The end of eresourcejournal

At the end of the month, I will begin my new job at Norwich University as their Distance Learning Librarian. I am very excited about this position because I’ve wanted to work with distance learning students since the not-so-long-ago days of my own online graduate program. This is my dream job.

And so, eresourcejournal reaches its end. This blog has been more helpful to me than I expected. The process of writing about things that puzzle and frustrate me has been beneficial. First, it makes me think things through. My brain works faster than my fingers, and as I type my mind wanders to another (more appropriate) idea. Had I not taken the time to write about these topics, I may not have come to those more useful conclusions.

In addition, writing is a great memory tool. Writing online with blog software allowed me to easily retrace my steps and remind myself of past discoveries. In some cases, I was able to solve a new problem by looking back at similar situations.

Lastly, blogging connects: the advantage of writing publicly and online is that other people found me. I am grateful for the comments and emails I’ve received from everyone who visits the site or reads the RSS feed. Librarians have been a source of (wonderful) ideas, commiseration, and camaraderie. EBSCO folks have been very generous with their time, emailing me directly about the concerns and ideas I’ve covered in my posts.

Perhaps others will continue to discover these posts and find them useful. Clearly, they’ll be curious about troubleshooting electronic serials problems, as illustrated in this nifty word cloud of all the text at eresourcejournal (made at I don’t know yet whether I will blog about my new job. As I re-read that sentence, I realize I likely will. I want to remain connected to my community of colleagues. I have been and will continue to follow blogs related to distance learning and distance learning librarianship. I’m sure I’ll have a few things to talk about, too.

Thank you for your visits and keeping me in your feed readers. Most of all, thank you for your comments.

(P.S. It’s a time of transition: Kelly retired one of her blogs this week. Great minds think alike!)

(P.P.S. It seems like a good idea to close the comments on all my old posts. So I’m gonna. I’ll keep this post open, so feel free to leave a message.)

Classed as monographs

A few e-journal troubleshooting reports over the past few weeks have the same problem in common: the leader is coded as a monograph. Patrons are unable to find these journals in the catalog because they don’t show up in a Journal Title search.

I contacted EBSCO about this and they changed the bibliographic level. The next time we receive the record, it will be correct. In the meantime, I made the adjustment to the leader.

I’m not sure why this is happening: if it’s a recent error, if it impacted more titles… So far, I’ve noticed three titles with incorrect leaders:

Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Biological Psychiatry
Applied Spectroscopy

A colleague in systems is going to run a report for me to find more.

Update 11/15/07: The report identified almost 100 EBSCO records that are coded as monographs. Another colleague reviewed the list and told me which ones are definitely serials, and I forwarded her short list to EBSCO.

As we reviewed the remaining titles which are coded as monographs, she wondered if EBSCO is sending them coded as I for integrated resources: maybe Voyager can’t accommodate I and changes it to M. I emailed EBSCO a couple of titles that we’re keeping coded M and asking if the leader they send has an I or M. (Further confusing the situation: my Voyager Cataloging view doesn’t give me an option for integrated resources, but my colleague’s does.)

Posted in Cataloging, EBSCO, Updates. Comments Off on Classed as monographs

EBSCO’s approach to single records

A gentleman from EBSCO wrote to me in response to yesterday’s post. He asked about the subject headings, using Dance Magazine as an example; I’m not sure if the records differ because the DLC record for our print version has changed since it was downloaded years ago, or if it was a conscious decision by one of our staff members to change the heading.

He also responded to the idea I read about for linking from the catalog to the A-to-Z list.

This is something that we [at EBSCO] have discussed at length and we are looking at introducing as an option. If you think this is something you think you would be interested in exploring we can work with you on it. Basically, you would get one 856 field per record and that record would link to A-to-Z. To simplify maintenance on the library end, we would likely strip down the 856 to the bare minimum and exclude coverage and embargo information – that would be discovered on the A-to-Z list.

I asked a few follow-up questions. In the response, he pointed out that

By using the single 856 approach, maintenance becomes so much simpler when dealing with single records. You only need to be concerned with “adds” and “deletes” at the title level. If a new title is added to your A-to-Z collection, you want to either add an 856 to an existing print record or add a new record. If a title disappears from the A-to-Z collection, then you want to remove the 856 from your existing record or remove the entire record.

It also sounds like we would retain local cataloging if we want to, say, add a subject heading. It sounds as simple as adding the 856 field to our existing record (the one that already has the print/microfilm holdings).

It’s great to hear that EBSCO is exploring this option. I think it’s worth taking a look at this.

