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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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

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

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

Freely accessible journals

There have been several messages on SERIALST this week in response to a request for a list of publishers who make their content free after a set time period. Several journal, publisher, and open access sites were shared, and I thought I’d start keeping track of them for future reference. I expect I’ll update this list from time to time.

Update 11/7/2007: I’ve created a separate page for this list. Please see the Free access tab above.

Posted in Access, Updates. Comments Off on Freely accessible journals

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?