Category Archives: Discovery

Widgets guide usage of eReference/eBooks

I love widgets.  Last week at the Charleston Conference I was on a panel discussing “bridging the google gap.”  I was to discuss ways libraries were bridging that gap through reference services.  Widgets was one of my answers.

Widgets can be embedded on multiple library web pages, course management systems, facebook, teacher/faculty websites, anywhere really!  Caution, my web designer friends always remind me to have one ONE search box on a page, otherwise it gets confusing.

There are many eBook/eReference vendors who provide widgets.  I’ve got links to some of them below.  If you know of others, send them my way and I’ll post.

Credo Reference – Search the entire Credo collection with their widget.  Some libraries have put the search widget on a reference page, as a starting point.  Now that Credo links to other sources through their “resource links” feature, users can start with traditional reference sources and move to journals or other databases of your choosing.   For a look at this feature, check out the  Watne Memorial Library .  You might also be interested in an informal review of the new Credo interface.

Gale/Cengage – GVRL in particular.    I am fond of this widget because you can establish subject collections of sets of titles.  Once you have the collection established, it can be placed in the widget and only those titles searched.  This is a fab idea for subject guides/pathfinders, or for class assignment links.

Encyclopaedia Britannica – see my recent post on these

Reference Universe – RU searches the indexes, TOC, and list of articles of both print and electronic reference titles.  Using your online catalog, they will connect the user to a reference source.  The widget opens up your entire reference collection.  St. Mary’s College of California has a great example of this widget.  Be sure to click on “reference.”

Serials Solutions now includes eBooks

From a marketing email I received from Serials Solutions:

Serials Solutions KnowledgeWorks now includes 800,000 eBooks

With more budget resources being dedicated to the purchase of eBook databases and titles, a new challenge is to help patrons easily find these valuable resources and increase their usage.  <what about the catalog?> sp

Serials Solutions KnowledgeWorks, the authoritative e-resource knowledgebase, now integrates over 800,000 eBook holdings into Serials Solutions 360 e-resource access services to benefit your patrons.

* Help patrons find eBooks in your OPAC using 360 MARC Updates OPAC updating service
* Enable patrons to browse an A-to-Z title list of e-resources include eBooks using 360 Core
* Provide access to eBooks from citations or a citation search form using 360 Link OpenURL link resolver
* Help patrons discover eBooks through 360 Search federated search service

Other vendors are also offering this service, like the Ebsco A to Z list.

We have the Ebsco product at WSU and are electing to not display the ebooks at this time.  Our patrons use our A to Z list to locate electronic journals (which are also in our catalog), so I really don’t like to clutter the product with other formats, particularly since ebooks are a growing collection.  At some point the ebooks will outnumber the journals.

Does anyone know if Serials Solutions categorizes these formats so that they can easily be searched by journal, ebook, or database?  Ebsco A to Z does not currently do that.  If they did, I might consider adding the ebooks since I could default to a journals search on the patron screen, but have the ebooks and databases search available.

This arrived via email a couple hours after the post – thanks Serials Solutions, you guys are on the ball!

Sue –

One of my colleagues sent me a link to your blog post discussing the Serials Solutions eBook functionality, and I wanted to quickly follow-up to explain how our A-Z list works with regard to eBook content.

Currently, all of the library’s content is displayed together in a combined A-Z list for browsing purposes. For searching, however, there are content type selectors that are available, so that your patrons can specify which type of content they are searching for (Journal, eBook, Other, or ALL). It’s also possible to place “mini-search” boxes anywhere on your library website for the A-Z list that are tailored to one or more of the content types – this requires a little bit of programming work, but is relatively straightforward (there is an example on our Support Center forums that I can direct you to if you’d like to see how that works).

Sincerely,
Cliff Gilley
Product Manager – 360 Link/360 Core/E-Journal Portal
Serials Solutions

Reference Extract – the answer to a credible search engine?

OCLC, the University of Washington, and Syracuse University are working together to create a “credible” search engine, one that offers results with preference to sites selected by librarians.

According to the press release, “Reference Extract is envisioned as a Web search experience similar to those provided by the world’s most popular search engines. However, unlike other search engines, Reference Extract will be built for maximum credibility of search results by relying on the expertise of librarians. Users will enter a search term and receive results weighted toward sites most often used by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State Library of Maryland, and over 2,000 other libraries worldwide.”

