The Library on Social Media

11 Jan

Did you know that the COCC Library has a presence on many popular social media outlets?

We have Facebook (in spite of the research findings summarized in this article) and Twitter (@cocc_library) accounts, where we post quick updates, news, and links of interest. We also have a “microblog” called InfoSprinkles. A microblog is longer than Twitter (where messages are limited to 140 characters) but shorter than a long form blog. On InfoSprinkles, Tina, Cat, and I post handy research tips and resource highlights. They’re very short and – hopefully – very useful. If you have something you want to highlight or a tip you want to share, let me know!

Ctrl + Mouse Scroll Wheel = zoom in or zoom out

5 Dec

Here’s a quick tip if you want to quickly make a font more readable (or how to fix the problem of accidentally shrinking your font to an illegible size).

Hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while using the scroll wheel on the mouse (the scroll wheel is the thing the red arrow in the picture above is pointing to).

Scroll down to zoom out (will make the font smaller) and scroll up to zoom in (will make font larger).

Image Attribution: Darkone, from Wikimedia Commons



Troubleshooting Link Resolver Problems

1 Dec

The Link Resolver (see this blog post if you need a link resolver refresher), handy as it is, doesn’t always work like you’d expect.

One somewhat common problem is with the “one click to article” feature. If the link resolver can determine that we should have the online full-text of a particular article, this one click feature is supposed to take the user directly to the article, bypassing the link resolver results page.

But, sometimes instead of a full-text article, the user gets an error message. Here’s an example of a error message from Ebsco (as usual, click on the any of the images in this post for a larger version):

The error message for the 360 link resolver.

Basically, Ebsco is asking you to type in your citation info again, to see if it can find the article (several people have gotten this error and emailed me about the strange ILL form they are seeing – even though it looks a little like the old ILL form, this is NOT an ILL form, just a citation verification form). But, you don’t even need to fill any of this out.

It’s not super noticeable (I didn’t design it, so don’t blame me), but there is a link at the top of the screen that says “Not what you were looking for? Get additional resources” :


Click this link, and it will take you back to the link resolver results page:


Now, this is super important. From this page, click on the “Journal” link instead of the “Article” link (if you click on the “Article” link, it’s just going to fail again). When you get to the journal-level link, you can use the journal-level navigation to  access the article.

Use the original citation information to find the right date, volume, and issue:


Is this more steps? Yes, unfortunately.

Will students figure out this troubleshooting technique on their own? Maybe a few of them, but I fear that it’s not the most obvious series of steps, so we should definitely know how to help them get around the error screen.

Also, although the example above is from Ebsco, the “get additional resources” link shows up at the top of any full-text article that the link resolver goes to directly, so this troubleshooting tip works with any of our database interfaces.



Using the e-Journal Tool

9 Nov

This week, in my Lib 127 course, I have a lesson on how to use the e-journal tool – that’s the A-Z list of all the journal titles we have online. I thought I’d share the info here, too.

This is an extremely useful tool if you are looking for a specific journal title (like if you already have a specific citation of if you’re helping a student who needs an article from a specific journal) or if you want to electronically replicate the experience of browsing a print run of a journal (although I realize it’s possible that I’m the only person who likes to do this).  And, our 360 Link product adds some additional functionality called the Citation Linker to this tool that’s worth knowing about.

Tip: If you have a hard time seeing the details in the images in these blog posts, click on the image for a larger view.

As you probably know, you can access the e-journal tool from two different places on our current web page:

Access the e-journal tool from the research tools menu or from the link at the bottom of the page.

Choose the COCC Barber Library electronic journal collection link (the other link goes to OSU’s e-journals, which you must be an OSU student to access).

If you are looking for a specific JOURNAL title, type that title in the search box next to “Title begins with.” Note that only the journal title will work here. Do not try to type an article title in here (I see students do this a lot).

