practices Guide - Branding


Administrators can customize the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) experience for their users by branding their profile in a number of ways.

The primary goal of customization should be to make your users feel as though they’ve never left your institution’s web site, while offering a search experience that incorporates all of your available resources in one powerful interface.

This can be accomplished using several methods. For example, you can replace the EDS logo with your own. You can also easily customize the colors of your EDS interface to match the colors of your institution’s web site.

What are the advantages of customization and branding?

EBSCO Discovery Service customization and branding options allow you to enhance the search experience for your users by adding convenience and useful functionality to the EDS interface. It also allows you to seamlessly integrate your EDS subscription into your online library resources.

For step-by-step instructions on how to customize EDS with your institutional logo and colors, consult the “Branding” section of the EBSCO Discovery Service Customization Admin User Guide.

For related guides visit the EDS Support page

In this Best Practices guide, we look at:


Adding Logos and Custom Colors

Add your own logo and customize the EDS interface colors to identify the interface to your users as part of your institution’s resources. With EBSCOadmin, it is easy to add your logo and display it to the left, above, or below the Find field.

Whether simply replacing the EDS logo with your own, or displaying a branding banner across the top of the basic search page, this helps you take ownership of your EDS account.

EBSCOadmin also features an easy-to-use color selection tool, to aid you in matching your institution’s colors for inclusion on your EDS site. Using this tool, you can personalize the colors of each part of the interface, including the top toolbar.

Personalizing EDS with your institutional colors and logos creates a seamless experience for users as they migrate from the library home page to EDS and back again.

The following are examples of how some current EBSCO Discovery Service customers have branded EDS with their institutional logos and colors:

Georgia Southern University – Statesboro, Georgia
To create a seamless user experience, Georgia Southern University created a logo that incorporates the institution’s name as well as its unique name for EDS. The “Discover@GeorgiaSouthern” logo is positioned above the Find field. The institution’s colors are blue and white; therefore, the library chose a matching shade of blue for the toolbar at the top of the screen.

Branding Example

Indiana University – Kokomo, Indiana
Angie Thorpe, Digital User Experience Librarian at Indiana University Kokomo, designed a creative logo for EDS using Tagxedo, a tool for creating word clouds. Although it does not incorporate the school name, the word cloud logo brands EDS as the first place for users to start their research and has become instantly recognizable by students and faculty alike.

Branding Example

Okanagan College – British Columbia, Canada
Okanagan College created a red Octopus avatar to represent EDS, which it named “OCtopus.” The “OC” in Octopus stands for Okanagan College. In addition, the institution’s colors are carried throughout.

Branding Example

University of Prince Edward Island – Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
On the University of Prince Edward Island’s search results page, the institution’s logo appears to the left of the Find field. The institutional colors are carried throughout the site.

Branding Example

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Customizing the Toolbar

Link to areas of your library’s web site or other electronic resources by customizing the EDS toolbar at the top of the page. Links can be added, removed, and reordered to fit your needs.

For example, customizing the toolbar allows you to link to:

  • Library hours page
  • Library staff page
  • Ask-A-Librarian page
  • Consortium web site
  • A subject-specific database page (LibGuides)
  • List of all available databases
  • Library catalog search page
  • Publication Finder

In addition to adding your own links to the toolbar, you can customize the labels of the existing EBSCO links (e.g. Preferences, Folder, Sign In, etc.)

The following are examples of how some current EBSCO Discovery Service subscribers have customized the top toolbar to meet their institutional needs:

Milligan College – Milligan College, Tennessee
The Milligan College P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library’s EDS Basic Search screen also features a customized toolbar that incorporates colors from the library’s web site and includes links to the Milligan Library Catalog, Databases, A-to-Z Publications, Ask-A-Librarian chat service, and the Library Website.

Branding Example

University of South Alabama – Mobile, Alabama
The University of South Alabama Library customized the top toolbar of its EDS Basic Search page to include links to its Journal & eBook List, Course Reserves, and Course Guides. The library expanded the toolbar to include the institution’s name, logo, and blue and red colors.

Branding Example

The University of Alabama Libraries
Dubbed “Scout,” the University of Alabama Libraries’ EDS profile features a customized toolbar with links that direct users to browse LibGuides, enable the Ask-A- Librarian chat service, submit feedback about EDS, access their library account, or return to the Libraries home page.

