Archive for the ‘Resource discovery’ Category

Seeking electronic resources? Look no further!

November 25, 2016

We’ve been doing some work on how we can make the process of accessing resources, and indeed information about resources, as easy as possible, based on your feedback as well as how we know you are wanting to access them. To that end, we’ve pulled together links to out A to Z list of databases, our guide to Reading Lists Online, our guide to copyright, a growing number of general resource help guides into one single page: our new electronic resources page:


Simply click on the Electronic Resources tab on the library homepage and select the information you need. We hope you find this page helpful!



Updated A to Z list of databases now available

November 7, 2016

As part of the work we are doing to make accessing information about electronic resources easier, we’ve been working on the A to Z list of databases, and there have been some changes. The list of databases is still accessible from exactly the same place – the quick link on the right-hand side of the library pages – but looks a little different:


Don’t worry, however: all the databases are still there! Browse by database title or subject or search for term; you’ll also be able to learn about new resources, or resources we are currently considering. Contact details are also available, as is the Electronic Resources blog to keep to you up to date.


Number crunching

February 2, 2016

This week is all about numbers: how much; how often. I’m gathering together lots of information about resources at the moment, and after a full day of looking at spread sheets and graphs and pie charts yesterday, this morning I find my mind in a need of a little light relief.

What’s light relief in the world of an Electronic Resources Librarian, I hear you ask? Looking at yet more statistics, of course! But sometimes I do like to look at things “for fun”. Last week, my daughter had to do some homework on graphs and did some work on representing everyone’s favourite biscuit. Custard creams came out top. So as I’m thinking about our information, I’m wondering what everyone’s favourite database would be here. ScienceDirect? Discover@Bolton? Wiley journals? SportDISCUS? It’s actually not that easy to unpick: what is one person’s favourite database isn’t necessarily someone else’s. There are so many different factors involved that transcend every piece of statistical information I might collect on a database: what is the subject coverage? Is it a full text database? Is it a database of archived journal issues (like JSTOR, for example) or is up current? Is it easy to use? It might have the best content in the world, but what’s the use if no one can access that content!

So to try to determine the “most popular” database is probably very difficult. What might be interesting, however, is to see which of our multidisciplinary databases is being used more. Taking Discover@Bolton out of the equation for just a moment, let’s have a look at ProQuest Central, ScienceDirect, Scopus, JSTOR and Credo. Now, I know without looking (because I’ve been doing this job a long time!) which of these is the most frequently used based on the numbers of full-text downloads or in the case of Scopus, searches. For the academic year 2014/15 this would look like this:


I was right, of course 🙂

What I was surprised about, however, was how high the number of searches was for ScienceDirect. This important database is so much more than the “science” in its name might suggest. It includes journals that cover a huge range of topics such as arts, humanities, economics, finance, psychology and social sciences. With its comprehensive scientific coverage, this database is about as multidisciplinary as it comes.

The good thing about a tool such as Discover@Bolton is that you can access that non-scientific content in a database like ScienceDirect without even knowing that that database will provide you with relevant content.

Access to Discover@Bolton was only enabled in February 2015; full access didn’t come until September. Therefore, the number of searches for the academic year 2014/15 isn’t yet representative of its impact. I’d be interested to see what happens when we look at usage for the academic year 2015/16: at this point (from August which is when we start recording our academic year) we’ve reached an amazing 171,149 searches and 17,253 visits. It’s number crunching like this I enjoy: it’s just one way we can delve into the impact of our electronic resources.

As to the biscuit poll in our household, mine was the only vote for bourbons…

A look back at 2015 (and welcome back to UBIR!)

January 4, 2016

The problems we were having with UBIR this morning have been resolved thanks to the swift actions of our Networks team and the service is working as normal.

Every year, I like to look back on the previous year, so now that we appear to be without resource problems, it’s time to do just that for 2015. However, before I do, over Christmas I was watching one of these ‘review of the year’ type programmes. I happened to catch the closing credits, and one of the sources mentioned was WGSN – Worth Global Style Network – which is a resource that we have access to here at the University of Bolton. Among other areas, WGSN looks at current and predicted trends, and is proof that our resources are essential for understanding a topic. Access WGSN via the library webpages or via Discover@Bolton.

Anyway, I digress. Back to 2015.

Last year was an exciting year for me as Electronic Resources Librarian as a number of very important changes were made to make your experience of accessing and discovering electronic resources better. We’ll come to these changes later.