I think this is a fabulous idea, despite what others might think about potential librarian bias, and hope these groups take this idea a few steps further.  Wouldn’t it be great if publishers, data aggregators, and libraries who maintain scholarly content could populate this engine with data from invisible web sources – like catalogs, databases, eBook platforms.  We could bridge the google gap and offer our patrons a true scholarly search engine.  Information industry vendors could advertise, link resolvers could be inserted based on general IP of the user, and librarians across the world could band together to offer a real time chat service on the engine.  Think of the money this could save us on metasearch tools! I know, dream on.�

Britannica’s Widgets

A really neat feature from Encyclopaedia Britannica – Content Widgets .  I’m a big fan of widgets, particularly ones with nice visuals.  They draw the users attention and can lead them to authoritative reference content.  Here’s the official info from Britannica:

Check Out Britannica’s New Widget Feature!
Britannica Widgets are here, and with them you can instantly post an entire cluster of related Encyclopædia Britannica articles on your blog or Web site. Just follow the instructions and copy and paste the several lines of code associated with each widget as html into the appropriate place on your site. Any readers who click on a link will get the entire Britannica article on the subject, even if access to the article normally requires a subscription.

Widgets are an innovative way to share information on websites and blogs!

Here are a couple of samples (click for larger image):

britannica1.png britannica2.png

The Britannica Newsletter “inside Britannica” states it is a feature of the Britannica Online Academic Edition.  According to Lillian Terry, my Britannica Rep who sent me a nice email yesterday, this feature is also available in the Public and School online editions as well.  Very cool, very cool.

Increase eBook Product Usage, Ideas from GVRL Clients

Gale/Cengage has collected a growing list of 18 ways to increase usage of your ebook resources.  They are listed below.  Or, visit the site for the full story.

How to Increase Product Usage
Here are a few “best practices” as defined by your colleagues. Many of our customers have already discovered and implemented these ideas for increasing usage of electronic resources at their institution.

  • Create a website that has a link to your electronic resources on the Home page.
    Use our JavaScript to integrate a Gale “PowerSearch” box on your Home page.
  • Keep links to databases, eBooks, journals, and magazines no more than 1 “click” away from the Home page.
  • Register for AccessMyLibrary at http://access.gale.com/mylibrary/others/index.html.
  • Create pathfinders for individual databases and have them accessible next to computers.
  • Organize databases by subject and offer remote access.
  • Place links to interesting content directly on your Home page. Gale InfoMarks (or durable URLs) navigate users directly to interesting content or current articles—bypassing the need to find a database or conduct a search.
  • Use journal cover graphics on your Home page to take the user into a periodical database.
  • Load MaRC records with URL’s to databases, eBooks, journals, and magazines
  • Distribute product information material (user guides, search tips, etc) directly to your users.
  • Use electronic databases to support curriculum through class assignments
  • Integrate appropriate content into lesson plans.
  • Market the library to teachers and work with them to create assignments using the product content.
  • Offer library instruction and distribute product information and URL’s for parents or PTA
  • Make library instruction mandatory for incoming students.
  • Do not allow open web resources in bibliographies or works cited pages for assignments.
  • Deploy a federated search engine
  • Implement a journal locator application and linking through OpenURL

Have another suggestion? Would you like to learn more about what the Customer Resource Center can do for you?
Please call 1-800-877-4253 and ask to speak with your Client Relations Specialist today!

eBooks usage revealed, a webinar from Springer

This morning I “attended” the Springer webinar on eBook usage.  It was very informative and obviously focused on Springer content, but it did confirm some of my suspicions about eBook usage.   Here are some highlights:

They use COUNTER, as do most other eBook publishers/aggregators.  COUNTER is incredibly detailed with usage stats….are you using yours to investigate usage and trends?  why not?

2007 – over 25 million eBook chapter downloads, the numbers for 2008 thus far are higher.  I’m seeing this in my eBook usage from various aggregators and publishers.

Handbooks had the highest number of downloads, textbooks were next in line, followed by reference works.  Most of my eBook collection is reference, so that gets the highest use, but I do have a ton of Springer titles, and stats show my users are finding the handbooks and textbooks.

The older eBooks were still used a lot, older defined as 2005 and 2006.

Springer confirmed a couple of things from the ebrary student and faculty eBook surveys:

  • students want more eBooks in their subject areas – yeah, who wouldn’t!
  • faculty prefer electronic material over print

How do you drive usage to your eBooks?  Discoverability is the key.

