EBSCO enhancement: where are end user access notes?

I use end user access notes to clarify problems or weirdness with our EBSCO or publisher access. I haven’t had to deal with any since September’s enhancements were released, and it wasn’t until today that I thought to check to see how they were incorporated into the new interface. Unfortunately, the notes aren’t there.

They’re missing from the EBSCO record and from the top of the new window that opens when you select the publisher’s site link from the EBSCO record. I’ve contacted the same EBSCO rep I was in touch with about the enhancement.

Update: The EBSCO rep said that notes should be entered using the “Notes and Icons” and “Collection Editor” features in the A-to-Z administrator. I’ve only recently become familiar with these options, and I’m excited to have a reason to use them. The notes in Collection Editor will be much more useful than the End User Access Notes (which we were advised to stop using) because they can be applied to any resource in the A-to-Z list, not just the EBSCO subscriptions (which were the only thing listed in the Registration Tracker).

I asked if the notes will appear in our MARC records. It would seem that they could, because the custom coverage information is obtained from the same area and does appear in the MARC. But I remember asking about this earlier and learning that the notes won’t appear in the catalog records. If this is the case, it’s another reason to direct patrons from the catalog to the A-to-Z list.

Update 10/24/07: The EBSCO rep replied:

It is not possible for these notes to be included on the MARC records provided by A-to-Z.

I am so ready to advocate for a single-record approach. We should direct users to the A-to-Z list (where this information exists) from the catalog rather than trying to duplicate the information in the catalog.

Posted in EBSCO, Single-record approach, Updates. Comments Off on EBSCO enhancement: where are end user access notes?

Automatic IP recognition

Publishers that offer IP authentication are generally able to allow seamless, automatic IP recognition. The exceptions that I’ve come across are the sites for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Journal of Hydraulic Research. Both publishers require users to click a link in order for the site to compare the IP address to the approved ranges.

I added End User Access Notes in the EBSCO Registration Tracker tool that direct patrons where to click for access on the publisher’s site. However, we can’t always count on patrons to notice those notes. Automatic IP authentication would be much better. Both publishers told me last summer that they were working on it (in fact, at this time last year NCTE had barely switched from password-only authentication).

Earlier this month someone posted a message about the NCTE access to the ERIL listserv. Last week, another of our patrons had a problem accessing the subscription because of this extra step. These were signs that it was a good time for me to follow up with NCTE. The rep replied that:

we do not currently have this capability. We are however working towards this and hope to offer it later this Summer.

I follow up with the Journal of Hydraulic Research folks every few months, and they haven’t implemented the process yet either.

I decided to remove the direct links to the publisher’s site in our catalog and A-to-Z list until each publisher offers automatic IP recognition; that way, patrons can’t help but get the instructions I added in Registration Tracker (they only show up in EBSCOhost EJS links).

Posted in IP authentication. Comments Off on Automatic IP recognition

The limits of Collection Editor

EBSCO made a few enhancements to their Collection Editor tool a few months ago that I really appreciate: a search bar for entering the name of the journal (the old process was to search by vendor), and an option to add custom embargo dates (in case they’re missing or incorrect).

One thing I’d love to see is an option to manipulate dates to reflect rolling access. Nobody wants to annually update every title with rolling coverage, so I currently indicate rolling access via the EBSCOhost EJS link by adding an end user access note. But our non-EJS titles aren’t in Registration Tracker, so we can’t add end user access notes to those. Since we regularly add a direct A-to-Z link to the publisher’s site, it would be great if the custom coverage could accommodate rolling access. I’ll mention something to EBSCO.

In the meantime, I suppose I could mess with the “begin” date so it reads “Your access: Rolling coverage – Previous two years to present”. Hmm. I think I’ll try that.

