A Conversation About Upcoming Access Changes to Online Journals

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Jonathan Lord, Head of Collection Development & Management, and David Moody, Webmaster, talk about the reason behind upcoming access changes to the Library’s online journals.  The changes will come about on December 3rd when the Library switches over to the University’s online resources management vendor, Serials Solutions, for maintenance of its alphabetic list of eJournals.

Why the changes?

Jonathan: To provide a better system for keeping ejournal access reliable and up-to-date.  eJournals are tough to manage, as they can switch publishers, cease publishing, and change names.  And any kind of change can, and will, affect access.  What we have now is a very static list that we maintain in-house that requires us to monitor and respond to title changes.  On Monday, December 3rd, we will be utilizing the University’s serials management vendor, Serials Solutions, to maintain that list, which is now over 1,700 titles.  Serials Solutions will automate the whole process.

David: From a technical perspective, having Serials Solutions maintain our ejournal content also solves proxy access problems.  Last spring, the University moved to a new proxy, EZproxy.  EZproxy is “baked into” the Serials Solutions database.  Therefore, all the proxy management issues happen in one place, resulting in a more stable system.

Jonathan: The bottom line is that patrons will get a much more reliable list of journal titles, both from the standpoint of title maintenance and proxy access.

Will the user experience any changes?

Jonathan: For one thing, to start out with there will be no subject list.  Serials Solutions uses a selective list of subject headings assigned by each publisher for each title.  However, we have determined that the subject list is incomplete, so we are not going to turn it on until it becomes more robust.  For example, not all nutrition journals will display because some publishers might select Nutrition as a subject heading and others might select Diet.  Currently, Serials Solutions doesn’t have control over what subjects the publisher selects.  Therefore, it’s possible that not all journal titles from our collection will display when doing a subject search.  We’ll work with them to see if changes can be made to the subject selection process. In the meantime, patrons can get a subject list by using other tools that we will be pointing to.

David: We are also interested in determining how important subject searching is to our patrons.  We’ll do this through user testing and listening to patron feedback.

Any other changes?

Jonathan: Links to impact factors from the journal title list will go away, although they will still be available from the Journal Citation Reports database.

David: Again, we feel that more reliable access and currency is more important to our patrons than the subject heading list and ready access to the impact factors.  If we find out we are wrong, we will make the necessary adjustments through the use of other tools or custom in-house adjustments.

Jonathan: It also seems that impact factors are needed only at certain times of the year whereas content in our online journals are access hundreds of times a day.  We will explore ways to facilitate access to impact factors outside of the online journal list.

How will the new HSL journal list compare to the University Libraries’ journal list?

David: The primary difference is simply the number of journals.  The University Libraries’ list contains over 35,000 titles in many disciplines.  Our list of approximately 4,000 titles will be tailored specifically to those titles related to the health sciences.

Jonathan:  HSL patrons needing to perform a more comprehensive journal search can still use Virgo or the Find@UVA database, which is a comprehensive listing of all journal titles licensed by the University.

Future plans?

David:  We’ll know that once we do some user testing.

Jonathan: And gather feedback.  I’m looking forward to working closely with Serials Solutions to help improve their product.  As a company, they have always been responsive to customer needs as they were started by a librarian and employ several librarians.  After we work through some things, this will be a much better product than we have now.

David: I agree.  We are taking this in a smart direction.

Contact Information:

Jonathan Lord (jml4s@virginia.edu)

David Moody (dam8u@virginia.edu)

Further Information:

Journal Citation Reports: http://admin-apps.webofknowledge.com/JCR/JCR?PointOfEntry=Home&SID=4E6J7O4JGB@naE6Eoaa

Find@UVA: http://guides.lib.virginia.edu/journalfinder


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