E-Reference Ratings from LJ

LJ just released E-Reference Ratings, “an evaluation of nearly 180 subscription based electronic resources in 14 subject categories.”  Of course, many of these are eBook platforms like Britannica, Credo, GVRL, Oxford, and Sage.   There was no category for eBooks, instead you’ll find them listed under the various subject categories.

Products were reviewed by a team of 8 reference experts and included 7 criteria:  scope, writing, design, linking, bells & whistles, ease of use, value.  Resources were given a star rating, 1 to 4 stars to indicate * poor, ** satisfactory, ***good, ****excellent  A brief paragraph also accompanied each resource.

According to LJ, “Because we know that online resources continually grow and evolve—a list of this nature can date quickly—E-Reference Ratings, which made a print debut in the November 15th Reference Announcements issue, will find its permanent home and reach its full potential on our web site. We intend not only to keep up with these ever-changing products (adjusting the ratings as necessary) but also to expand the number of databases in each category and venture into new ones. We hope to hear from all parties—librarians, publishers, and vendors—about how we can keep this tool thriving and make it even more useful.”

Congrats LJ!  This was no small feat.�

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.”

Palgrave, Nature Launch eBook platform

eBook collections and platforms are popping up faster than daisies these days.  New this month is the Palgrave Macmillan platform – Palgrave Connect.  This is a collaborative effort from Palgrave and Nature and will include eBooks in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and business areas.  About 4,000 eBooks are available with the launch.�

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

Charleston Conference Loaded with eBooks

I just returned from The Charleston Conference and was amazed by the sessions and general discussions relating to eBooks.  I tried to get to most of them, but that was impossible due to the amount of sessions.  If you attended or presented one of these sessions, I invite you to post your comments to No Shelf Required.  I know we can all benefit from hearing more about ebooks.

Some highlights for me were Lindsey Schell’s discussion of patron driven purchasing at UT-Austin – a “platform agnostic” library, and the “banana” story told by Jason Price.  I was also humbled by the number of people that attended my session – the debate between patron driven purchasing and traditional collection development.  Thanks to all of you for attending, and for participating.  We used the audience response systems to survey the attendees, so I’ll post those results on NSR.

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.�

eBook Sales Up Says AAP

AAP reports eBook sales jumped 77.8% to 5.1 million for September year to date.  However, overall book sales decreased.  Details of other categories below:

AAP Book Sales: Declines for September, Year-to-Date

In September, net sales decreased 2% to $1.062 billion for 80 publishers that reported to the Association of American Publishers. Net sales for the year through September have fallen 1.5% to $7.718 billion.

E-books jumped 77.8% to $5.1 million.
Children’s/YA hardcover increased 41.9% to $119.8 million.
Higher education rose 18.4% to $338.2 million.
Professional and scholarly edged up 6.8% to $60.5 million.
University press paperbacks gained 4.4% to $6.5 million.

Adult hardcover fell 29.8% to $173.3 million.
Children’s/YA paperback declined 19.1% to $51.5 million.
El-Hi dropped 17.6% to $325.1 million.
Audiobooks decreased 12.3% to $18.7 million.
Religious books fell 11.8% to $76.8 million.
Adult paperback decreased 8.6% to $134.7 million.
Adult mass market dropped 8.3% to $67.4 million.
University press hardcovers slid 3.6% to $6.3 million.

ebrary’s new QuickView

According to an ebrary press release, they have launched their new QuickView.  QuickView “enables end-users to instantly view documents in many of the leading web browsers and even works on the iPhone. No software downloads or installations are needed.”  Groovy.  QuickView will not replace the existing Java Based Reader, it is offered in conjunction.

ebrary’s key features of QuickView:

    • Instant viewing and page flipping in a web browser
    • Relevancy ranking at the chapter level with links to specific sections
    • Navigate to search terms or specified pages
    • Search within documents for key words
    • View and navigate to highlights and notes created using an ebrary Reader
    • Multiple view magnifications

I’ll check this out at Charleston this week and give it a whirl on the iPhone.  Anxious to see how legible that will be!

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.

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.