Posted on March 28th, 2013 by Paul Stainthorp
The electronic journals A-to-Z has been updated this week, with new links for more than 970 journal titles on the websites of their respective publishers.
These e-journals used to be accessible through the SwetsWise platform. This platform has now been switched off, and the University of Lincoln no longer has access to e-journals via SwetsWise.
Instead, the same e-journals can now be accessed on familiar “native” publisher platforms such as:
…plus a host of smaller, single-title publishers’ websites.
We know that SwetsWise has been a familiar platform for e-journals that some people will miss(!) – and while it does/did provide some consistency of access to journals across multiple publishers, there are a number of advantages to moving toward using the native publisher link for all titles, including:
- Reduced platform costs for the Library;
- Improved E-Resources Management (ERM) procedures for keeping e-journals up to date;
- A better idea of exactly which titles we have access to from which publishers;
- Academic staff tend to value the “native” publisher platform over aggregator platforms like SwetsWise;
- Publisher platforms provide access to valued Early Publication content and extra features.
Inevitably with such a large change to so many e-journals at once, there will be the odd problem title which comes to light. If you spot any errors, inconsistencies, or problems with accessing e-journal content at the University of Lincoln, please report it.
Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
We are about to start work on re-building the e-journals A-to-Z website at the University of Lincoln.
As part of the Find it at Lincoln project, we are re-populating the A-to-Z with the most up-to-date information about our electronic journal holdings, and making sure that the Library has better processes for keeping it up to date in future.
This process will involve ‘wiping the slate clean’ before quickly repopulating the A-to-Z with as much accurate information about the University’s full-text journal holdings as possible.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused while this website re-building work is going on.
Access to e-journals and databases via the Portal e-Library page will be unaffected.
Please contact the Library if you have any questions or are unable to access the e-journal you need while this work is going on.
Posted on June 25th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
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)
Posted on May 3rd, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
I’m in London today for a meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the JISC KnowledgeBase+ (KB+) project.
KB+ is an ambitious project to create a “shared service knowledge base for UK academic libraries to support the management of e-resources by the UK academic community“. Project leader Liam Earney blogged recently about what KB+ ought to look like on ‘day one’ (1 September 2012). It’s quite an impressive list of features. The KB+ blog is at: knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com
I’m particularly interested in the project because of the overlap with our own internal Discovery selection & implementation work, as part of which we’re reviewing our serials acquisitions and ERM procedures, looking for simplification and efficiency/automation wherever possible. Liam’s blog post on the possible future impact of KB+ is worth a read here. Sample quote:
“The benefits of focusing on the data is that the Knowledge Base+ service will ‘add value’ to a whole range of other local databases, ERMs, link resolvers and knowlegebases[…]“
I’ve written in the past about the difficulties we have at Lincoln—difficulties which appear to be shared by most academic libraries—in reconciling data provided by publishers/e-journal platform providers with what exists in commercial knowledgebase software (such as Lincoln’s current EBSCO A-to-Z service), and with what we think we should be entitled based on our subscription agreement! So many journal subscription packages are common to lots of libraries, if not standard across the whole of the UK – it seems obvious to centralise this information.
One of the functions of the TAG is to: ”Provide advice and guidance on the technical architecture, infrastructure, software, standards and tools to be adopted and implemented by the project”
As part of that, I’ve been reading up on the KBART (uksg.org/kbart) – Knowledge Bases And Related Tools guidelines, which provide a useful framework for understanding how ERM data should propagate through library systems. Key quote: with ”small adjustments to the format of their title lists, content providers can greatly increase the accessibility of their products”. This is certainly true. We waste a lot of time formatting and re-formatting publisher data to make it fit our knowledgebase.
Posted on January 31st, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
Here’s what the (small but perfectly formed*) Library e-resources team are concentrating on in this first quarter of 2012:
- Usage data, statistics reporting and JUSP;
- The Knowledge Base+ (KB+) project;
- Working with the Acquisitions team on improving our ERM processes beginning-to-end;
- Improving our systems for monitoring and reporting on problems with access to e-resources;
- The three big Library ICT systems projects:  Discovery,  Authentication,  Reading list management;
- Blogging about what we do more frequently.
*Consisting of Elif for ~⅗ of the week, me—when I’m not engaged with Orbital, CLOCK, or the Repository—plus bits of the Acquisitions team.
Posted on January 31st, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
……aaand just as an adjunct to my last blog post, it’s worth mentioning that I’m currently serving [time] on the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) for the JISC Knowledge Base+ (KB+) project. We had our first meeting on 19 December 2011 at HEFCE’s offices in central London.
Over the course of 2011-2012 HEFCE will be investing £600,000 in the creation of a shared service knowledge base for UK academic libraries to support the management of e-resources by the UK academic community.
This is my idea of a worthy cause—e-journal knowledgebase problems being a particular favourite of mine—and I’m pleased HEFCE and JISC Collections have decided it’s worth investing in a serious and robust attempt to share information between universities and to build better systems for managing e-resources. I’m happy to be involved.
Worth reading = KB+: What’s in it for libraries?