Search box

Click the search button, and you will see a list of results. For example, if I search for the journal Online, I will see a list of journal titles that start with the word “Online.” I’m just looking for plain Online, so I can ignore the rest:

example search for "Online"

Search results:

search results for "Online" search

Let’s take a closer look at these search results. Sometimes common journal titles will have the place of publication to help disambiguate the title. That’s why Weston, Conn. is in parenthesis next to the journal title above. The number in parenthesis next to that is the journal’s ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

Below the title, you will see date ranges, like “from 01/01/1988 to present” above. Some titles have several date ranges, like Online; others have only one date range. The date range represents FULL TEXT access. It’s not always through the present, of course.

Next to the date range, you see the databases that the journal is indexed in. You have to click on one of these database links to actually access the content. Which database you choose to access the journal is dependent upon dates available and personal preference. For example, Online is available from 1988 to the present in the Academic One File (Gale) database. If I needed an article from 1990, I would click on this database. But, if I needed an article from later, say 2010, I would probably go down to the next date range listing (“from 1994 to the present”) and click on Academic Search Premier, because I, personally, prefer the Ebsco interface to Gale’s.

Once you click on a database name, you are taken to that database’s interface, where you can search within the journal content or choose a year, volume, and issue to browse.

For example, let’s say I had clicked on the Academic One File link in the example above. Here’s what the next part of the process looks like:

e-journal title access

A couple of things to notice here: you have to click on a drop down menu to access a list of the available years. After you choose a year, it shows you a list of volumes and issues available for that year for you to choose from.

Also, notice above the drop down menu and volume/issue selection box where it says “Index Coverage” and has a date range of Jan. 1, 1977 – Current. This means that this database has citations – but not full text – for the years 1977-1987, with the full text coverage picking up in 1988 (so citation-only coverage is before the overlap in years between the index coverage and the full-text coverage).

You can’t see it in the screen shot above, but there is a “search within this publication” box to the left of the date picker. If you wanted to search just within this particular title for a topic, that’s what you would use to do that.

The Academic Search Premier/Ebsco interface is similar (definitely click on this one for the larger view):

ebsco ejournal title display

Instead of a drop down menu for the date picker, you get a list of dates with expandable/collapsible “+” signs. Click on the + sign, and you’ll see the list of volume/issue choices.

The “search within this publication” option is right above the list of dates.

Like the Gale database, Ebsco often has some records that are citation only. Instead of “index coverage,” they refer to it as “bibliographic records” (students won’t know what either term means, most likely). In this case, it’s only one year, 1993, before full-text coverage picks up.

One thing I like about the Ebsco display is that it tells you in the title information whether or not the title in question is peer-reviewed. This can be helpful.

OK, so this is all well and good if you just want to browse or search a particular title. But, isn’t there a faster way to get to a specific article if you already have an exact citation? Indeed there is.

Take a look at the title search image again:

See below the search box how it says, “If you already have a citation and want full text, try Citation Linker.” That’s your ticket to the quicker search for a specific article. Click on the link there, and you will see a search form:

citation linker search form

Put in your citation information (the more complete, the better!) and click the “Look Up” button. If the article is available electronically, you will be directed to the full text. If the article isn’t available electronically (say, for example, it’s outside of the date range of full-text coverage), you will be directed to the link resolver screen telling you that the article isn’t immediately available and giving you the opportunity to place an Interlibrary Loan.

A couple of troubleshooting tips for the e-journal tool:

It is very, very picky in terms of searching. If you spell a journal title wrong or enter the wrong information in the citation linker function, you will get no results – it doesn’t do any correcting for you.

If you have spelled everything correctly and you’re getting no results, that means we have no online access to the journal in question.

Otis supplies the following excellent technique for eliminating the spelling/ambiguity problem: “Google the ISSN identifier of the publication in question and search for the journal via that numerical identifier as opposed to the ‘journal title’ because then one knows for certain which journal they are accessing by virtue of many journals having similar ‘title’ keywords.”

Also, all of the full-text date range information is supplied by Serials Solutions’ “Knowledge Base,” not manually controlled by us. Occasionally, full-text availability changes before the Knowledge Base is updated and you will find either less or more full-text than you expected, based on what the e-journal tool told you. And, it really can go either way; it’s always nice if you find more full-text, but it’s not nice when you find less. If you run into a problem, let me know, and I’ll let Serials Solutions know.

As usual, let me know if you have questions.

