Category Archives: Research Databases

Need a scholarly journal article, rent it

Wired Campus reports on DeepDyve, a company that deals in scholarly publishing with a Netflix-like rental model. It offers articles from traditional publishers as well as open access sources.  Open access articles can be viewed for free while individual “premium” articles (from traditional publishers) can be rented for 24 hour period.  Rental prices start at 99 cents. It’s important to note that articles cannot be printed or downloaded, only viewed on screen.

As with Netflix, monthly subscriptions are available: $9.99/20 articles OR $19.99/unlimited articles.


Some of the things I noticed while searching:

–It does not understand DOIs.  Plugging a DOI into the search box won’t find your article like CrossRef would. In some cases it would list the DOI in the citation, so I knew it was there, but finding it using the search was fruitless.

–The date of publication on some (maybe, all?) records pulled from Medline are wrong.  This could be a simple fix.  DeepDyve appears to be incorrectly using Medline’s DA field (date created) as the date of publication instead of using the DP field (date of publication).  Could make cause confusion for those who require accurate citations.

Here’s an example article that appears in both DeepDyve and Medline:

Frost, R., Hartl, T., Christian, R., & Williams, N. (1995). The value of possessions in compulsive hoarding: patterns of use and attachment. Behaviour Research And Therapy, 33(8), 897-902. (view publisher’s citation)

Deep Dyve’s record has the publication date as being December 6, 1995 while the Medline record has it as November 1995. Here’s part of the field view from Medline that shows where DeepDyve’s date originated:

PMID- 7487849
DA  – 19951206
DCOM- 19951206
VI  – 33
IP  – 8
DP  – 1995 Nov
TI  – The value of possessions in compulsive hoarding: patterns of use and attachment.
PG  – 897-902
SO  – Behav Res Ther. 1995 Nov;33(8):897-902.

–Speaking of citations, where are they? No nicely formatted APA or AMA citations here.  Most of the elements you’ll need will be there, just check the date (see above), or run it through CrossRef to verify. There is also a “Download from publisher” link that should take you to the publisher or source.

–The adjustable document viewer can switch quickly into fullscreen mode and offers zoom control. The big buttons to navigate from page to page are nice and easy to hit.

The service is listed as being in beta so expect kinks along the way.  Will be interested to see how it develops.

Library database search box widgets

A growing number of library database providers are making customizable search box widgets available to subscribers. Vendors like Ebsco, Gale, Proquest, and Facts on File all simplify the process of adding a search box to a website (or CMS like Blackboard) into a few steps  that result in “copy and paste” code.

I mentioned Ebsco’s tool previously.  Here are a few more vendors I came upon recently for my library:

Do you know of others?

Roll your own Ebscohost search box

I saw today that Ebsco support has added a Search Box Builder [Update July 2009: here’s an updated link directly to the tool] for those interested in creating a search box widget for Ebscohost databases that can be dropped into any webpage. The builder form asks you to enter a variety of parameters and then generates code that you can copy and paste into your site.

To construct your form you will need to:

  • select which Ebscohost databases are to be searched
  • enter proxy server information (if any)
  • choose search limit options (full text, scholarly journals, etc.)
  • select a style from the style gallery (three choices)

That’s it. For libraries that maintain a substantial collection of Ebsco databases, I can see this tool being used to create subject-specific search forms that can be placed on “research by subject” pages on a library site.  Here’s a full text search box for two databases at my library, Academic Search Premier and MasterFILE Premier.  [May not work if you’re at home or if your institution does not subscribe to these two databases]

Ebsco improves RSS features

Generating RSS feeds from Ebsco database search results just got easier. Now all you need to do is click the “Create alert for this search” link after running a search to generate a feed to the results. Ebsco search results

The feed URL will display in a little popup window
Feed window and can then be taken to the feed reader of your choice.

Any limiting options that are set during the initial search (full text, peer reviewed, etc.) will carry over into the results displayed in the feed list. Ebsco has vastly improved this Ebscohost feature (although I wish the feed title could be edited.)

RSS tools galore

Mashable recently posted an “Ultimate RSS Toolbox” article that describes over 120 RSS-related viewers and utilities. I’m glad to see so many resources available that allow people to customize how they want their information delivered. My favorite viewer is the Sage plugin for Firefox. I like having the ability to jump directly to articles/posts and viewing them in my browser. The standalone readers I’ve tried either had an integrated browser or required me to jump back and forth from reader to browser.

Library vendors such as Ebsco are finally coming around and making steps in the RSS direction. Although the process in its current form is a bit cumbersome, users can extract customized feeds that show things such as search results or table of contents. Below is a table of contents feed for College and Research Libraries, a journal published by the Association of College & Research Libraries. [In order to view these articles you’ll need to be at an institution that subscribes to Ebsco’s Academic Search Premier database]: