Serials Solutions has a press release today to announce the development of a product called Access Control Service, which is a hosted authentication and proxy service. Last year OCLC announced they were going to offer a hosted version of EZProxy, to go into production sometime this year, but I haven't heard anything more about it since then.
I supposed I can see a market for Access Control Service, but EZProxy has always proven to be one of the most robust pieces of software in our entire library arsenal, and a wonderful bargain to boot (though I don't know what OCLC is charging for new customers these days). I guess it's good to have competition in this area, if only to drive innovation, but ezproxy is one product I'm nothing but happy about :-)
The first is a 1-page rebuttal of Gale's "Open Letter to the Library Community" posted earlier this week, "where Gale repeatedly references EBSCO and mischaracterizes our actions and intentions." Second is a 2-page document responding to questions posed to EBSCO by The International Coalition of Library Consortia in which you'll find a bigger list of titles in question (including, shockingly, Teddy Bear & Friends!). And finally, a brief response to Gladys Ann Wells, State Librarian of Arizona, who asked If EBSCO is the only vendor doing exclusive licenses. ("No. In fact, we weren’t the first and we see them being signed all the time by other vendors, with little or no media coverage.")
I wish we could easily track the going price of these aggregators - in response to questions about whether EBSCO will be raising prices to pay for their new exclusive content, Sam Brooks of EBSCO snipes at Gale, wondering "Now that they no longer have to pay for many very important publications, it will be interesting to see if they will be providing substantial discounts to their existing customers."
One of the topics of discussion at last week's Summon Advisory Board was the status of de-duping records returned by Summon. On the face of it it seems to be a simple issue - if the titles and authors match, throw the duplicate records out and you're good to go. The Summon technical team explained why it's a little harder than that though.
As we know, Summon collects metadata from multiple sources, and thus might pick up the same citation from 2, 3 or more publishers or aggregators. The problem is that different sources will include different information, and do you really want the tool (Summon) deciding which is the important information for you? I don't. Here's an example of a duplicate record:
There's no easy way to get a screen capture of the full record, so here's just the text of the first, then the second, and I've highlighted the unique components of each record.
Cloudy skies: assessing public understanding of global warming Authors: Sterman, John D and Sweeney, Linda Booth Publication Title: System Dynamics Review Date: 22/2002 Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Pages: 207 - 240 ISSN: 0883-7066 DOI: 10.1002/sdr.242 Language: English
Cloudy skies: assessing public understanding of global warming Authors: John D. Sterman and Linda Booth Sweeney Abstract Surveys show that most Americans believe global warming is real. But many advocate delaying action until there is more evidence that warming is harmful. The stock and flow structure of the climate, however, means wait and see policies guarantee further warming. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is now higher than any time in the last 420,000 years, and growing faster than any time in the past 20,000 years. The high concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) generates significant radiative forcing that contributes to warming... [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT] Publication Title: System Dynamics Review Date: 07/2002 Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Start Page: 207 ISSN: 0883-7066 Genre: Feature, Feature Subjects: Studies, Public good, Global warming, Public policy, Emissions, United States, Experimental/theoretical, Social policy, Pollution control Language: English
While the second record is obviously much more complete, the first one contains at least two pretty vital pieces of information the second is missing; the end page and the DOI.
So the problem the Summon team is working on is a way not so much to deduplicate, but to automatically merge these records. Progress is being made, but seeing it laid out like that made it more obvious why it's not just done already.
From the writeup at Library Technology guides: D2D allows users to search across multiple catalogs and targets to find items held by their library and library partners. Targets may include subscription databases and other options such as Google Books, WorldCat, and Amazon. The key to D2D is to optimize the user's ability to discover items of interest and get immediate access to or request delivery of the material with minimal or no intervention by library staff. Material may be supplied locally, from within a consortium or consortia or via traditional ILL. D2D supports the requesting, delivery and receipt of both returnable and non-returnable items. Delivery options include Ariel, Odyssey, Post-to-Web, email attachment, and fax.
I received an email last week that the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) is now available. You can learn more at http://www.ebscohost.com/discovery/ and there's a link to request a free trial at the top of the page. It looks like they've given it the same look as the EBSCOHost products, though there's mention that the colour scheme is skinnable. I can't find a list of their content partners on their site. Anyone already running this as a beta partner?
"Despite the best intentions of everyone involved with its creation and maintenance, and despite the high quality of many of our metadata records when examined in isolation, in the big picture, MultiPAC has demonstrated - perhaps for the first time - how much work will be needed to upgrade our metadata for a discovery system."
I'm really looking forward to the New Year to see how many metadata hurdles we can clear to make Summon a great product for our users.
My head's spinning a little right now. Just had a visit from someone in our DocDel dept. who was trying to track down a chapter from the 2nd revised edition of Encyclopedia of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, which our catalogue says we have through Ebrary. Except that the cited chapter had a publication date of 2006, while the 2nd revised edition Ebrary has is 2003, the original publication date. Odd.
A Google search on the chapter title leads to a page on Informaworld, but has a publication date of 15 August, 2006. backtracking to the main page for the publication shows an Original Publication Date of 23 April, 2003, but a Last Updated date of 23 April 2007. And there's a tab at the top leading to Recent Updates, which means this book is not a static title, but a dynamically-updated one.
On the one hand I love this idea, this is how to keep things up to date. On the other hand, we purchased this title from Ebrary, not Informaworld, and as a result we have the dead version of the book, and thus no way to access the chapter requested by our patron!
This is the first time I've run across this - is it more common than I realize? I wonder if the Informaworld version was more expensive than the Ebrary version we bought?
I recently learned through a colleague of this wonderful database comparison tool from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the UK - the Academic Database Assessment Tool (ADAT). "This site from JISC Collections aims to help libraries to make informed decisions about future subscriptions to bibliographic and full text databases." You can use it to compare Journal Title Lists (with Venn diagrams!), features of different database platforms and eBook platforms. The information's not all perfectly up to date, but JISC lets you know exactly how old the data is. When you drill in to the "dashboard" for a given database you'll learn all sorts of interesting information about the content it covers, including total number of titles, publication types (trade, scholarly, magazine, etc), worldwide distribution of the title list's countries of publication, top 10 languages occuring in the database, and top 10 occuring publishers. Neat site - check it out.
Over at the Federated Search Blog, Sol has a great post called Discovering discovery services, where he explains what these new search products are, how they work, and how they differ from Federated Search. I'll be including a link to this post when I introduce and open up our beta of Summon to our full staff later this week or next...
And what is EBSCO's role in this? Isn't a library's contract with EBSCO, not Harvard Business Publishing? Is EBSCO earning more revenue from this HBP license requirement to enable deep linking to article content? If so, isn't that just an incentive for EBSCO to do the same with other high-profile publishers?
To me it sounds as though we can complain all we like, but both EBSCO and Harvard are legally covered. I guess one more question is how much bad publicity do they want to receive over this policy?
"Harvard Business Review Notice of Use Restrictions, May 2009 Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact email@example.com."
He also mentioned that HBSP had leaned on his school and when they decided not to pay, EBSCO turned off the ability for them to create PURLs for that publisher.
So how does Harvard BSP know whether a given link is being used for "private individual use" or for within electronic reserves, electronic course packs, a syllabi, or within a learning management system? I guess if the link is openly available on a website they might come across it, but there should be no way they'd even be aware that a link was being used from within a learning management system, right?
I'll let you know when they contact us; has your school lost the ability to create persistent links to HBSP publications?