Summit and E-books – What’s Available, What’s Not

2 Nov

Recently, I’ve gotten a few questions from students and from faculty about e-books in Summit. Are they available to everyone? Can you request an e-book through Summit or ILL? There are quite a few variables at work in the answer, so it’s not always a quick yes or no.

There are three different types of e-books that will show in the Summit catalog:

1. E-books that are part of the Summit PDA (patron driven acquisition) pilot project and that are available to students, faculty and staff at all Summit-affiliated institutions.

2. E-books that individual Summit-affiliated institutions own and that only that institution’s students have access to. These books cannot be requested via Summit or Interlibrary Loan.

3. E-books that are freely available. These are often government documents or items that are in the public domain.

So, how do you tell which kind of e-book you’re seeing? Good question.

E-books that are part of the Summit PDA project and are available to all students will always have an link under the cover art that says “View Now.”

No other e-book in the Summit catalog will have this link.

If you were in the detailed record view of a Summit-owned e-book, you would see a link labeled “View eBook.” Do NOT use the “Find It @ Your Library” button for e-books. You will never get useful results when using this button for e-books.

If you don’t see the “View Now” icon beneath the book cover, you’re looking at an e-book that is owned by individual institutions or is in the public domain. Generally, you will have to go into the detailed view to tell which (though using your powers of critical reasoning, you can usually guess that a book published by a commercial publisher within the last 70 years or so is not in the public domain).

Here is one example of an e-book that is not a Summit-owned title:

If/when you click on the title, you will see a very confusing display. (No wonder students and faculty are confused!)

The top section is labeled “Find a copy online.”

Again, do NOT use the “Find It @ Your Library” button when the document in question is an e-book (though you CAN use it for articles). It will route the patron to an Interlibrary Loan request form, but the request will just be canceled, because no other library will lend an e-book.

Below this button, you will see, a box labeled “Links to this item.” Beside the word “Summit,” there will be a zero and the message “No Links were found.” Below that is a category labeled “Other Libraries.” You may see a number here. We’ll take a look at those links in a second.

Below all that, you’ll see a second section, this one labeled “Find a copy in the library.” There will be Summit libraries listed here (if any Summit institutions own the e-book). Don’t be fooled by this deceptively familiar display. You will notice there is no “request” button, and if you click on the “check availability for this item” link, you will see that those Summit schools are providing the link (in this case, to Gale Virtual Reference Library). If you were a student at that school, you could click on the link and log in. But, if you’re not, no e-book for you – you’ll just be faced with an authorization screen that you’ll have no user name or password for.

When you click on the + by the phrase, “Show all links from other libraries (4)” (or whatever number), you will see more links, often restricted access, as is the case with this item:

HOWEVER, if the item were a government document or available in the public domain, this section, under “Other libraries” is where you’d find that link. There used to be links in this area to Google Books and the Hathi Trust, but those seem to have gone away (perhaps something to do with the pending lawsuit against those two groups?).

Here is an example of a link to a government document, located in the “Other libraries” section of the record.

So, back to those items that you find as e-books but that are restricted access. What if the student really wants or needs that book? How can we help them get it? It seems like the best bet is to click on the “Editions and formats” link in the Summit results display:

This will check for print copies of the item. In the case of the title above, a print copy exists and is owned by several Summit institutions, so it could be requested by our students:

Tech Time, Sept. 29 & 30

12 Oct

The most recent Tech Time trainings, held on Sept. 29 & 30, covered two really useful new tools/resources we’ve recently implemented: the Serials Solutions 360 Link Resolver and ILLiad (an automated ILL requesting and processing system).

First, we talked about what a Link Resolver is:

Serials Solutions provides a neat visual to help you “see” how it works (note that in step 4, if it doesn’t connect the user to the full-text, it will connect them to the link to place an ILL request):

So, that’s what it is. Now, how will it help students connect with all of the resources we provide?

Database Integration

If you’ve used our article databases lately, you may have seen the following icon (outlined in red), shown below in Academic Search Premier:

This is what the link resolver looks like in the database. If a student clicks on that icon, it will check all of our online content, regardless of what database it’s indexed in, to see if we have this journal article available electronically. If we do, it will give the student a link to the full-text. If we don’t, it will give the student a link to the ILL request form. You can see how the link resolver acts as a bridge among different repositories of online content and/or library services that connect users with full-text.

