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

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

No months in managed coverage

I received an email last week about a patron trying to access an article that was only available as an abstract. The A-to-Z list indicated that the Gale coverage for the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management is 2000-2006. The patron requested an article from July 2006 and couldn’t get full-text. It turns out that the coverage ended with the March 2006 issue, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the A-to-Z list.

I noticed, though, that the catalog record included the dates (“2000-06 – 2006-03”), so I asked EBSCO why the months weren’t included in the A-to-Z list. I thought the A-to-Z list fed the MARC records.

The rep who replied set me straight: the MARC information comes from their content database, but the A-to-Z list “is not currently setup to allow for showing the month with managed coverage. We may do this in the future once we have completed future enhancements to the way that we handle content.”

Since there was nothing EBSCO could do to add the months, I used the Custom Coverage feature to do it myself. This screenshot of the Collection Editor shows the format for managed coverage (highlighted) and the information I entered to more accurately describe our holdings.

no months in A-to-Z managed coverage

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No months in managed coverage

Access problems can often be resolved by correcting the holdings dates in the record. It’s unfortunate that the coverage is listed incorrectly to begin with, but it’s nice to know it will be correct for future users.

Sometimes it’s a difference between our subscription dates and the entire site’s content, so I update our holdings using Collection Editor’s custom coverage. Lately I’ve come across a few titles within a database that have incorrect coverage listed; when it’s a database, such as the subject of yesterday’s post, it’s really the managed coverage that should be corrected for the benefit of all EBSCO customers.

I’ve noticed a lot of problems with Gale databases. I’m going through the list of titles to pick out the discrepancies and I’m keeping a list that I’ll send off to EBSCO. Out of curiosity, I asked a rep I’ve been working with if EBSCO is in the practice of indicating months in the managed coverage dates. It’s always disappointing (to the patrons and to me) when a patron thinks he can access a December 2001 issue from a resource that offers, say, 1999-2001 access, only to discover that the coverage actually ends several months earlier (sometimes in the middle of a volume). The rep replied that

Currently A-to-Z does not support the display of months in managed coverage. We are however considering this as an enhancement for the future.

Hooray for enhancements: the more accurate the coverage, the better.

Posted in Access, EBSCO, Gale. Comments Off on No months in managed coverage

More accurate managed coverage

This spring I had some problems using text in custom coverage (to indicate months). I came across this when working on a problem with the Harvard Business Review. It was apparently resolved in June, but over the summer I saw that the MARC record arrived without my custom begin date. I checked my custom coverage dates (all good) and waited. Now I’ve noticed that the MARC record was updated with my custom begin date… but without my custom end date.

I was about to revisit the problem with the EBSCO rep I’d been working with in the spring, and then I realized that because our access to this title is entirely through Gale databases, I don’t need to use custom coverage: everyone’s access is the same, so it’s the managed coverage that should be updated.

This end date is important to specify. Currently, EBSCO’s managed coverage for the title states 1997-2000.* Patrons presume that means all of 2000 is available in full text; however, that’s not the case, and it’s led to confusion and several queries from our patrons. Full text ends in May 2000, and that’s what I’ve asked EBSCO to indicate in their managed coverage end date.

EBSCO’s Content Team can make these changes very quickly. I’ve asked them to do several in the past, and sometimes (because we have a subscription and they don’t) they’ve asked me to send them screenshots of the resource in question to prove the coverage.

*To add to the confusion, somewhere in the middle of all of this the coverage changed from 1997-2005 to 1997-2000.

Posted in EBSCO, Gale, MARC. Comments Off on More accurate managed coverage

General OneFile

InfoTrac: One File is now General OneFile.

(Shortest post ever.)

Posted in Gale, News. Comments Off on General OneFile