Posted in EBSCO. Comments Off on The limits of Collection Editor

Clarifying coverage for Journal of Physics A

Found another example of having to work around inaccurate EJS coverage, this time because of a title change. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General is now Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical. Both titles’ EJS listings say “to present”, though the EJS content for the earlier title clearly stops with 2006, and starts with 2007 for the current title. Both records have the same link to the publisher’s site with complete coverage.

Again, I used an “End User Access Note” in Registration Tracker for each record to clarify access and direct patrons to complete coverage. For the earlier title:

Title changed to “Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical”.
All issues available via publisher’s site.

and for the current title:

Title changed from “Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General”.
All issues available via publisher’s site.

Red and bold: you can’t miss it.

Posted in Access, EBSCO. Comments Off on Clarifying coverage for Journal of Physics A

Learning more about coverage

You learn something new every day, and today I learned how EBSCO figures (and lists) our access for journals.

One of our titles, Armed Forces and Society, has two listings in A-to-Z because of a publisher change in 2005. The record for the previous publisher says that our access is “to present”, even though nothing past 2005 is available via those links. Even Title Wizard indicates that access ends in 2005, but our patrons would think that they can access the most recent issues.

Because we still have a current subscription to this journal, the holdings information for EJS will continue to say “to present”. According to the EBSCO representative who replied to my inquiry,

EJS does not take into consideration that coverage for this journal ended in 2005.

So a current subscription overrides the actual holdings, even though we can’t actually access more issues via that record. But:

There is an enhancement planned that will cause EJS to consider the coverage dates for a journal when calculating Your Access.

Hooray for enhancements! Until then, our patrons hit a dead end, and they may not think to check the other electronic resource record. To remedy that, I’ve added an “End User Access Note” to the earlier publisher’s record that direct our patrons to the other record:

“The most recent issues are available via other electronic record for this title.”

I might play around a bit with the wording on that note. I’m glad to have a better understanding of the coverage dates so that I can better interpret this information to resolve troubleshooting problems. If this comes up again, I can spend less time tracking down the problem and get back to the patron more quickly.

Posted in Access, EBSCO. Comments Off on Learning more about coverage

Current year only and rolling access

Online access varies from publisher to publisher. We may have more than what we’ve subscribed to, or less: often, publishers make their archive available only as an additional purchase.

Every once in a while I run across a subscription that just doesn’t fit our institutional needs (such as the aforementioned single-user access), and I recently ran across one example: a journal that doesn’t allow us to retain our online access from year to year.

Antiquity is available in several formats: print, online, and print + online. Unfortunately, our print subscription was switched in 2006 to an online only subscription that only allowed access to the current year. Because we weren’t “premium” customers, we wouldn’t be able to retain the 2006 issues we paid for. We ended up paying extra to switch to the “print + online (with archive)” access (a one-time charge with a minimal annual maintenance fee).

It seems a little unfair that we can’t retain access to issues in our past subscription. We’ve paid to have access. Are publishers presuming that subscribers have subscriptions to aggregators like Academic Search Premier and InfoTrac, which provide access with an embargo? Also, I don’t know why this publisher doesn’t provide an “online only (with archive)” format, but it would save a tree (or two).

Rolling coverage is also frustrating, especially with an online-only subscription (no print to hold on to). Unless an institution purchases access to the archive, past subscriptions get lopped off whole volumes at a time. Take the American Fisheries Society, which provides access in the form of “current plus 5 years rolling” (from EBSCONET/Registration Tracker). It’s not only frustrating to lose what we’ve paid for, it’s also time-consuming to keep track of holdings. To clarify this for our users and reduce the amount of annual maintenance, I’ve added an “End User Access Note” that points out the details of the rolling coverage. Of course, that only appears on the EJS titles because they’re the only ones in our Registration Tracker list that can have such notes, so other holdings still have to be maintained year after year. The best online subscriptions allow us to retain what we’ve subscribed to (using IP authentication, of course!).

