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.)

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Know when to fold ’em

Here’s a good old back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth that’s been going on since January.

The journal Counseling Psychologist is available to our patrons through three Gale sources, but one of the links in the A-to-Z list brings our users to an error page at Gale. After a back-and-forth with Gale about whether or not the title is actually in their Professional Collection package (it is, though in one place it’s under T for The Counseling Psychologist), I figured out that I needed to ask EBSCO to fix the link in order to solve the problem.

A kind and patient EBSCO rep and the kind and patient (I suppose, I’ve never communicated with them) Content Team changed/fixed the link on three separate occasions. Maybe it was four. I’ve lost track. It’s one long email thread. Unfortunately, we’re still getting the same error message.

I wrote back to the kind and patient EBSCO rep to deliver the same bad news, and I suggested we let this one go. Bottom line, there’s identical access through two other links (and only a year’s worth of access at that) and it’s not worth our time to fix this one.

Know when to hold, fold, walk, run

Hmm, am I folding, walking, or running?

Posted in Access, EBSCO, Gale. Comments Off on Know when to fold ’em

Getting to the bottom of it

My colleagues at the medical library graciously offered to help me with this list of 278 MARC records marked for deletion. We went over a few examples, talked out a few problems, and came up with a plan: we’re splitting up the list and going through title-by-title.

It helps that we’re sitting in the same room. We often collaborate over the phone or on Meebo, but it’s helpful to be able to just talk. Together, we figured out a reasonable plan of attack, and we’ve been able to compare findings as we plug through the list.

The majority of the problems are with ScienceDirect links that were removed from EBSCO’s Title Wizard. We still have access to everything at the ScienceDirect site, but there’s no ScienceDirect Freedom Collection link. I called EBSCO this morning and spoke with one of their representatives. I told him I was planning to send a large list of titles that needed plain old Freedom Collection links added to their Title Wizard options, and he thought that was a fine idea.

Still not sure why this is happening, but we noticed that the titles are mostly old: there aren’t current issues. It might be a publication with access from 1996-1999, rather than “to present”. It might be a previous title. Regardless, there should still be a ScienceDirect link for our patrons: in fact, there are several options but the one we need (which is part of our package) is missing.

Posted in EBSCO, MARC, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Getting to the bottom of it

Why are these MARC records marked for deletion?

Greetings from Confusionville, Vermont.

A whole bunch of links are set to be deleted from our catalog. Trouble is, we still have access to many them. I don’t know why they’re all marked for deletion. I’m going through the 278-title list one by one and discovering that the individual analysis is complicated and quite time-consuming.

Some are legitimate purges, such as title changes. The rest (so far) are strange.

  • titles that EBSCO removed from the ScienceDirect Freedom Collection package list, but that we still have access to (I think EBSCO made a mistake)
  • titles that are still checked in the Title Wizard, but are marked for deletion in the batch load (maybe someone un-checked them at the time the list was run, and then re-checked them which is why I can see them now?)

I have no interest in making a habit of reviewing the to-purge list, but there are enough red flags this month that it seems worthwhile to go through them individually. But I am so confused and stuck. And this is no time to be stuck, because this has to be figured out.

Posted in EBSCO, MARC. Comments Off on Why are these MARC records marked for deletion?

SpringerLINK

I received another troubleshooting report that wouldn’t have come up if the custom coverage showed up in the MARC record. In this case, instead of bringing it to EBSCO’s attention, I’m going to resolve it while tackling a larger problem.

This particular 856 (the one lacking coverage dates) is for SpringerLINK. We also have an 856 in this record for SpringerLINK (NERL), which is our consortial subscription. Because the list of titles in the SpringerLINK (NERL) package isn’t up-to-date, we added the SpringerLINK records to compensate for the missing titles.

I’m going to go through and look at all of the SpringerLINK records. If there is a second, SpringerLINK (NERL) record, I’ll remove the SpringerLINK link. The remaining SpringerLINK records will either be

  • part of our non-NERL Springer subscription, or
  • should be part of the NERL subscription.

It’s a somewhat daunting project, given the number of titles, but it will save me so much time in the end. I’ll have a clear picture of particular titles missing from the NERL list and I’ll avoid a few troubleshooting problems.

Posted in Access, EBSCO, Single-record approach, Workflow. Comments Off on SpringerLINK

Should this custom coverage stick?

A while ago I learned that custom coverage doesn’t stick to E-Journals from EBSCO records (back then they were known as EBSCOhost EJS in the A-to-Z list). This is because EBSCO updates our A-to-Z list nightly and according to their master database, which we customers can’t change.
Sometimes the managed coverage is incorrect. Because EBSCO looks at billing dates instead of available content when determining “coverage,” the managed coverage may be incorrect if:

  • there is rolling coverage
  • the title changed
  • the publisher changed (EBSCO uses a separate record)
  • we switched to an inappropriate online subscription and went back to print
  • or there’s a plain old error

I’ve gotten used to correcting the publisher’s site coverage using Collection Editor and contacting EBSCO to fix their coverage. It seems like it’s been a while since I did this, and I recently found a contradiction.

The managed coverage for the Canadian Journal of Botany was listed as 1997-present, but the publisher didn’t have content from 1997 online. I wrote to EBSCO and pointed this out, and (without thinking) changed the custom coverage myself. It stuck. For a while. For weeks.

At the same time, I tried changing the custom coverage for our Journal of Geophysical Research titles (an example where, for years, we kept getting switched to online access when we wanted print-only). That didn’t stick for very long. In this case, changing our managed coverage is a little more involved than sending a request to EBSCO, because their records show that we switched to online, but don’t show that we switched back to print only and never had the online access. This year, we took the plunge and went online only, so I need the dates to read 2008-present instead of 2002 or 2005. Our subscription agent is helping to explain the situation, and I hope it will be corrected.

I wrote to EBSCO today, using these examples, to ask whether customers can change custom coverage for EBSCO access. Whether it should or shouldn’t, there’s definitely a contradiction shown in these two examples.

Posted in EBSCO, MARC. Comments Off on Should this custom coverage stick?

Hydrocarbon Processing

A colleague in reference pointed out that our access to Hydrocarbon Processing in EBSCO’s Academic Search Premier is different from our access in Gale’s General OneFile. She did a great deal of research before she explained the situation to me, discovering further complications such as incorrect publisher listings, an alternate ISSN, and an international edition of the journal.

I’m not entirely sure this is something I should handle, but I’m happy to take a stab at it. The bottom line is that each database has different content for each issue. I contacted the true publisher and asked them to explain why the content is different and whether there are two editions of the journal.

To be continued.

Update 4/9/08: The publisher’s representative explained that EBSCO and Gale are responsible for updating the content, and advised me to turn to them. I think the EBSCO coverage is OK, so I replied to the Gale rep and showed her the differences.

Update 4/10/08: I received a response from the Gale rep who clarified that the publisher is somewhat responsible for content, in that they provide a file with the journal content. That makes more sense to me than the publisher’s response. The Gale representative is going to investigate. I wonder if it’s an error, or if the agreement is for incomplete issues. (ASP receives complete issues, it seems; at least, more complete than Gale.)

Posted in Access, EBSCO, Gale, Updates. Comments Off on Hydrocarbon Processing