In January, we had a fair few resource problems (staggeringly, my first post of 2015 concerned UBIR outage!) which were a cause of frustration. I think that was possibly one of the worst months I’ve known for that. However, we also looked at the British Library’s Save our Sounds project which is looking to negate the very real issue that in just 15 years, many recorded sounds could be inaccessible as equipment required to preserve and play them becomes obsolete. February was an exciting month: Discover@Bolton search boxes appeared on the library website. Although at that stage Discover@Bolton was only accessible on-campus, this was the first time that a service to search multiple databases at once was made readily available to the University of Bolton community. March saw a solar eclipse, and we looked at how we could use our electronic databases to find out more about this phenomenon.

April was a quiet month, so we reviewed Save our Sounds and pointed readers in the direction of JISC’s Summer of Innovation. May saw a General Election and as well as a new government, we also acquired two new resources: WGSN Lifestyle and Interiors and the online edition of the British Medical Journal. As the academic year drew to a close, June seemed to be a busy month for resource problems, including one of the most bizarre remote access I’ve ever come across in 10 years of working with electronic resources.

July was another quiet month, not least because of major refurbishment works that were taking place in the Library over the summer. As we all looked forward to a break, I considered the merits of speaking to publishes about resource usage and development, and how it is important to engage with them. July was also when I presented Discover@Bolton to staff at the University’s TIRI Conference, and how it could be used to enhance learning. My presentation is available here. As the summer drew on, in August we looked at OAPEN-UK, a project set to investigate issues surrounding the publication of textbooks in electronic format.

All this time, I was working on two important developments that  came to fruition in September. The first of these was a major change – in the background – to how we log into resources. This change was particularly important for remote access and we really hope things are simpler now. The other change, and the one I’m most excited about, was the off-campus launch of Discover@Bolton. That was pretty much the only news that month, but it was certainly big news! In October, we acquired yet another new resource: Acland Anatomy. We also looked at open access as part of Open Access Week and we had the first of our Subject Librarian guest posts: Reading Lists online by Mary Barden. November saw an exploration of Royal College of Nursing Journals by our Subject Librarian for Health Dawn Grundy, extra content was added to Discover@Bolton and we remembered George Boole, whose development of logic led to the use of AND, OR and NOT that we have come to use in our own library searches.

As the year drew to a close, December brought another Subject Librarian guest post, this time on services for researchers by Anne Keddie. We looked at the top 100 articles of 2015 according to Altmetric, and we had a bit of fun looking at the 12 Apps of Christmas.

So that was 2015. I wonder what 2016 will bring…


Farewell to the printed catalogue card

October 6, 2015

Every so often I read something that makes me think “Really??”. The other day, I happened to read a press release from OCLC – the organisation that created the very first shared online library catalogue in 1971 – that they had printed their last catalogue card. You don’t have to be that old to remember these perceived remnants of a library time gone by: a small but very long drawer full of little white lined cards held together with a metal rod containing all you needed to know about that item. Perfectly functional, but not the way in which we operate today. I was therefore genuinely surprised to learn that OCLC has only just stopped printing catalogue cards. I was as surprised by this as I was to learn that the British Library only stopped microfilming newspapers in 2010 (which in my head was about three weeks ago, but there again I AM old).

The idea of enabling access to library material – i.e. the starting point of finding information – via a little card seems to very alien compared to the systems we have in place today. Today, you can find out which books are available in the library just by going to a web interface. You can go one step further and search the content of many, many databases by going to a web discovery service such as Discover@Bolton. It seems a world away from those little cards, doesn’t it. Ultimately, using web-based interfaces to enable access to material – whether that’s actually finding out what is available or delving deeper and researching – has improved our library experiences, and while we certainly can feel nostalgic, the world has moved on, and we’re moving on with it.

PsycARTICLES available in Discover@Bolton!

September 29, 2015

My Subject Librarian colleague made a very exciting discovery the other day: PsycARTICLES are available in Discover@Bolton. This important full-text psychology database was one that we (okay, I) thought wasn’t included due to complex contractual arrangements between the provider of Discover@Bolton and the providers of the PsycARTICLES content, so I’m very pleased to be able to say that it most certainly is, and that coverage is more or less 100 per cent.

If you haven’t discovered Discover@Bolton yet, why not have a go now! Follow the links on the library website and enter your search terms. Use the filters down the left-hand side of the search results screen to refine your results by item type (journal article, book, newspaper article etc.), subject area and year of publication to highlight a few filters.

Discover@Bolton now live off-campus!!!

September 22, 2015

Discover@Bolton, the new service that allows you to search across multiple electronic resources via a single interface, is now available off-campus. When you are off-campus, you should see a red banner across the top of the screen like this:

summon off-campus red banner

Simply click on the link within the red banner, enter your Bolton network ID and password when prompted to do so, and get discovering!