  • Are you cataloging ALL of your eBook titles with MARC records in the catalog?  The SuperBook Project from the University College of London confirmed that cataloged books get 2 times as much traffic as non-cataloged books.  Makes sense to me.
  • Do you have link resolvers in place to drive users from A & I services to the eBook titles?
  • Are the eBooks you own indexed in google?  According to Springer, 2/3 of their eBook visits came from google – that’s any part of google, not just scholar.  Check with your publishers and aggregators to see if they allow google to index the eBook metadata or fulltext.  And if they do….how are those users getting to the eBook via your library?

eBook usage internationally is big – I’m hearing this from most publishers.  Springer compared eBook usage to eJournal usage.  Internationally, Hong Kong and Munster had approximately 51% journal and 49% eBook usage but U.S. libraries had more of the 80/20 breakdown.

The webinar was hosted by Wouter vander Velde, eProduct Manager, eBooks, Springer

Wouter had a lovely powerpoint with the charts/stats available, but I haven’t heard from him if I can share that on the blog.  If you would like to see it, you could probably email him.

The Evolution of the Reference EBook

At ALA Annual in Anaheim ABC-CLIO hosted focus groups for academic reference librarians to discuss the changing face of electronic reference books and hear what they had to say about what they hoped to see for the future of these products.

Here are the items we discussed and the general feedback we received. We encourage all readers of the No Shelf Required blog to post comments or questions – we want to hear what you have to say too!

Is print reference still viable?
It was generally agreed that print reference is still viable. Whether or not the librarian would purchase the print version depended upon the subject of the title and if their budget prohibited purchasing the electronic version. However, nearly half of the 20 attendees said they are no longer buying print reference at all.

What comes first, the book or the eBook?
As stated above, most answered that they would purchase the eBook and not the print, so the question for them was moot. Others stated that they would be inclined to purchase an eBook version of a title prior to the release of a completed print version if subsquent updates were provided and the final print version would be available within 12 – 24 months.  The original release of the eBook version would have less content than the print, but both versions would be identical by the time of print publication.

Important Features

  • Unlimited simultaneous usage & remote access
  • Export to citation programs
  • NO plug-ins
  • Open to Google and federated searching – access to all eBook platforms through one search engine

Ordering

  • Make ordering easier by offering eBooks via the usual print distributors

Purchase vs. Subscribe
Continue reading The Evolution of the Reference EBook

VERSO – Virtual Electronic Reference Source Organizer

A visual way to search for eBooks in the library collection – VERSO.  From the Quinnipiac University’s Arnold Bernhard Library in Hamden, CT.  Check it out.

For more information on VERSO, read the recent article in Library Journal – “A grassroots response to a surge in e-resources yields a new virtual reference shelf.” By Terry Ballard, 5/15/2008

eBooks – Wouldn’t One Platform Be Nice?

If you’ve ever heard me give a presentation about eBooks, then you’ve probably heard my soap box rant about the plethora of eBook platforms.  I can’t stand it.  I look forward to the day when all of my e-content – reference, monographs, textbooks, whatever – will be on one consistent platform, fully searchable by keyword and every other possible facet.  With ALA Annual coming up in June, I am asking all of you who feel the same to please remind the publishers that we want one platform for our electronic content.  I know I’m not alone here.  I’ve just heard some rumors from a publisher that librarians in Japan asked for the exact same thing – one central platform!

Here’s an excerpt from my Nov. 1, 2008 article in Reference Books Bulletin about eBook platforms:

Make access a priority. The best way to drive business to e-reference is through the online catalog. Make sure all MARC records are in the catalog with persistent links to the e-books. Strive to use as few interfaces as possible. Our comparison chart lists 6 vendors, each with a unique interface and special features; how can we make things simpler? Purchase titles to own, and get the licensing agreement to provide a copy of the e-book in either the HTML, XML, or PDF version.   With this data, libraries can mount all e-book content on 1 platform, like Ebrary, or an open-source product, like XTF. Or purchase from vendors that support multiple publishers in one platform—Gale Virtual Reference Library is a good example. Another good option for access is through Paratext’s Reference Universe, which indexes the table of contents, entries, and thousands of print and electronic titles. It’s a deeper search than the catalog, uses one interface, and has persistent links to the article level of e-books and to the catalog record of print titles. When shopping around, talk to publishers about access, and remind them that fewer interfaces make for simple searching by users and librarians.

Berkshire Publishing’s Bookshop launched

Here’s a new spin on eBook publishing and business models. Berkshire Publishing offers FREE searching/browsing of reference titles before purchase. Libraries and/or end users can subscribe to the content, directly from the site for an annual fee. Example: Pricing for their new title, Global Perspectives of the United States, is $49.00 annually. The print list price is $275.00. If you only wanted to own titles for a couple of years, this might be a more economical way to purchase.

http://www.exacteditions.com/berkshire