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 Wordle.net). 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.)

CASPUR needs to disappear like a ghost

Any other EBSCO MARC customers noticing a whole slew of CASPUR references in their catalogs where there should be E-Journals from EBSCO?

I notified EBSCO as soon as heard about this but haven’t received any information or explanation yet. I searched our catalog for clues:

Number of e-journal records with “Available in E-Journals from EBSCO” = 0 (Uh-oh.)

Number of e-journal records with “http://ejournals.ebsco.com” = 2548 (Okay, they’re there, but…)

Number of e-journal records with “Available in CASPUR”= 2548 (… they’re called CASPUR. Grrrr.)

CASPUR has replaced the appropriate E-Journals from EBSCO information in these records’ 773 and 856 fields. The URL in the 856 is still ejournals.ebsco.com.

On top of the misidentification, there’s an access problem: even though the links go to the EBSCO records, the EBSCO links aren’t working. Looking back at some earlier, unrelated emails and printouts with catalog records, it seems that CASPURs appear in the last two MARC loads. The A-to-Z list still says E-Journals from EBSCO, but the access is still messed up.

I’m tagging this with “driving me nuts” not because I can’t figure out the problem (I’m betting it all lies with EBSCO, and is therefor out of my hands) but because it is so widespread and problematic. It’s really driving us all nuts.

Update 2/7/08: A rep at EBSCO was able to correct the problem. He sent us a new file and my colleague in systems loaded the MARC records yesterday. No more CASPUR. No more CASPUR jokes. No explanation, either.

Posted in Driving me nuts, EBSCO, MARC, Updates. Comments Off on CASPUR needs to disappear like a ghost

UVM is not BYU

It’s going to be a simple explanation. It’s going to be just like that Ambio problem: it will drive me nuts for a while and then it will all be alarmingly, obviously clear…

A colleague sent an interesting email yesterday: she was accessing an article in Academic Search Premier and the ASP identified her as a Brigham Young University user. Those of us who received her message tried accessing the article ourselves and couldn’t duplicate the effect. I chalked it up to a temporary problem, albeit disappointing because she had to get the article elsewhere.

She wrote back today and said it was happening once again. A couple of us went to her office to see for ourselves, and there it was:

but UVM isn’t BYU

After playing around with it for a bit, it finally recognized her as a UVM patron. My guess was that her specific IP address was (somewhere, somehow) listed as being owned by BYU even though it’s in our ranges (stranger things have happened). My colleague suspected that it was a cookie left from when our colleague had the problem yesterday. We went to a public terminal to try it out. And there it was again: “Brigham Young Univ-Idaho”.

Now it was getting funny. Was it because she had conducted the search using WebFeat? Was WebFeat somehow indicating to ASP that we were BYU patrons? I tried doing another WebFeat search and selecting a different ASP resource: again, BYU. I couldn’t see anything in the URL that indicated a customer number or something distinctive. I tried using another browser: again, BYU. Was it because I had already connected as BYU in the session? I tried another machine but was starting to get more confused as I tried to keep all of my experiments straight and remember which variables I was using.

I went back to my own computer and grabbed the screenshot of WebFeat to send to EBSCO’s Research Database folks and to our contact at WebFeat. The EBSCO guy wants to find out if our WebFeat server’s IP address is in a BYU range, but I haven’t heard back from the WebFeat representative.

(Funny thing, this whole debacle actually aided another ASP problem I was investigating. Long story short: students now have a persistent link to “Hand Hygiene: A Frequently Missed Lifesaving Opportunity During Patient Care.” Of course with that subtitle, I can no longer express gratitude that “nobody’s gonna lose a limb” in my line of work. “Lifesaving”? Gulp.)

Update 1/16/08: I contacted EBSCO and WebFeat and learned that the problem lies with WebFeat. They are “aware that the problem has been occurring” and are trying to catch it in action to “establish the parameters that create this problem”. (They’re certain it’s not the IP addresses: if it were, we wouldn’t have any access.) I have a phone number to call if I catch it happening again.

Posted in Driving me nuts, Updates. Comments Off on UVM is not BYU

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:

AUTHORIZATION CHECK
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