Curated Collections for First- and Second-Year Students: Bringing Virtual Browsing to the Discovery Experience

Author ORCID Identifier

Lauren Puzier:

Rebecca Nous:

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Studies have found that chance information encounters while browsing help spark student research interests and curiosity (Foster & Ford, 2003; Nutefall & Ryder, 2010). Supporting browsable collections is important for engaging students in the research and knowledge-creation process (Cook, 2018). Unfortunately, there are several barriers in academic libraries that can stifle this organic browsing experience. Moving physical collections to offsite storage, reduced library hours due to staffing issues or closures related to the pandemic, the transition to online resources, and the traditional function and search capabilities of library online catalogs can obstruct this type of exploratory research. And while rows of tightly packed spine labels for related titles in the stacks create an efficient subject-area browsing experience, the way the library is organized is not conducive to creating a visually appealing browsing experience or to discovering genre-related materials that may be classified differently.

In an effort to stimulate intellectual curiosity and support early college students through the research process, the University at Albany Libraries has incorporated browsable, visually appealing, subject-based collections called Curated Collections into its discovery tool, Primo VE. These collections consist of resources on trending topics and current events, supportive resources for those new to college research and writing, and bespoke collections of genres that may not exist together physically in the stacks or be easily identifiable in the library catalog, such as graphic novels and popular fiction.


This peer-reviewed book chapter is made openly available:

Nous, R. A., & Puzier, L. M. (2023). Curating collections for first and second-year students: Bringing virtual browsing to the discovery experience. In C. Tysick & T. Walsh (Eds.), Intellectual curiosity and the role of libraries: The first and second year college student experience. SUNY Create Pressbooks., archived at



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