Branding Example

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Creating Search Boxes

Create a simple searching point from your home page that allows users to enter their search terms and click Search. Search boxes may also include limiters to help immediately refine results.

Search boxes can search EDS, your library catalog, institutional repositories, and/or external resources configured with EBSCOhost Integrated Search.

Search Box Builder

EBSCO’s Search Box Builder lets you quickly generate a simple Search Box in HTML code that you can cut and paste into your web site.

For step-by-step instructions on using the Search Box Builder, consult the “Using the Search Box Builder Tool” section of the EBSCO Discovery Service Customization Admin User Guide or see the following FAQ: How do I use the Search Box Builder Tool?

Tabbed Search Boxes

Create tabbed search boxes to give users access to multiple search options. For example, a search box can have tabs for general searches, subject-specific searches, library catalogs, and book searches.

Subject-Specific Search Boxes

Using custom code, you can create a subject-specific search box (see Fig. 6 on page 16) to place on your site. For example, you would like users to be able to automatically find results related to social sciences. This can be accomplished by creating a Social Sciences-specific profile and then linking it to a search box with custom code.

See sample subject-specific search box codes in the following linked FAQs:

The following are examples of how some current EBSCO Discovery Service subscribers have customized their EDS search boxes:

William Woods University – Fulton, Missouri
William Woods University’s Dulany Memorial Library placed a simple search box on its home page featuring the EDS logo and a check box to limit results to full text.

Search Box

University of North Florida – Jacksonville, Florida
The University of North Florida’s simple search box is on the Thomas G. Carpenter Library home page. The Search button has been renamed “OneSearch,” the institution’s moniker for EDS. The bulleted links beneath the Find field feature the osprey mascot.

Search box

University of the Pacific - Stockton, California
University of the Pacific chose to use a tabbed search box on its library home page. The additional tabs provide search fields for PACIFICAT, the library’s catalog, as well as articles & databases, e-journals, special collections, and subject guides.

Search Box

Okanagan College – British Columbia, Canada
The Okanagan College Library’s home page search box ties in the institution’s “OCtopus” branding.

Search Box

Northcentral University – Prescott Valley, Arizona
Northcentral University also chose to use a tabbed search box on the library home page. In addition to featuring its Roadrunner mascot and institution colors, the search box allows users to limit their results by keyword, full text, and scholarly/peer reviewed journals.

Search Box

University of South Alabama – Mobile, Alabama
The Library’s home page features a search box with an “In Library Collection” limiter applied as the default. Limiters that narrow results by full text, peer reviewed articles, or catalog only resources are also available. Users can also search by Keyword, Title, or Author using radio button limiters.

Search Box

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Bottom Branding

Bottom branding can include text, an image, or custom HTML code that displays links to other points of interest to your users.

Mansfield University – Mansfield, Pennsylvania
The North Hall Library at Mansfield University branded the bottom of its EDS Basic Search page to include helpful links to other areas of the library web site. For example, under Research Tools there is a link to the library’s Research Guides which provide subject-specific resources to students and faculty.

Bottom Branding Example

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Guest Access Entry Point

Creating a guest access entry point will allow non-authenticated users to begin searching without logging in. Users can search all materials that belong to the library, including catalog results. If the user finds an article they would like to read, they can log in and access the full text.

A guest access EDS profile can also be used in conjunction with a search box to provide seamless access to all resources from your library’s home page.

EBSCO recommends making guest access the default for your EDS profile. This customization option was enabled by the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library / Geschke Center (screenshot below). From the library home page, guests can search the entire collection, peruse the results list, and see detailed records. Only when a user tries to access full text does EDS prompt them for a user name and password. There is also a link that invites users to login for full access.

Guest Access Example

Note: In order to implement Guest Access, your institution must have a proxy server set up in EBSCOadmin which is associated with your EDS profile.

To enable guest access to your EDS profile, see the following Support FAQ: What is EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) Guest Access and how do I enable it for users? 

Still Need Help?

You can reach EBSCO technical support by calling 800-758-5995 or by emailing For more information on EDS Best Practices, click here.



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