Hopefully, you should have noticed a few recent changes to the Electronic Journals A-to-Z.
- First, we’ve all but completed the summer campaign to improve the accuracy of the 60-odd individual e-journal package holding files. Di, Adele, Carole, Phil, Elif and I have been working through each package in turn and using the most up-to-date information from the publisher/provider to improve the A-to-Z holdings. One or two inconsistencies still to iron out, and it’ll never be entirely bug-free (please carry on sending any mistakes that you spot to email@example.com), but the quality of the data for our managed packages should be significantly better than it’s ever been. This review process is going to be [it's going to have to be] an annual event.
- Second, the ‘New e-journals at Lincoln‘ RSS feed has been updated through the summer to reflect the changes. Noting that EBSCO’s terms and conditions for use of the A-to-Z state that we ”may not distribute, encourage or allow distribution of [...] data updates“, I’m going to be restricting the RSS feed to just those packages where we, not EBSCO, are the source of the updated information (i.e. where we are managing the title lists directly). This includes the packages providing access to our individual title-level subscriptions: i.e. the ‘important stuff’.
- Third, and last of all, as I discussed with several people in my workshops at the L&LR awayday in June, I’ve revamped the A-to-Z home page ready for the start of the 09/10 session…
As discussed in those workshops, I’ve taken a ‘just do it!’ approach. It’s not the finished article by any means – I’m relying on your initial and ongoing criticism, comments and ideas to take it forward – but we agreed: better to make changes then tweak as appropriate, rather than discuss ouselves into inaction.
Compare with the old home page (below):
The changes / new features include (hopefully these will ring bells with those of you who took part in the discussions):
- Generally – the aim has been to make the site more clean and simple.
- The page ‘header’ – extraneous information (and slightly excitable formatting!) removed – just the name of the application (there was some discussion about dropping ’Electronic Journals A-to-Z’ in favour of ’E-journals Catalogue’ or similar, but now’s probably not the time for that) and the strapline with the number of titles.
- The navigation tabs – I had hoped (and people had agreed) to reduce these to a minimum, replacing most of them (advanced search, subjects, etc.) with lower-profile links further down the page, but I encountered a problem – if I use A-to-Z admin to ‘hide’ a tab, it becomes impossible to link to that tab elsewhere. This is weird, and unfortunate in the extreme – unfortunately it’s something we’re stuck with for the time being. Inevitably, I’ve ended up adding to the number of tabs – as well as a new tab for the new home page, there’s also now a ‘Log in‘ tab which routes the user through Athens (and back to the homepage), which ought to help us to troubleshoot users’ full-text access problems.
- A big, unmissable search box. Needs a better search button graphic, but it does at least now include a search tip (to subtly reinforce the idea that users should be searching for journal titles here).
- See also the sentence on using the e-Library for initial subject keyword searching – could we / should we expand on this?
- More options – links to the other A-to-Z pages. I had intended these to replace the tabs entirely, but see (2). Maybe, given that, we don’t actually need these extra links?
- Still to come – a screencast video showing the user how to use the A-to-Z in the context of a literature search. I’ll blog when that’s ready. Also need to revamp the ‘Help’ tab more generally.
So – what do people think?