Discover@Bolton is accessible from the library homepage as well as various other places on the library website. We’re very keen to know what you think about this new service, so feedback is welcomed.

We hope you find this new service helpful, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the schedule for Bite Size sessions which will include a more detailed session on Discover@Bolton later on in the term.

Happy new year! Get discovering library resources…

September 21, 2015

It’s finally here: the start of term! If you’re new to the University of Bolton, we would like to welcome you. If you’re a returning student, then welcome back, and we hope that you had a lovely summer.

Those of you who are returning may have noticed that there have been some changes within the library. We’ve a new carpet throughout, the toilets have been fully refurbished and the Help Desk has been relocated to the Link Zone. Not sure where to go when you first enter the library? Just ask at the new Meet and Greet information point down in the Welcome Zone.

So what about electronic resources, what’s new there? Well, over the past few months, we’ve been working on some developments that we hope are going to greatly enhance your experience not only of finding electronic resources, but also of accessing them. I’ll deal with the latter development first. We’re aware that you’ve been finding electronic resources difficult to access (i.e. log into), particularly off-campus. We’re currently in the process of changing the way in which you access resources, so the days of long, complex access notes, extra clicks, ignoring obvious-looking login boxes and all the other things you’ve told us you find (justifiably) difficult are coming to end for the majority of our electronic resources.

You shouldn’t really notice anything too different: click on a link from our library pages, and when prompted to do so, enter your Bolton network ID and password. For most resources, you will do exactly the same thing if you are off-campus as well as on-campus. This is new system for us – the implementation of which has caused your Electronic Resources Librarian to have a few sleepless nights! – so if you find anything not working as you’d expect, then please do drop the Subject Help Desk a line and we’d be happy to help.

That’s my first development. The second, and that one I’m particularly excited about, is our new service, Discover@Bolton. Those of you who were here in the last academic year may have heard of this, and indeed may have started using it. Discover@Bolton allows you to search the full text of multiple database plus the library catalogue via single interface. Currently available on-campus, off-campus availability will be brought to you imminently. One of the exciting things about using Discover@Bolton is that it brings together most of our full text resources so that you don’t necessarily need to know which is the best resource to use. For example, you might need to do some research in an area that it outside your normal subject area. You’re well aware of the resources you’d normally use, but suddenly, you’re confronted with having to establish which completely different database might be the most appropriate.

To give a ‘real life’ example of how using Discover@Bolton will enrich your experience of discovering library resources, a few months ago I was helping a final year games student. His research was very specific: how close to reality are games based on wars. To add greater specificity to his research, he had chosen a particular World War Two battle and he wished to understand the historical context and significance of that battle. He then realised that this was going to involve doing some history-related research, something he’d never really considered before. So he had a look at Discover@Bolton, and was able to get all the information he needed. He left his ‘comfort zone’ without even knowing it.

There is further information about Discover@Bolton here. In addition, the library in conjunction with the Student Liaison Officers are putting on Bite Size sessions that include some information about Discover@Bolton, with more detailed sessions planned for later on in the term. If you have any feedback on Discover@Bolton, we’d very much like to hear it.

We also have something new for the Electronic Resources Blog for this term, guest posts by members of our team of Subject Librarians that will highlight various resources, services we offer and areas of development that we want to tell you about. Keep a look out for the first guest post which is scheduled to appear in early October.

Off to the polls we go!

May 7, 2015

In case it’s escaped you completely, throughout the nation people are voting in the UK General Election. Want to know more about British politics? We have a wide range of electronic resources that will present almost any view imaginable, from historical politics to the policies of our current and would-be politicians. Not sure which resources would be best to use? Try Discover@Bolton, and see what you get!

New! Discover@Bolton

February 16, 2015

New! Discover@Bolton is now available from A to Z list of electronic resources and Subject Resources pages on the library website. Discover@Bolton is a web-based service that allows you to search multiple databases at once. It is also possible to search e-books, and our print e-books will be added very shortly.

The search box looks like this:


Simply enter your search term, and on the following screen, you will have the opportunity to refine your search. Limit by full-text only, by subject, item type, to name a few. Once you have found a record, follow the links to find out more about the item, or if it’s available as full-text, access the content from your results.

Discover@Bolton is currently only available on-campus, but it will be available off-campus soon. This is a brand-new services that is still under development, so keep checking the website for further information. If you have any feedback about Discover@Bolton, please send an e-mail to

Happy searching! Or should that be, happy discovery!