Here’s an example of what the student sees when we have the article online:

Here’s an example of what the student sees if we don’t have it. Notice the link they can click on to submit an Interlibrary Loan request:

If they click on the link to submit a request, it will take them to the ILLiad log-in screen (which you’ll see a little farther down this post). After they log-in, it fills in all of the request information for the student and all they have to do is click the “Submit” button. For them, it’s that easy!


The link resolver will also appear in Credo bibliographies and is a handy way for students to extend their background research into more extensive research.

If the item cited is a book (the link resolver works with any type of resource), they will see a link to check the Summit catalog before the link to make an ILL request.


Previously, the appearance of articles in Summit search results has been something of a nuisance, because students couldn’t really request articles through Summit or easily tell if we had the electronic copy or not. Now, when students find an article citation in Summit and click on the “find this at my library” button, the link resolver software will either direct the student to our online subscription content or else give them the link to Interlibrary Loan. (Note: Students still can’t “get” articles through Summit – the link resolver is a separate system, linking them to more separate systems).

When a student clicks on an article title in Summit, they will see the “Find It @ Your Library” button:

When they click on this button, they will be redirected to our link resolver results page or the full text of the article. Again, if we don’t have online access to the article, they will see a link for Interlibrary Loan.

Google Scholar

An additional really cool feature of the link resolver is its integration with Google Scholar. Students can set their “scholar preferences” in Google Scholar so that it recognizes them as COCC students and will provide them with links to online content that COCC subscribes to. (Note: on campus computers are automatically set up with this recognition – students need only set this up if they are using their home computer/laptops).

There is a short video on our library website that explains how students can set up the Google Scholar integration and use it. The video can be accessed using Research Tools >> Library Help or the “Library Tutorials” link under the “Library Assistance” menu at the bottom of the page:


Alas, the link resolver doesn’t work perfectly. All of the different database companies get to decide whether they will make their product compatible with link resolver software or not. A company like Ebsco has excellent database integration, while BioOne does not. Additionally, the link resolver software relies on the information supplied by the database. Sometimes databases provide erroneous information to the link resolver software, and the link to the full-text fails.

If you see a problem, you can let me know. I probably can’t fix it, but I can pass it on to Serials Solutions or the vendor. For example, I recently emailed Serials Solutions with a problem we were having with the links to Wall Street Journal articles (a ProQuest product for us), and they responded right away, letting me know that other libraries are having the same problem. It’s a metadata issue, and Serials Solutions and ProQuest developers are working together to resolve it. On the other hand, I emailed BioOne about the faulty link resolver integration in their interface, and I have never heard anything back.


And, now, for ILLiad, the new interlibrary loan system. The link resolver, as I mentioned above, integrates with ILLiad quite well. The new system also makes it easier for students to manage their own ILL accounts, make new requests, and track existing requests.

You will find much useful information on the ILL webpage, including a login link to the ILL system (ILLiad is just the software name; since this won’t mean anything useful to students, we’ve just referred to it as “Interlibrary Loan” on all of the public pages).

First, to use ILL, COCC students, faculty, and staff must register for an ILL account. There is a link both on the ILL webpage and on the ILLiad login page:

Once they create an account and login, they can manually create a new request, see the status of existing requests, cancel an existing request, renew an Interlibrary Loan (if renewals are allowed on the item), and see the history of their ILL requests.

ILLiad is OpenURL compatible, so if a student locates an article via a database or Summit or a book via Summit that COCC doesn’t own, they will be directed to the ILLiad login and, once they login, the link resolver and ILLiad work together to automatically fill in a request so that all the student has to do is click the “submit” button. This is really slick; check out this very short, soundless video that shows this process in action.

Nifty Newspaper Resource

27 Aug

The Newseum, a news museum in Washington DC, has a website that shows the front page for 798 newspapers from around the world for the current day. Some notable days are archived, making it potentially useful for research purposes. Otherwise, it’s just pretty interesting to see what makes the front page of newspapers around the world.