- Improved Data and Tools
- Enhanced JISC Services
- Improving ERM systems
- Shared Community Activity
Posted on November 17th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
I’ve had a useful meeting with my new boss to agree my priorities for the next 12 months of development work in the Library. Here are my top 4, in order of importance.
- Discovery selection & implementation;
- JISC Orbital project (0.3FTE) – based mainly in CERD until March 2013;
- Possible JISC-funded Jerome follow-on work;
- Development of the Lincoln Repository – working closely with the Library Institutional Repository Officer (BJ), the Research & Enterprise Office + the subject librarians on the following areas:
- Metadata workflow and service development
- Building a “Research Showcase”
- CRIS-like development, bibliometrics, and supporting the REF
- Developing staff profiles on the University’s website
- Helpdesk integration (…possibly)
The following are projects—part of the current Library I.T. strategy—that I’ll contribute to but probably won’t lead, and/or work that’s going on in the background that I need to stay abreast of:
- Reading list development (project);
- Authentication (project);
- Participation in various JISC working groups as well as UKCoRR and LISN;
- Working with the Acquisitions team on new team rôles/areas of work;
- Monitoring and guiding e-resource management (ERM), authentication, and responding to user problems (this area of work will be looked after day-to-day by the Library (E-resources) Assistant (EV), supported by other staff, as part of the cover for my JISC project work);
- Supporting the subject librarian for technology in a review of the Library’s presence on the University Portal;
- Supporting the subject librarians in promoting and supporting the use of RefWorks 2.0;
- Supporting the HELS in administering copyright/digitisation services and the use of Blackboard.
- Initiating a new CALM user group.
- Co-ordinating LIG (the Library Innovation Group).
- Participating in the work of LNCD.
G’won then: what have I forgotten about?
Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
Summon™ is a ‘web-scale’ unified discovery service produced by Serials Solutions (who are themselves a part of ProQuest). Summon is entirely based on a pre-harvested, unified, hosted, centralised metadata index augmented with records from local collections (library catalogue, repository) – there’s no reliance at all on z39.50/metasearch to pull in results from remote databases. Think “Google for libraries with your stuff” …apparently
Serials Solutions, as a company, began by providing e-journals management/knowledgebase and A-Z listings services. Their central KnowledgeWorks hosted/SaaS e-journal knowledgebase (and—I think—the separate Summon knowledgebase as well) are maintained by 26 librarians. They offer other services around Summon including 360 Core/360 Resource Manager (ERM) and 360 Link (OpenURL link resolver). […I think. Frankly, I'm confused by all these seemingly-overlapping '360' products!]
Information about Summon is available at:
Notes from demo/particular features of Summon:
- No login needed for Summon – discovery takes place in public (then as users to authenticate at the point of ‘delivery’, e.g. to access full text via link resolver). This also means that ‘my list’-type functions only last for the current session; there’s no way of logging in and saving a list.
- Print holdings availability is scraped live from the catalogue: Dave Pattern has developed code to do this on HiP without breaking it!
- Serials Solutions are keen to point to studies like this one as showing how next-generation/web-scale library discover can close the ‘value gap’ between what libraries spend on resources, and the value their users ascribe to them. Huddersfield measured up to a 600% increase in e-resource usage after implementing Summon.
- Summon has its own analytics module—not COUNTER stats, but complementary to COUNTER—which allows breakdown of usage by IP address, etc.
- “Client centre” administration tools allow configuration of ERM/knowledgebase, link resolver, proxies, etc., as well as customisation of the Summon user front-end (changing text labels, etc.) – N.B. options for customising the front end are fairly limited at the moment, although SS have a rapid, iterative approach to development, so are adding features all the time – they take their cue from requests and problems raised on the customer mailing list.
- Summon full-text indexes digitsed books via the Hathi Trust – this can be an aid to discovery of a library’s print holdings of a book, even if they don’t have access to the e-version.
- Facets for print holdings (location, etc.); collections/content type; subject terms (including specialised subject terms such as MeSH); date limiter.
- Relevancy ranking (using a standard, one-size-fits-all, proprietary SS algorithm); also sort by date; limit to full text only / peer-reviewed & scholarly items only.
- ‘Known-item’ search may be a problem, just as it is for many next-gen discovery tools. Huddersfield have got around this by using the key-resource “Recommendation” service in Summon—which suggests subject databases (“specialized collections”) in response to certain search keywords—and by creating bare-bones MARC records for otherwise hard-to-find resources. (Stainthorp’s third rule: nothing that results in more MARC can be healthy in the long run…)
- There’s a developer toolkit including an API Documentation Centre, which some places (e.g. Royal Holloway, below) have begun to use.
There are apparently 44 Summon sites in the UK and Ireland, including:
Posted on June 23rd, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
I’ve removed a number of e-journal ‘vendor’ packages from the e-journals A-to-Z.
The titles within them are all listed under/provided by another e-journal package (usually SwetsWise FullText Titles), so we haven’t lost access to any e-journal content.
The ‘pruned’ packages are:
- Atypon Link Journals
- JSTOR Current Collection
- Pier Professional
- SpringerLINK Journals
This is part of the work we’re doing to simplify our Electronic Resources Management (ERM) procedures.