Posted in Access. Comments Off on Current year only and rolling access

Split coverage

Do you have any online journals with a year or two missing from the subscription? We do, and unfortunately it makes our holdings look inaccurate. The record may say “2000 to present” when we’re missing the 2005 issues.

We get our MARC records from EBSCO, and their managed coverage doesn’t yet support split coverage. In November, an EBSCO rep informed me that

The split coverage will not work with LinkSource if used in the custom coverage field. We are still testing to see how the split coverage affects LinkSource when used as managed coverage but essentially LinkSource uses additional information to obtain the correct managed coverage. This process is not applied to the custom coverage. We will be looking at ways to allow for this in the future. Of course this format could be used for custom coverage but it would cause LinkSource not to report the correct coverage.

You can see an example of the split managed coverage they’re testing by looking at the record for Oral Tradition (1986 – 1986, 2003 to present).

I could force non-EJS records into reading “2000-2004, 2006 to present” by entering:

Custom Coverage Begin: 2000-2004, 2006
End: [blank]

But that affects LinkSource.

Of course, I can’t fool EJS records into being accurate because our system is set up to receive updates and the custom coverage won’t stick for EJS titles. What I can do is add an “End User Access Note”. And I have. I’ve added a note to several titles that says “YYYY issues available on Publisher’s Site”.

The catalog and A-to-Z list are still inaccurate, but the message gets across. I look forward to seeing split coverage in a future enhancement to match our standard practices for recording serials holdings.

Posted in EBSCO, MARC. Comments Off on Split coverage

Ambio and firewall settings

A few patrons reported problems accessing the journal Ambio. After confirming that our IP ranges were correctly on file, the publisher’s rep suggested that it might be the patrons’ firewall settings. I passed this information along to the patrons and encouraged them to contact the UVM computer helpdesk. Noticing that the reporting reference librarian (reporting officer? ha ha) had the same problem, I tried to access the journal on a couple of the student terminals here on the first floor. Same problem, same error message:

Your request to view the full-text or print version of an article requires a subscription to this journal.

I reported this to my systems colleagues. This kind of situation doesn’t come up very often (and hadn’t yet impacted library terminals), so I thought it would be a good reminder that sometimes the problem is with the machine.

Update 3/28/07: Before my systems colleagues fix the library computers’ firewall settings, I thought it would be helpful post an “End User Access Note” stating:

Trouble accessing this journal? Adjust your computer’s firewall settings.

Update 5/19/07: We’re still having trouble with accessing articles, and my systems colleagues are quite sure it’s an Ambio/Allen Press problem. I’ve been in contact with people at Allen Press, but the information they provided didn’t resolve anything.

We can’t access articles using VPN or even from library computers within the network. A couple of us can get to it from our offices, but we haven’t done anything special to our settings. Our IP ranges have been confirmed, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem on our end because this isn’t happening with any other titles. I sent another message to the rep at Allen Press to ask that their tech support staff take a closer look.

Update 5/21/07: I received a call from a representative at Allen Press. She said one of our IP ranges (our primary one) was entered incorrectly, but I disagree that it’s going to fix the problem. When people have to correct our ranges, it’s generally to switch the start range from .1 to .0 or the end range from .0 to .255. However, that won’t make a difference here because the working and non-working ranges are in the middle of the range, not at those extremes. Unless Allen press entered my computer’s specific IP address as the only “range” for our university, I can’t see how updating the IP range is going to fix the problem.

Update 5/22/07: Wow. I called it. They entered my computer’s IP address as the range for the whole university.

I noticed the site still wasn’t working this morning, so I spoke to a technical support staff member at Allen Press. She was able to read to me their list of our IP ranges (the first time any of them have been able to do that for me, even though months ago they “confirmed” our ranges) and I spotted the error. I can’t believe after all of this time, the thing that was holding us up was such a bizarre interpretation of our IP ranges.

Posted in Driving me nuts, IP authentication, Updates. Comments Off on Ambio and firewall settings