Journal of the Month>Aphra

I would have never heard of Aphra except that we had a near shelving crisis in the A’s.  Too many journals; too few shelves.   Our small 3-volume run of Aphra: the Feminist Literary Magazine landed on the shelves of my office.  As I debated the precarious future of our small run of Aphra, I noted that when it was published, in the 1970s, a library could subscribe to Aphra for a mere $5.50 per year.

Why is Aphra so important? According to the Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature’s article on Women’s Magazines:

From 1969 to 1976 the high standards of Aphra, named for the 17th-century playwright and novelist Aphra Behn and edited by dramatist and novelist Elizabeth Fisher, suited the first feminist literary journal. The makeup served an audience eager for creative writing as well as critical articles on the arts and society. Among the contributors were the playwright Myrna Lamb, author of the satiric Mod Donna (1970) and Apple Pie (1976); the novelists Marge Piercy and Rita Mae Brown; the theorist Kate Millet; and the poets Andre Lorde and Adrienne Rich.  The magazine serialized the playwright Dacia Maraini’s Manifesto from 1972 to 1973 and, in summer 1974, Daphe Patai’s essay “Utopia for Whom?”

Murphy Library holds v.3(1971)-v.5(1974), v.6:no.3-4(1976) of this important feminist title.  To learn more about feminist literature, the Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature is available in the reference section at PN471 .W455 2004


April 27, 2011. Journal of the Month, News. 1 comment.

Dear EBSCOhost

Dear EBSCOhost:

For the past four years, our campus has used Ex Libris’ SFX as our link resolver. We also license many, many EBSCOhost databases (our students love your interface!) so having EBSCOhost integrate well with SFX is a huge priority for us. Unfortunately, EBSCOhost’s holdings format does not work well with SFX and the openURL format.

Here’s an example that a student let me know about just last week:

Author: Lintner,, Timothy
Article Title: The Savage and the Slave: Critical Race Theory, Racial Stereotyping, and the Teaching of American History
Journal: Journal of Social Studies Research
Volume: 28
Issue: 1
Year: 2004
Pages: 27-32
ISSN: 0885-985X
OpenURL: of Social Studies Research&volume=28&issue=1&date=20040301&atitle=The Savage and the Slave: Critical Race Theory, Racial Stereotyping, and the Teaching of American History&aulast=Lintner, Timothy&spage=27&pages=27-32&sid=EBSCO:ERIC&pid=

The holdings available in SFX for this title are: $obj->parsedDate(“>=”,2004,undef,undef) (which translates to: available from 2004). This format (year only) would be great if all your publisher agreements started in January of each year, but that’s not the reality. The actual holdings for the EBSCOhost full text for the title above are: 09/01/2004 to present. So, anytime one of our users wants an article from v.28, no.1 (March 2004) they are going to be extremely frustrated. I manually edited the holdings for this title (so if you try the openURL above the holdings look perfect) and all titles that students encounter problems with, but there are thousands of titles and I simply do not have the time to edit each and every one of them.

I don’t understand why you can’t send metadata to Ex Libris  that includes volume, issue, and year for your journal holdings. I’m posting this message to my blog in the hopes that other librarians are wondering the same thing.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate a resolution.

Sincerely yours,

Jen Holman

December 15, 2009. Tags: , , . News, Subscriptions. Leave a comment.

GetTeXt Menu Updates

Our GetText menu targets (the links to the full text, library catalog, etc.) are incredibly confusing.  In talking with one of our insightful student workers at the reference desk today about this confusion, I realized that if I split our z39.50 library catalog target in two (one for ISBN look-up and one for ISSN look-up), I could simplify the language used to describe the target.

So, this message that once had to serve for both books and journals:

old target

gets split into a message for journals (still a confusing message as the z39.50 search is linking at an ISSN level and isn’t checking whether we actually have holdings or not, but moving in the right direction):

new journal note

The journal target will also always display with the ILLiad link as many times the journal article requested will either be prior or after our actual holdings.

and a new target for books:

Next on my list…manipulating Wiley journal use statistics.

December 1, 2009. News. Leave a comment.

What is Popular?

I had an anonymous chat with a user over the summer.  S/he was asking about what “fun” magazines we had in the library.  I was quickly scrambling to think about “leisure” magazines that we have (we categorize them only as “general”).  I rattled off Guitar Player, Glamour, Elle, Rolling Stone and then it hit me – what makes these titles fun or even popular?

For the past ten years I’ve been so busy managing access to scholarly journals that I haven’t given our “fun” titles a second glance.  When the person chatting with me asked about what alternative press titles we had I knew I was in trouble.  We have some titles – like Ms. and Viet Tide, but there are many areas, such as GLBT, in which we are greatly lacking.  I also realized that we don’t have an easy way to display our popular titles.

And there it was: a new project!

So, I’m reviewing our “general” titles (many of which are indeed general, but don’t seem either popular or fun) and adding in some core titles in a number of areas.  I’ll also be working on a way to display these titles electronically via our library web site.

