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Re: SilverLinker from SilverPlatter -- Lesley Tweddle Stephen D. Clark 26 Jun 2000 12:27 UTC

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: SilverLinker from SilverPlatter -- Peter Scott
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 13:32:12 +0300
From: Lesley Tweddle <>
Organization: American University in Cairo

We are planning to have a trial of SilverLinker, and I'd be glad to
report on it to you, or to the List.  But I'd also like to enlarge this
topic into a comparison of other electronic aggregator services from the
serials librarian's viewpoint, i.e. knowing what's being offered,
ordering it, and maintaining the subscription / dealing with the

The structure of these aggregator services is loosening up.  Sometimes
it's difficult to know what's being offered (I have the SilverLinker
flier beside me, and it seems to assume I already know _what_ it is, and
just need to be told how _good_ it is!).

Let me set out some of the categories of electronic aggregators as I
understand them now, from the point of view of a serials librarian not a
reference librarian:

Some of the differentiating elements are:
--all // some // no full text // mixture
--access to articles by subject only // to journals by title also
--access // no access to list of journals included in database
--closely related to print equivalent(s) // new entity
--cost: less than // same as // more than print equivalent(s)
--clarity of the manufacturer's description of the product
--efficiency of the manufacturer in providing the product on a
subscription basis, offering customer contact, etc.

You'll notice I haven't said anything about URLs in the bib record,
because we haven't got around to that.  We depend on our readers to dive
into the databases and deal with each on its own terms.  So perhaps
another differentiating element, that I don't yet know about, is
--greater // lesser ease of importing the individual URLs into the
Library's bibliographic database.

Anyway, this is my primitive start.

electronic versions of print bibliographies like PAIS, give you abstract
// citation access to the titles indexed.  You can reach a list of those
titles quite easily.  CSA gives you a link to show if the document's in
your own library catalog.  The cost of these e-databases tends to be the
same as or greater than their print equivalents.

Aggregator services like EBSCOHOST (and others I don't have personal
experience of) are a mixed bag of abstract-only titles and full-text
titles.  A list that shows which titles are abstract only and which are
full text is fairly easy to view.  I haven't compared the cost of such
services with the print equivalents of their full-text titles, but
judging simply by the number of full-text journals they include, the
aggregator package costs less than you'd pay for the print equivalents -
though your library might not actually select those particular print
titles to subscribe to in the real world.

Services like PROJECT MUSE, the IEEE Computer Society's CSLSP-e, the ACM
DIGITAL LIBRARY are publisher-based, give you full-text for all the
titles included in your bundle, and the list of the titles in your
bundle may or may not be easy to view. The cost is roughly the same as
the print subscriptions.

Some publishers have not got around to offering e-access as a separate
paid subscription but are still at the stage of linking it to existing
print subscriptions, which can still mean a sizeable bundle if you get a
lot of journals from one publisher.

Serials vendors' own e-interface to any journal you subscribe to in
print (and although you still have to sign a lot of license agreements,
they collect them for you).  I've set up two examples of this kind of
citation // abstract access to many journals we don't subscribe to, but
full-text access depends on our having a print subscription.  (2) with
EBSCO: theirs is full text e-access just to those print titles we
subscribe to through them.

Now, does SilverLinker fit into any of the above categories, or is it a
different thing entirely?

If we compare notes in this forum, could it lead to improvements in the
products or customer service?  The response of one provider of
electronic access to the MLA Bibliography, when I first complained about
the exclusion of the List of Journals Indexed, was more or less "boil
your head"; but a couple of years later they'd obviously had enough
similar complaints to see the light.  The ACM also responded to the
brief agony-exchange here a short while ago.

In any case, I would love to know more about other serials librarians'
experiences of managing these electronic subscriptions.

Lesley Tweddle
Head, Serials Department
American University in Cairo Librry