Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Scheduled maintenance to RefWorks

May 4, 2012

Essential work is due to be carried out on Sunday May 6th, for around 5 hours in the morning.
While this work takes place, RefWorks services including Write-N-Cite will be unavailable.

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Electronic resources apps: a new way to access resources

April 16, 2012

Recently my father was talking to me about mobile phones, specifically iPhones, as he was thinking of upgrading his mobile phone. “These app things.”, he said, “Where do you plug them into?”. He’s 82: I think he’s forgiven. However, the fact that he has even heard of them means that they really are becoming part of our every day lives, so I thought today I’d talk a little about electronic resource apps for mobile devices such as smartphones.

In the world of electronic resources, it seems to be that when it looks like someone’s onto a Good Thing, the electronic resource developers follow suit. Let me give you an example. A well-known, multi-national online retailer, at the checkout/selection phase, lets you know that customers who bought x also bought y. A number of electronic resources are developing similar functionality, only in the case of an online journals platform, it’s more likely to be users who read a also read b. Many journals platforms have the functionality to share links via social networking sites. There has also been a great deal of discussion in various quarters about the advantages and disadvantages of being able to comment on published research online. So it does not come as a huge surprise to learn that a number of electronic resources have developed and launched apps.

More often than not, apps for iPhone are available first, with Android and Blackberry apps following. The apps work in various way, and indeed some work better than others. Most require some sort of registration, and may not offer the functionality of the ‘full’ website. Resources that have apps available for smartphones include LexisLibrary, ScienceDirect and Scopus, Emerald and a number of Ebsco databases. Where an app is available, it can be downloaded either your usual app store or from the websites of the resource itself. If you have an institutional subscription, the apps should be free, although ‘full’ versions of them may incur an extra fee. These, however, seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Some electronic resource providers have chosen not to launch an app, but have instead opted to ensure that their platforms works as well as it possibly can on a mobile device, without the end-user having to download anything extra. An example of this is our library catalogue here at the University of Bolton. Although there is no app available – and furthermore no plans for an app – much work has been done to ensure that the mobile version of the catalogue is as functional as the desktop version.

If you ever come across a new electronic resources app do let us know. We try to keep on top of such matter, but there are bound to be some that we miss.

My father, incidentally, decided against getting an iPhone. After all, he was only interested because his 84-year-old cousin has an iPad…

Sign of The Times: online newspaper provision

March 27, 2012

Years ago, I was busy researching for my MPhil. As I was looking into a very specific aspect of Victorian culture, after I had exhausted relevant books and journal articles, my research became rather news-intensive, and I turned to the newspaper collections of my university library. In those days – don’t I sound old?! – much of the Victorian newspaper material was available on microfilm, with the odd bit of microfiche thrown in for good measure. There were some CD-ROMs about, but this involved trooping all the way to the issue desk. Besides, as I was wanting to go all the way back to the 1850s, much of what I was needing to look at wasn’t available this way. So there began my love affair with microfilm. Housed in a special, climate-controlled room and readable on huge, slightly intimidating-looking machines, these little reels, which look a little like large 35mm camera films, presented an image of the newspaper exactly as it was printed, imperfections, dirt and general degradation. I spent hours spooling through these images. When I needed a break, I’d take a reel at random – from the Second World War, perhaps – and enjoy the feeling of going back in time.

From my description, you might think that the process of microfilming newspapers is something that only happened with really old stuff. However, this isn’t the case and the British Library only ceased the microfilming of newspapers in 2010. Many libraries – both public and academic – routinely purchased or made themselves reels of old newspapers right into the 21st century. Imagine that. An article in the Indepedent on the launch of the iPhone presented on a microfilm.

However, more and more newspapers are becoming available electronically via the Internet, which means that instead of grappling with reels of film, it is possible to access this information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many newspapers both in the UK and internationally are available online, and although some of them only allow full access to those who have paid for a subscription, a number, in particular local newspapers, provide access to newspaper articles for free. Along with news items, many provide enriched services such as up-to-date travel information and weather news. Some are also available on your smartphone.

If it’s access to the broadhseets you’re after, and don’t want to take out a personal subscription, then you’re in luck. The University of Bolton provides access to a wide range of online newspapers such as The Times, Independent and The Guardian among many others. Available via ProQuest Central and with varying start dates, the articles are up-to-date and are presented in a searchable database. Unlike the grubby the microfilms of before, articles are presented in HTML format. We also have access to selected historical newspaper coverage in 17th and 18thCentury Burney Collection newspapers and 19th Century British Library Newspapers Parts I and II. Again, these are presented in a searchable database. With all of these databases, it’s important that you remember to login to OpenAthens first. As these databases are online, they are accessible all day and all night, so you can conduct your newspaper research at any time of the day.

Using newspapers, if appropriate, can really enhance your research, and the benefit of looking at online newspaper provision is that not only can you search to find the information that you need, but also that you can access them at any time of the day or night. Of course, you perhaps don’t get to indulge in some old-fashioned library serendipity, but the whole research process can become simpler. If you’re really missed a good old browse, then you could always throw in a few random search terms and see what you get!

As ever, for help with using electronic resources, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your subject librarian or visit the Subject Help Desk in the Link Zone.

2011 in review: a year for the electronic resources blog

January 9, 2012

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Attention all Art Full Text users!

November 15, 2011

At the start of October, I talked about database changes and how they can impact – positively or negatively – on study and what we can do to ensure our experiences are the best they possibly can be. My previous post is here. Art Full Text is one of our most important art databases. Art Full Text was provided by the H.W. Wilson company. However, a number of months ago, providers Ebsco acquired the Wilson databases, and in the next month or so – and certainly by the end of the calendar year – Art Full Text will only be available on the Ebsco platform. Ebsco provides us with a number of databases including CINAHL, SportDISCUS and Ebsco E-books (formerly NetLibrary), but if Art Full Text is one of your most important databases, you may not be familiar with the platforms available on Ebsco. We are working to make sure our information on Art Full Text is up-to-date and will update both the website and documentation as soon as we can after the change has been made. Watch this space!

ProQuest maintenance this weekend

November 3, 2011

Due to essential maintenance, all new ProQuest platforms will be unavailable for 12 hours from 2.00 am on Sunday 6th November 2011. The old ProQuest platforms are not affected.

You may wonder why it is that this blog is filled with news items such as this, and indeed that they seem to happen all the time! All electronic resources are subject to updating at some point, whether it’s more complicated work to enable mobile access or server updates, or perhaps to add new functionality to the database. We are made aware of these –  Although inconvenient, they are necessary to ensure that the platforms remain stable. Most suppliers chose quiet times of the day – based on usage statistics – to carry out this work so any downtime should have a minimal impact. However, if you find that the times chosen do cause problems, the do let the Electronic Resources Librarian know, as I will feedback to the suppliers that their maintenance times are not helpful.

Problems with SCOPUS, Oxford Journals and Informaworld

July 4, 2011

We have currently lost access to SCOPUS, Oxford Journals and some Taylor and Francis titles via Informaworld. All problems have been reported and will be resolved as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience.

IET Digital Library is currently available on-campus only.

June 29, 2011

Off-campus access will be restored as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

LexisLibrary Restored

June 20, 2011

Technical difficulties have been resolved and LexisLibrary can now be accessed as normal.

 

LexisLibrary access lost

June 14, 2011

LexisLibrary are currently experiencing problems with their service.  Please contact the Library Information Desk for a temporary username/password to access the database while the problem is resolved.  The Information Desk can be contacted on 01204 903563.