If you have suggestions for magazine titles to add (or cancel!), please let me know.

October 22, 2009. News, Subscriptions, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A day in the Life of a Periodicals Librarian

Ever wonder just what it is that librarians do all day? Are we secretly curled up in a sunny window reading with our cats? Read about the real daily lives of all sorts of librarians at Library Day in the Life. And below, I give you my Tuesday.

Pre-work: 5:30: alarm goes off. Get the coffee started and eat breakfast. Give cat her spoonful of tuna, drop tuna on the floor on way to her bowl. Cat does not seem to mind. Get son up at 6:15; Realize that daughter is still sleeping at 6:45, wake her up. Leave house at 7:30 and drop daughter off at surround care.

8:00: Arrive at office, check email, get tea, check my calendar.

8:15: Update embedded librarian documents on course management system for new CST110 sections.

8:40: Send out Access query for determining how many standing order volumes we added in a given year so Tech Services Librarian can complete ALS statistics. Start work on figuring out query for our current journals, regardless of format.

9:00: Work on revising our library services web page. I am attempting to organize library services into categories. This task seems like it should be much simpler than it is. Sent out a draft page to web team members. Also ask for feedback on the new RSS feed display.

9:30: Answered staff questions about a Sage survey, signed timecards, and talked about how we fill checklists (each time a journal gets canceled, added, ceases, etc. lots of changes occur in the OPAC, link resolver, shelves, etc. We manage the changes through checklists).

10:00: Preparation for 10:30-1 reference shift. Tea re-filled, scone from our library coffee shop purchased and consumed, ran over to mail room, signed another time card.

10:30 – 1:00: Reference Shift – Typical questions for first week of the semester: Where is the restroom, where is the paper cutter, the printer is jammed, where is the computer lab?

1:15: Quick lunch

1:30: Created a database from ILL requests made from July –December 2008 by our Health Professions folks. We want to actively manage these requests so that we can order new subscriptions if need be. Results are not what I expected: 316 unique journal titles requested. Top two journal titles each had a mere 10 requests. We already have subscriptions for both titles, but requests were for outlying issues.

2:30: Was planning on working on instruction material for upcoming CST110 classes, but got an urgent email about a title not linking properly in SFX. I spent 40 minutes troubleshooting the problem, fixing it, and reporting it to Ex Libris.

3:10- running Xenu in background to make sure broken links reported last semester are fixed.

3:10-decided to run Xenu against all inks on library web site. Lots of broken links. Fixed about half of them.

4:00: heading home.

January 28, 2009. Tags: . News. Leave a comment.

Where Have all the Newspapers Gone?

Newspaper publishers are struggling to make a profit as news gets disseminated via the internet, hand-held devices, and television 24/7. Last spring, we were notified that our subscription to Madison’s Capital Times would be refunded, as the newspaper would cease to be printed. In May, we learned that our newspaper delivery guy would be unable to continue delivering our newspapers.  While many newspapers offer mail delivery, what good is Monday’s news on Wednesday? In consultation with our library staff, we decided to drop subscriptions to the following newspapers as we were unable to provide access to them on their publication date:

Chicago Tribune (most recent 4 days available at PressDisplay | 30 day archive at publisher’s web site)
St. Paul Pioneer Press (free content at publisher’s web site)
Star Tribune (most recent 60 days available at PressDisplay)
USA Today (most recent 60 days available at PressDisplay)
Wisconsin State Journal (free content at publisher’s web site)

While the printed newspaper will no longer be available for the above titles, access to the current content of these newspapers will be enhanced through our new license to PressDisplay which provides electronic access to over 700 newspapers from 76 countries in 38 languages in full-color and full-page format. Users can browse articles and other key content, such as pictures, advertisements, and classifieds.

Some newspaper subscriptions were already mail delivery and will continue:

Christian Science Monitor
Coulee News
Green Bay Press Gazette
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Onalaska Community Life
India Abroad
Indian Country Today
Washington Post (PressDisplay)

And three newspapers will continue to be delivered in print on a daily basis:

La Crosse Tribune
New York Times
Wall Street Journal

If I hear a great outcry (I’m hearing a low, steady outcry asking for a subscription to Wisconsin State Journal so stay tuned) we will gladly reconsider these decisions.

September 16, 2008. News. Leave a comment.

Small Summer Projects: SFX Menu Tweaks & Zotero

The last few weeks have been full of little stuff; small things that we (in the periodicals dept) are working on to improve access to periodicals.

GetTeXt, Find It, or Get It?
Librarians named our SFX button/linking service “GetTeXt” quite awhile ago. The sad truth is, however (and anyone running a link resolver will understand this), that many times no full text is actually available. Many times interlibrary loan requests must be made. Or perhaps trips down a flight of stairs to the bound periodicals stacks. Inconveniences for sure. So, due consideration is being made to the possibility of changing the name of this service to “Find It” or “Get It” or maybe “Get It Occasionally”.

