SerialsSolutions User Meeting & News

On Wednesday March 11th, I spent the day at SerialsSolutions in Fremont (Seattle) with other clients to discuss implentations ideas of their products.  Here are some ideas worth sharing (maybe!):

Keyword of the Day = “Discovery”.  “Discovery” is about taking our library to our patrons so that they can search our resources easily.  We have often thought that the best way to do this is through our OPAC.  SS suggests that in fact, our primary online asset is our web site.  I came away with a list of implementation ideas and best uses for 360 Search, 360 Link, and our eJournal Portal to work on with Colleen Brazil & Mike Longley.

Users perceive that library resources are the most credible, quality content and are preferred for research and assignments.  HOWEVER, Google is fast and easy so that is where they go.  We need to digitize, describe, and highlight our unique collections.  We need to use our site to provide outreach to our patrons.  We need to get the most value possible from our electronic resources.    In most library systems, the Electrnic Services Coordinator is in the Technical Services or Information Technology departments.  I think our Organizational Chart, putting this position and it’s responsibilities under Services, puts us ahead of the game in thinking about incorporating our users and user perceptions in our quest to provide best service.

In the coming weeks, we will be surveying our Reference Staff for comments, feedback, ideas, rants and raves to improve the “Research Tools” section of our web site.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!

Consumer Reports Trial, part II

We have a trial of Consumer Reports website, with content that is only available to subscribers, through April. 

To Login to the Free Trial:

Go to:

User Id:




Please let a member of the Reference Services Committee know what you thought of this product.  We meet in May and will make a decision at that time.

And just a reminder.  Trial information is not to be shared with patrons.  It’s ok to use this trial to answer reference questions, but the login information for staff use only.

The Holy Grail – Google for Libraries

SerialSolutions is developing a new product that claims to be the “Google for Libraries” that we’ve all been describing in our wildest dreams.  And from what the beta demo shows, they are getting very close.  The key is pre-harvested data for speed, and a system built from the ground up to meet demands, instead of layered on top of vendor search mechanisms, as federated searching does.

Check it out on your own:

Reference Departmental Cards

There’s some confusion about how the Reference Departmental Card should be used.  Please take a look at the guidelines found on the intranet.  Of particular note:

All circulating materials borrowed for reference staff use in answering reference questions are held for and checked out to the reference departmental card. This card may also be used when requesting circulating materials from the Service Center’s Professional Collection.

The key words here are answering reference questions, so this card shouldn’t be used for book discussions, programming, or anything else.

Alexander Street Press Needs Review

We need your help in evaluating the content and value of our Alexander Street Press products throughout 2009!

There is some outstanding information, in addition to the unique streaming content, inside these products.  However, are marketing and linking attempts are not improving their usage or reducing the cost per use.  Jim McCluskey and I would really like to coordinate some user feedback by the time our next renewal comes up in November of this year.  Please spread the word and comment here on these products:

Find It Services Discontinued

From WSL Updates:

Due to budget cut-backs WSL will be discontinuing the Find-It! Washington and Find-It! Consumer search services effective May 1, 2009. Our license from Google expires then and we will not be able to renew it.

We know that some of you depend on Find-It! for finding Washington State government information. We are very sorry that we have to do this, but the financial situation has made necessary many cuts we would not otherwise have contemplated.