Posted in Cataloging, MARC, Single-record approach. Comments Off on EBSCO’s approach to single records

Another reason to return to single records

I learned from a colleague today that the subject headings for our e-resource records (which we receive from EBSCO and are updated monthly) do not always match the subject headings in the corresponding print record.

It didn’t take long to find examples:

    Dance Magazine: one uses Dance– Periodicals and the other uses Dancing– Periodicals
    International Journal of Marketing Research: both use Marketing research– Periodicals, but print also lists Marketing– Periodicals
    Qualitative Social Work: both list similar subject headings, but only one uses the heading Social Work– Periodicals

This seems like another good reason to go back to single records for periodicals. I’m still thinking a lot about the idea I read in Serials Review to link from the catalog to the A-to-Z list, rather than directly to the resources. I think it would be a lot easier to push information to the user on the A-to-Z list than in the catalog, and we would eliminate the varying subject headings by using one record, one set of headings.

Posted in Cataloging, MARC, Single-record approach. Comments Off on Another reason to return to single records

How to return to single records

I just read a great article in Serials Review about cataloging e-journals. The author interviewed several librarians and summarized their experiences and innovations. She mentioned that one college “will be stripping out the 856 fields from their print records and linking patrons to their A-to-Z list, which will automatically conduct a search to take the patron to the desired title.”

I think that’s a fantastic idea. I still like the idea of having patrons shown all the online options in the catalog record, but this is a great alternative to monthly MARC updates and a solution to the issues surrounding single vs. multiple catalog records. Maybe I was wrong: we shouldn’t leave the A-to-Z list behind.

The Effects of E-journal Management Tools and Services on Serials Cataloging (subscription required)

Posted in Cataloging, MARC, Single-record approach. Comments Off on How to return to single records

Focus on the catalog

Rush University has added a lot of information to their A-to-Z list, including print holdings and publisher information. A colleague showed this to my boss, who just shared it with me:

Their view of the A-to-Z list

Compare that to ours:
Our view of the A-to-Z list

Rush’s list gives patrons a complete picture of their serials holdings. The level of detail is great, too. (I wonder if the field that generates the “click publisher’s name for access” message could be customized for each title: for instance, to instruct patrons on how to access articles from sites that don’t offer automatic IP recognition.)

While this is very cool and very useful, I don’t know if it’s the best use of our time to do the same. Instead of making the A-to-Z list look like the catalog, we should focus on making the catalog better.

I’m starting to think that we should direct patrons to the catalog and leave the A-to-Z list behind. (Not total abandonment: it’s useful for patrons who know what they’re looking for, so we should keep it as an option for patrons to personalize the way they use the library website.) Patrons are looking for information, not formats; we should address their information needs first and then show them the format options.

I’ve mashed together everything I like about the A-to-Z list and the catalog. This is my idea of what an excellent OPAC search would look like:

A great OPAC would look like this … only bigger: click it!

I like how it displays the source and coverage up front. When there are multiple results (we have separate records for the electronic titles), patrons can compare their results at the search level:

A better way to compare OPAC search results

I crossed out the current display. Location? Call number? Status? Unnecessary for e-resources. The coverage is what’s important. That’s true for print, too. Pull the useful information to the top and we’ve made the catalog more user-friendly.

Cataloging open-access publications

Susanna at Tulane recently posted this question on a couple of listservs I subscribe to.

Does your library have a policy for including open access publications in the local catalog or other web-based discovery sources? If so, we would appreciate hearing to what formal extent you treat these titles to support your users’ needs, and how selective you are in representing them in alongside the traditional (paid) electronic resources.

She received 29 responses and summarized them for the list.

The general impression from this quick scan is that […] most routinely select and catalog open-access publications alongside their expensive counterparts, in the same work-flow process. With such a small sample, perhaps those who took the time to answer have been actively involved in open-access issues… or at least represent institutions with adequate staffing levels to deal with policies on this topic.


  • Two have formal policies for open access, appearing on their web sites. Criteria for selection are similar to those for paid publications.
  • Three stated they have no policy about selecting and documenting open-access, but in practice, freely available e-journals and integrating resources are included.
  • Access

  • Only three said that they did not catalog open access or other freely available electronic publications.
  • Only one said a short bibliographic record was included in the catalog for these publications.
  • Most of these institutions used either Serials Solutions or SFX to create a local A-Z listing linked to their web site.
  • Only one said explicitly that no A-Z list is maintained.
  • Maintenance

  • Ongoing maintenance of links was not commented upon much at all.
  • Posted in Access, Cataloging. Comments Off on Cataloging open-access publications