Marketing Journal Subscriptions
Marketing our Local Subscriptions
Twenty years ago Murphy Library subscribed to around 1600 journals and all were available only in print. As we prepare for another round of subscription renewals and possible cancellations, I noted today that we now subscribe to under 800 individual journals subscriptions. Our large package deals with Elsevier and Sage add thousands more titles, but the tide has definitely turned. Because all the full text content from aggregator databases (like Academic Search Premier) can sometimes obfuscate our individual subscriptions, I decided we should somehow highlight these or our users would never think to select one from a crowded GetTeXt menu. So, by adding a little extra text and an icon, our individual subscriptions now are listed first in our GetTeXt menu and will hopefully grab some much-deserved attention.

Locating Print/Microform Titles
Map & Find FeatureAnother annoyance fixed was better labeling for our print/microform periodicals locations in GetTeXt. For example, simply labeling the location as “bound periodicals” does little to actually inform users where they need to go to locate the item. Our resolution was to add a small graphic that links into a new window showing a floor plan. Another very small fix that we hope will make locating our titles much easier.

I just ran into a great tutorial on how to use Zotero from Jacob Glenn over at the University of Michigan. I’ve had Zotero loaded for months, but haven’t gotten very far with it until I cruised through this tutorial. Thanks Jacob! I was really impressed with Zotero’s citation quality and I plan to teach students about Zotero next fall. If you haven’t downloaded Zotero yet, now is a great time to check out this fabulous citation manager. Oh, and it’s free!

May 30, 2008. News, Subscriptions. Leave a comment.

Taking it to the Street > the Library is Everywhere

Our UW-L LibX library toolbar is live! If you haven’t heard of LibX, it’s this amazing grant-funded, open-source project from Annette Bailey (digital assets librarian) and Godmar Back (assistant professor in CS) of Virginia Tech Tech University. You can find out all the good techie stuff at

Anyone who has done a Google search in the last six months understands why we need a toolbar that will link users from the general internet back to our library systems. Our users are running into licensed library content through Google searches, but having no idea that their library has paid for access. If these users are off-campus, they may not understand why they are being asked to pay for the content. The toolbar enables users to link from Google to our link resolver, enabling users to seamlessly access licensed journal content, or be redirected to our interlibrary loan/document delivery service.

For example, suppose I was running a Google search for information regarding the French middle paleolithic era (which I just happened to run into today).

Google Search

I see that there is a a great looking article from JSTOR that seems to contain just what I’m looking for, so I follow the link only to hit this roadblock:

JSTOR roadblock.

Upsetting! But I’m forgetting the power of the toolbar. I simply click the DOI link for the JSTOR article: and link to our familiar GetTeXt menu.



After following the full text online link from GetTeXt, I am prompted to authenticate through our proxy server, and reach my article.

Any time you find a DOI or an ISSN or ISBN number on a web page, you should notice that they are all hyperlinked. Clicking on any of these will take you to the GetTeXt menu where you should be able to choose from a variety of library services.

What’s your favorite LibX story? If LibX is saving you time, please leave a comment.

January 25, 2008. News. Leave a comment.

More Questions Than Answers: Archiving Journals

In the bad old days (oh the simple joys of the 1980s!) librarians purchased individual journal issues. After a bunch of issues accumulated, we bound the issues into a colorful volume and placed it on a shelf. And thus was journal archiving. Only theft, fire, or rain could possibly interfere with this simple process.

But the Oughts have brought us new questions about archiving journals. We no longer receive printed journal issues for most titles. Should we care about archiving? Should librarians figure out a way to safely store digital information? Publishers haven’t wasted much time figuring out that they can charge libraries content that already been paid for at least once, but we all know that libraries cannot continue to make these hefty payments.

I just read about Journal of Cell Science, whose publisher has digitized and made available for free its entire 155 volume run. Should I keep the brief holdings that my library has retained (1967-1980)? Should I send the volumes to Madison? Should every state have a complete print run of Journal of Cell Science? How do we determine which libraries preserve which titles?

I worry that all librarians have as many questions about journal archiving as I do and that the questions are not getting answered. Is it too late for these questions?


January 9, 2008. journal archiving, News. Leave a comment.

JSTOR and Science: Together Again

I tend to run a little on the cynical side, so when Science pulled out of their ten year relationship with JSTOR last summer, I snickered (really – I did.) and thought that it was the beginning of the end, that no publisher should ever be trusted, ad nauseum. Well, internet, I was wrong.

One of the first email messages I read this new year detailed the new agreement between JSTOR and AAAS. Well, there were actually no details (that sort of financial stuff is simply not discussed in public), but the gist of the matter is that Science is NOT leaving JSTOR.

While I am still cynical about the rather precarious relationship between publishers and librarians, Ithink this agreement is a step in the right direction and feel very pleased that AAAS listened when librarians complained about them leaving JSTOR.

Happy New Year!

January 7, 2008. News. Leave a comment.

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