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Online Work load vs Print -- responses (Michael Lampley) Ercelawn, Ann 18 Dec 2007 15:04 UTC

Date:    Mon 17 Dec 2007 10:21:25 AM EST

From:    Michael <>

Subject:    RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Below are the responses I got to my question. I'll leave it to you to
make your own judgments.

There was a sidebar discussion regarding an e-journal checking program
presented at the Charleston Conference. I'll leave it to the presenters
to discuss that on the list if they feel it is something they want to

For the record, that system cannot follow a link to determine whether a
particular link goes to the article or a table of contents. My feeling
on such a system is it cannot exist in a meaningful way unless
significant numbers of publishers get on board with metadata and such.


Date:  Mon 10 Dec 2007 04:20:35 PM EST

From:  Mark Bazzetta <>

Subject:  RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

>From the responses you received on this topic, do you get a sense that
some people might pay for a service to do all the manual checks?

I'm a subscription agency and am always looking for value-added services
I could provide.



Mark J. Bazzetta

SerialHive LLC

(P) 773.244.2487

(F) 773.913.0680

Date:  Tue 04 Dec 2007 12:42:12 PM EST

From:  Bluhm-Stieber, Hella

Subject:  RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Hello Michael,

Most of the time I find out by accident that a link is not working, I

have the time to systematically go through our whole list. I think
10-25% is

a good estimate. I feel that the checking could be done by
non-librarians if

they have exact instructions on what to test. Of course they need to be

familiar with online access. The trouble-shooting is often so

that librarians or technical specialists need to do it.

Good luck,


Hella Bluhm-Stieber, MLIS, AHIP

Medical Librarian

Milton J. Chatton Medical Library

Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System

751 S. Bascom Ave.

San Jose, CA 95128

(408) 885-5654

Fax (408) 885-5655


Date:  Mon 03 Dec 2007 09:40:48 AM EST

From:  Barbara Pope <>

Subject:  Re: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

If the task is just something like checking links to verify they work

and the dates and making notes of problems, why not get a good student

worker to do it? I know it's a boring task, but it's also one that would

not require a lot of training to do. If one does not work, of course you

or one of the other staff should be the one to fix it. I am getting

ready to hire a student worker to do exactly this kind of work, among

other tasks.


Barbara Pope, MALS

Periodicals/Reference Librarian

Axe Library

Pittsburg State University

1701 S. Broadway

Pittsburg KS 66762



Date:  Fri 30 Nov 2007 09:42:19 AM EST

From:  Rothbaum, Ellen <>

Subject:  RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Dear Michael:

Please summarize any replies to the list. We too struggle with this

problem. With titles subscribed through EBSCO, we follow up when we get

their journal announcements for additions/drops/changes. Otherwise, we

make changes as our staff or patrons inform us of problems. I realize

that this is viable only because our staff is small, and our patrons

have no hesitation about informing us of problems.

I do not have a good feel for the accuracy of our links. Some titles

are rarely used, so more of those might be incorrect. The most

frequently used ones probably are accurate at least 95 percent of the


Good luck!


Ellen Rothbaum, MS, AHIP

Assistant Director

Daniel Carroll Payson Medical Library

North Shore University Hospital

300 Community Drive

Manhasset, NY 11030

Voice: (516) 562-3424

Fax: (516) 562-2865


Date:  Fri 30 Nov 2007 09:26:55 AM EST

From:  van Sickle, Jennifer <>

Subject:  RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Hello Michael,

This seems very labor intensive. I find that it's more beneficial to

wait for someone to report a broken link, since I get an idea of which

journals are being used (or not used). We also have Serials Solutions,

which takes care of much of the behind the scenes maintenance. I think

TDNet is another journal management system.

You will probably hear from others re: robots that check links, but I

have not used these.

Hope this helps!



Jennifer van Sickle

Serials Librarian & Sciences Coordinator

Trinity College Library

300 Summit St.

Hartford, CT USA 06106

phone: 860-297-2250

fax: 860-297-2251

Date:  Fri 30 Nov 2007 09:21:32 AM EST

From:  Fazio, Patricia <PFazio@camdencc.eduTo:

Subject:  RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print


Great question. I'd like to hear the replies to this question as well.
Also, I find that links I set up with individual publishers work when I
set them up, but when I try again a few months later there will be a
problem. Here is one I had recently: Has anyone found that some
publishers who agree to give online access if you buy the print
subscription will then hold off on sending the electronic content to the
intermediary? I have 2 journals that have not provided (last I looked,
which was a few weeks ago) 2007 content to Ingenta! I emailed the
publisher, but got a customer service run around. These things then take
time to pursue the correct person and complain that they should live up
to their agreement.

If you are able, can you summarize the replies for the group?

