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.

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.

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.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

We take interlibrary loan (ILL) requests very seriously.  If an ILL request for a book comes in that’s within set collection parameters, instead of borrowing that book for you, we buy it (very, very quickly) and add it to our collection.  In the same way, if we notice that 150 requests have come in for a journal, like Journal of Youth & Adolescence, we start a subscription.  So, beginning in January 2008, the library will license access to content from 1997 to present for Journal of Youth & Adolescence.   We are also starting a 2008 print subscription (it’s not yet available electronically) for Journal of College Counseling.   Judging from the many ILL requests both these titles have generated, these new subscriptions will be money well spent.

October 23, 2007. Subscriptions. Leave a comment.