I honestly don't have anything new to add to this situation, but I wanted to throw together a few links for you to follow (legally even!) if you want to try and figure out what's going through the heads of the administrators at Canadian Universities that are planning to sign on with the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence. I can sure think of better places for a University to spend a large amount of money!
First, Michael Geist, as always, offers a clear and well-reasoned post: Why Universities Should Not Sign the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence.
Second, earlier today The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary (TUCFA) posted a link to a fascinating PDF in which CAUT, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, responds point by point to the University of Calgary's response to CAUT's concerns with the AUCC/Access Copyright model licence.
Finally, earlier this month Ariel Katz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, took a detailed look at how the recent decision in the Georgia State University copyright case is relevant here in Canada. He concludes that, "... American universities are much more willing to assert and defend their rights, while many Canadian ones, short-sighted, extremely risk-averse, and ill-advised, still cling to their habit of being dependent on Access Copyright."
Ouch, and spot on, IMHO!
Oh, and I notice Dr. Katz is also keeping a running list of members in the Canadian Hall of F/Sh/ame.
Can't remember how I came across this one, but over at NetMagazine you'll find a great post sharing 10 tools you can use to create professional-looking digital magazines, and most without any significant cost at all! Each entry lists the pros and cons of each tool, and links to a working example you can check out. The 11th tool in my title refers to the author's own startup, woop.ie, which is only a link at the end of the article.
A preprint from College & Research Libraries is well worth your read, even if you're not a webmaster: How Users Search the Library from a Single Search Box (from NCSU, Cory Lown, Tito Sierra, and Josh Boyer)
Academic libraries are turning increasingly to unified search solutions to simplify search and discovery of library resources. Unfortunately, very little research has been published on library user search behavior in single search box environments. This study examines how users search a large public university library using a prominent, single search box on the library website. The article examines two semesters of real-world data, totaling nearly 1.4 million transactions. Findings include that unified library search is about more than the catalog and articles, though these predominate. Additionally, a small number of the most popular search queries accounts for a disproportionate amount of the overall queries. Also discussed are the merits of ongoing evaluation of library user search behavior.
(it's not nearly as long as you'd think upon initial download; the last half of the PDF are the images and a couple of pages of references)
I actually don't follow any of these folks, but if you're looking to pick up some new feeds, this might be a good place to start! (none of them appear to be librarians)
Oh, and I'm trying to close browser tabs by the end of the year, so a few more posts to follow!
Thanks to my colleague Tim for tweeting about this short video, produced a year ago by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and McGill University Library. I wish it somehow did better job explaining how the money aspect of the equation keeps research out of the hands of some, as most of us here in the Western world can usually get access for "free" through our University libraries...
Back in March I noted that the January 2011 issue of Library Technology Reports was dedicated to Web Scale Discovery Services. Well folks, I finally made the time to read that issue, and if your library is considering Web Scale Discovery you must read it too! Note that LTR is available in Academic Search Complete and Academic OneFile, so you may already have access to the issue.
Jason Vaughan, Director of Library Technologies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, does an excellent job over 60 pages of summarizing the history and need for Web Scale Discovery Systems, and takes an in-depth look at 4 of the 5 major players in this arena, OCLC WorldCat Local, Serials Solutions Summon, Ebsco Discovery Services, and Ex Libris Primo Central. He states,
The primary goal of this work is to provide a valuable foundation to libraries that wish to know more about library-focused Web scale discovery services and to aid libraries contemplating a marketplace review for the local environment. It does not presume that the reader is familiar with any of these services, nor will the report delve into extreme technical detail.
I think in the long run what will prove to be the most valuable part of the report is chapter 7, Questions to Consider, where Jason provides 40 question you should ask of library vendors when seeking more information about their Web scale discovery services. A damn fine place to start.
Excellent report Jason, thanks!
I haven't seen a press release or anything, but someone mentioned it on Twitter last night, so I went looking and found that EBSCO has just released an iPhone app. It'll also work on an iPad, but not at full screen.
So how does it work? Log in to one of your EBSCO databasese and scroll alllllll the way down to the bottom. There you should find a new link that says EBSCOHost iPhone/iPod Touch Application:
Click that and enter an email address, and you will receive a link to the App Store (yes, you can search and find it there w/o that link), and also a link to click that will marry the app to your specific institution. Very seamless and straightforward process. The only glitch is that the authentication code seems to work for anyone; I forwarded it to some folks in the States who corroborated that they were now seen as University of Calgary users.
I do notice that part of what that authorization does is include my institution's ezproxy prefix, so I suspect at some point it's still secure enough. Oh, and I do see in the Help file within the app that you'll need to regenerate that code every 9 months. Even w/o a code, the app gives you an option to search as a guest. You're limited to searching GreenFILE at that point.
There's just a basic search box, no option for "advanced search". Limiters such as Full Text, Peer Reviewed, date etc, appear under the Settings tab, but all the way at the bottom of the screen, below the list of databases. All databases appear to be checked by default.
The app helpfully remembers recent searches, and you can save both searches and articles for later viewing. Individual articles can be emailed, with full text, though I don't see an option to select multiple records. PDFs are available within the app. Results can be sorted by date or relevance.
Here are some screenshots for you. Overall it's a pretty nice app - well done EBSCOHost!
I wanted to wait until the final post before mentioning Jane Burke's guest 6-part series about user perceptions of the library and how Discovery Systems can help on the InfoViews blog. Jane is Senior Vice President of ProQuest and the executive sponsor of Serials Solutions (who makes Summon). In the first four posts Jane paints a well-cited picture of how academic libraries are currently perceived by students and faculty, which I summarize as:
Not until the fifth post does she start to address how Discovery Systems can help,
"Just as we have removed barriers from the physical library space, we need to do the same for our digital library. We need a friendly front door into the collections, one which allows users to easily enter our information environment, on which we spend so much money."
In this post she briefly mentions the three services that can be connected to a single search box, Federated Search, Hybrid Search, and Web-Scale Discovery, and discusses the pros and cons of each. Actually, there appear to be no cons for Web-Scale Discovery, and some significant ones for Hybrid Search, which can be counted as a jab against EBSCO's EDS.
Not until the sixth and final post does Jane even mention Summon by name, and then it's clearly acknowledged as "a commercial". She points out that many of the early issues with Discovery are now being addressed, and that the next big step she sees is the "Leap to Full Text Indexing of Books". The commercial is that Summon recently announced it would soon be indexing the full text content of over 8.4 million items in the Hathi Trust collection.
So while the 6-part series may be viewed as a commercial of sorts for Summon, I think you'll learn an awful lot about user perceptions and possible solutions by reading the posts. They're all pretty brief, and as I mentioned, backed up with citations to research, so lots of yellow-brick-road reading for you if you have the time.
Full disclosure: I currently sit on the Summon Advisory Board
Thanks to a post on The Federated Search Blog linking to this page: Articles on Discovery, part of a Google Sites "wiki" called Unified Resource Discovery Comparison. Definitely a well-rounded resource, and one I've just requested write-access to.
Missing from the list is a pre-print by Jason Vaughan called Investigations into Library Web Scale Discovery Services (PDF), to be published in an upcoming issue of Information Technology and Libraries. Get it while you can, as the site mentions the preprint will be removed once it hits paper.