As an offshoot of our discovery (Find it at Lincoln), authentication, and library website projects, we’re trying to impose a little bit more order on the various lists of electronic resources we present to users – aiming at a single version of the truth.
For historical reasons, users can browse several different lists of e-resources at Lincoln:
- The ‘e-Library‘ page on the University Portal
- A list of packages on the e-journals A-to-Z
- Resources available through the MyAthens portal
- Other (minor) authentication systems, each listing its own subset of resources
Frustratingly for our users (and for slightly obsessive-compulsive librarians like myself), no one of these lists exactly corresponds with any other. Each one includes a slightly different set of resources. For example, looking at a Venn diagram of resources listed on two platforms only – the e-Library and electronic journals A-to-Z:
- The e-Library contains 163 distinct resources (usually referred to as “databases”). 106* of them also appear on the e-journals A-to-Z: but there are 57, mostly non-bibliographic, resources on the e-Library which aren’t on the A-to-Z. I kind of expected this.
- Conversely, the A-to-Z contains 162 packages (including a number of titles which don’t form part of a package). 112* of these are reflected on the e-Library, but there are 50 A-to-Z packages which aren’t on the Portal. This was less expected, and is more worrying!
- The name given to a resource on one platform doesn’t necessarily correspond to the name given to the same resource on the other platform.
- We use a Google Spreadsheet to [try and] keep tabs on this mess.
- *The reason why only 106 resources on the e-Library correspond to 112 packages on the A-to-Z is that one “database” can be represented by a number of packages. For example: the Portal lists “JSTOR” as a single resource, whereas the A-to-Z lists three separate packages: JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, …Arts & Sciences II, and …III.
Drop in the other two platforms which list e-resources, and the Venn diagram will look something more like this:
Rationalising these various lists has to be a way toward better e-resources management, and we need to get to a stage where we present only one version of the truth at our users. As part of the ‘Find it at Lincoln‘ project, we’ll be re-populating the A-to-Z knowledgebase from scratch, reviewing our acquisitions/ERM procedures along the way. And for our new website, we’re looking for better ways of presenting lists of resources than the current e-Library page on the Portal.
Side note: it’s possible to use the MS Excel =Match function to compare two lists of resource names that nearly, but don’t exactly, correspond. Formula is:
- =MATCH(“*”&LEFT(<value in native list>,12)&”*”,<foreign list array>,0)