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Christina Pikas
part of this Merck-Elsevier bs is from people mistaking *publisher name* for authority, this wasn't a journal, this was a marketing leaflet
fair enough - but it still rankles when someone in the comments on boing boing is like "the library told me i should use science direct as a database but now i'm not" - i'm sure the library said no such thing, thank you very much - Christina Pikas
Christina - you should be in some of the info. lit sessions I've witnessed with my students (I teach composition). They definitely get the message that this is a database that is "safe" to use for sources (as in, those sources will be good for their academic papers). When students are writing a research paper, they are using multiple cognitive processes for both the writing and the research aspects of the project while taking in new information. This is a lot to balance, cognitively speaking. That they come away with that message does not surprise me. - Katy S
I'm going to come down on Katy's side here. The sessions on how to use the library, especially the ones conducted by the librarians themselves, were always focused on the databases that you could search there. No one I know started their search at the library website, though. They started with Pubmed or Google. I always hated it when a link directed me back to the library's site, because you had to click through a forest of popup windows and crufty old interfaces to find anything going through the library's site. - Mr. Gunn
Christina, why shouldn't the library recommend Science Direct? - Steele Lawman
I looked for these Australasian j's in our sciencedirect. Did they get pulled? What is their URL? - Joe
Shadow Steve, the problem is that students see SD as a db, not a service that covers more than 1 mega publisher. - Joe
here's a pdf of one of the issues http://images.the-scientist.com/pdfs... - maʀtha
So you guys would never advise a student to search SD directly? Does "database" mean something more than "place to find citations and articles?" I may be jargon-deficient. - Steele Lawman
I've noticed that words like "database" or "index" mean nothing to my students. They tend to glom onto brand names. If I ask them where they searched, they say, "I searched EBSCO" and have no idea which EBSCO database they were in. - maʀtha
Martha, makes sense, as our "databases" list at my school has everything from Science Direct to Artstor to Google Scholar to Gale Virtual Reference books. - Steele Lawman
We recommend SD on the grounds that it has full text, and recommend other databases on the grounds that they have different advantages. Sometimes I call it a "place to find journal articles" instead of a "database" because I'm anti-jargon like that. - Deborah Fitchett
sd is a digital library, a collection of journals and books, not a research database. i always start people in inspec, compendex, aerospace & high tech, etc., and then they can very easily use sfx to get to sd articles. i would never start someone in a single vendor platform if they have a topical search. (even if it's IEEE Xplore). but i'm a snob that way, i guess. - Christina Pikas
I use the term "database" (as does my library website) as the umbrella term to cover indexes, journal collections, etc. And I tend to send undergrads to SD when they say things like "we have full text for nothing I'm finding in PubMed and the paper is due tomorrow." I tell them that SD won't necessarily have the best articles, but at least they will be in full text. - Steele Lawman
In reading this, felt compelled to check OhioLINK catalog to see if it was in the state. Fortunately no. http://bit.ly/CtCJt - Peter Murray
Let me add a non-librarian user's perspective. If I'm going to start a search for a journal article, I'm not going to start at the library's website, I'm going to start at Google or Pubmed or Arxiv. I don't care which database the journal article is in, and I really don't think I should even be presented with the information. I just want a link to either the specific article I'm looking for, or a set of hits for the search terms. You can use an icon to indicate whether the item is full text, print only, or whatever, but don't make me choose from a bunch a different databases organized according to publishing company, and not according to stuff I care about like full text subject matter. - Mr. Gunn
@Mr Gunn - right, we encourage our users to have the LibX toolbar going so they can click the PMID and go straight to the full text (if off campus, slight detour through enterprise directory login). Google, PubMed, and Arxiv are all not publisher specific so if they work for you, fine, but i think inspec would be much more precise than ArXiv for the same content. - Christina Pikas
And just using Google, it will be very difficult to tell if you have access to stuff you find even if you have a LibX toolbar. Not saying I *like* this state of affairs, just saying that Google isn't always the best tool for the job. - Steele Lawman
I agree, Steve, Google's not the best tool for the job, but the problem of not knowing if you've got access to something shouldn't be the end user's problem. These different databases and different access rights are complications deriving from the database provider's attempts to monetize their database, yet these arrangements cause problems for the end user. Here's the crucial point - these databases provide value relative to a card catalog, but not relative to the way people have now learned to search on the web. Yet for some reason, it seems the library world is still stuck in the old paradigm of complex searches and different interfaces. Why can't there be an abstraction layer over all this stuff? Why should the database publisher's problems of monetizing their content be forced onto the end user? - Mr. Gunn
If you are looking for a journal article, you should start with http://scholar.google.com ... - Joe
Librarians know that Scholar searches articles that are blocked by the regular Google DB, but many researchers don't know that... - Joe
@mr gunn - that's right, you shouldn't have to deal with this crap - at my larger institution we're trying to figure out how to do a discovery layer over the catalog, the ir, the federated search... we're not *aiming* for google, we know that we can be better at exploratory search, known item search, and everything in between so we're working with our users to get there, but it's really, really, really hard - Christina Pikas
I understand, Christina. Solving problems that you didn't create is never fun. - Mr. Gunn