Thank you,

Patricia Fazio

Collection Development Librarian

Camden County College

Blackwood, NJ 08012

856 227 -7200 x4402


Date:  Fri 30 Nov 2007 09:04:10 AM EST

From:  Elizabeth Appleton <>

Subject:  RE: Online Work load vs Print

Hello Michael,

We have been working on a similar project which we have entitled "link
checking." We've been doing basically the same thing: generating lists
of titles organized by publisher host and having students go through
these title by title, verifying that the access is what we say it is on
our E-journals A to Z listing (we have SerialsSolutions AMS).

My perception of our error rate is closer to 10%-15%, with most of those
errors being that our listing reflects less access than we actually have
(the list says 1997 when our access actually goes back to 1995, etc.).
This varies by publisher host more than at the title level.

To be blunt, this task is absolutely mind numbing--the only skills
needed for it are clicking a mouse, being able to tell what does and
doesn't "match," and being able to stay awake while doing so. I've told
a few systems vendors (Swets, SerialsSolutions, etc.) about the need to
automate this--to my knowledge nothing like this exists yet. I hope they
come out with something soon!

My opinion is that skilled staff members' time (I'm talking both
librarians and paraprofessionals) can be better put to use. We have our
student workers on the circulation desk do about an hour of link
checking per shift, and then turn in any problems the come across to me.
I'm still finalizing the process (since we just started doing this in
October), but I foresee that as we get more comfortable with this, the
paraprofessional in charge of managing serials will do the initial
maintenance on the problems and pass the "big ones" on to me.

Best of luck! I hope you summarize for the list.


Betsy Appleton

From: Lila Ohler [mailto:]

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 22:48:39 -0500

Subject: RE: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Hi Michael,

Yes, there are other ways to do this work, and staff other than

can do it.

I struggled with this same problem while I was at the University of

Oklahoma, and struggle with it now at the University of Maryland. The

challenge is to find some consistent and controlled mechanism to track

subscription titles that include access, and past that, to incorporate

verification of access into the normal workflow of staff.

While at OU, the serials staff and I were able to capitalize on the

system functionality to set up serial controls for each of the online

title subscriptions we should be receiving. We let the system randomly

select expected dates on a twice yearly issue pattern. A claim report

online location titles could be generated on a weekly basis to capture

issues that the system identified as "late." With this report, the

staff who traditionally worked with print resources could track each

and test the access for our coverage dates through the public access

If they found a problem with one title, they then would check other

from that publisher to determine if the problem was widespread. If

were found that they could not easily address, they would then forward

to their supervisor, and/or on to me depending on the severity of the


>From the basis of the statistics we had started and before I left OU, I

calculated that we were encountering problems with about 25% of the

we checked, so your estimates are exactly what I have experienced. These

grouped into four primary categories:

* content not accessible due to hosting site changes or titles moving

between publishers

* coverage expanded or limited due to changes in subscription order

access or licensed archival access to which we were entitled

* new titles needing registration or follow up on licensing

* IP ranges that needed correction with the publisher.

As you corresponded with me briefly some months ago and more recently

corresponded with Mark Hemhauser who works with me at the University of

Maryland, you know that we are using Aleph as you are. And that we have

struggled with the limitations of the serial control functionality with

system. I would be very interested to know if you are able to implement

of serial controls in Aleph to support this kind of work, as I am

investigating that myself.

That said, there are two other alternatives of which I am aware for

this kind of work.

First some libraries have been able to extract the titles and coverage

statements from the profiles of their link resolver or PAM utilties and

that into an access database to generate a list of titles to hand off to

staff for checking.

And second, Elizabeth Winter at Georgia Technical University has created

tool to use for this as well. At the most recent Charleston Conference

Emery of UT Austin highlighted this as one alternative to use, and

that we could contact Elizabeth for details about it.

Please don't hesitate to contact me off list or call if you have any


Hope this helps!


Lila (Angie) Ohler

Head of Acquisitions

University of Maryland Libraries

McKeldin Library

College Park, MD 20742-7011


Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 4:34 PM


Subject: [SERIALST] Online Work load vs Print

Hi All,

One of my practices as a Serials Librarian is to verify that online

to already purchased and activated journals remains activated and

at the article level. I evaluate e-journal titles hosted on any given

publisher site but do not check those links to aggregator databases like

Academic Search Complete and such. I make sure that what the publisher

turned on is within our holdings statements and that I can get article

access. I do this title by title because I don't know of a robot or link

checker that actually verifies that I am getting into an article not a

of contents, offer to buy the article, or some other non-article page.

My practice is to generate a list of titles by publisher host site and

go through our OPAC clicking on links until I've viewed the oldest and

newest article I believe I should have access to. My best estimate is

10 to 25 percent of titles have some kind of difficulty that requires my


My questions are these: Is there a better way to make sure I have the

I am supposed to have? And if others do it the same way I do, is 10 to

percent your perception of the error rate? And finally, is it your

that this activity requires from non-librarian staff a higher skill

than troubleshooting print? Or, asked another way, is this something

can do or should it be left to a librarian?

Your thought will be appreciated.

Michael Lampley

Serials Librarian

Texas Christian University

TCU Box 2984000

2913 West Lowden St.

Fort Worth, TX 76129

817 257 6485