New Feature Adds Table of Contents Display to Serials Solutions

Using the API from Browzine, we were able to customize the Serials Solutions e-journal portal so that search results will display links to tables of contents for scholarly journals.

Example: search results page for American Quarterly

Search results page

Example: table of contents display in Browzine for American Quarterly

Sample table of contents in Browzine

Caveats

  • Browzine only provides tables of contents for scholarly journals (and not every single one).
  • Browzine does not provide tables of contents for magazines (including Harvard Business Review)
  • The tables of content available usually go back to 2005; if you need older issues, the “All” link on the Browzine page for the journal will take you back to the Serials Solutions page for the journal so you can navigate into a landing page in a database to browse issues there.

In the coming months, we’ll explore integration of the Browzine elsewhere in our systems.

Slow or No Performance in the E-Journal Portal

Yesterday, we saw the return of a recurring problem with the e-journal portal. Searches took forever or sometimes failed to go through at all. This morning, the system seems to be fine again. The vendor (Serials Solutions) emailed customers yesterday to let us know that they were aware of the intermittent problems over the past 9 months and are still working to permanently fix them.

In case this problem crops up again, we can use a newly developed e-journal tool from SFX that works the same way. This tool is something that the SFX Committee at CUNY is going to be looking at and exploring (is the knowledgebase behind it as accurate and user friendly as the one from Serials Solutions? can the interface be customized as much as the Serials Solutions one? etc.). It is not a replacement, just a back up tool we can use when the Serials Solutions e-journal portal is acting up.

New Interface for Online Journal Search

Today, we switched over to the new interface for the system used to locate online access for specific periodicals (the actual product is the “E-Journal Portal” from Serials Solutions, although we don’t brand it that way on our website). Typically, users will see this interface once they’ve run a search in the yellow search bar for “Journals” or for “Newspapers + Magazines.” As has been the case in the past, direct access to the interface can be also be found on the library website:

  • Under the “Faculty” menu, select “Journals (online”
  • On the “Help” page, there are links in the “How do I find…” section

In addition to a cleaner, more modern design, this new interface offers a number of new features.

Auto-suggest

If you start your search in the e-journal portal interface (as opposed to starting your search in the yellow search bar on the library home page), you’ll see as you type matching periodical titles:

Auto-suggest in e-journal portal

A larger search box

A longer box to enter titles makes it much easier for the user to type and makes the interface feel less cramped.

Limiters for peer-review and for open access

On the search results page, you can refine y the results for items that are peer-reviewed or open access.

Search results page with peer-review and open access limiters

Better error messages for null search results

If the user’s query generates no hits, there is a new error message that should be more intuitive than the old one.

Null search error message on results page

If you encounter any problems with this new interface, please let me or Mike Waldman know so that we can get in touch with the vendor.

Problem with the A-Z Journals Search Tool

Lots of Serials Solutions customers are reporting a problem right now that we’re also seeing: if you search for a journal, you won’t be able to click through to all of the search results pages. Here’s a screenshot of an example of the problem:

SerSol index problem

 

You can see this search problem live for yourself with this search results page for “technology,” where I’ve gone to the end of the available search results but logic would suggest there should be more (such as journals that begin with the letter T).

Knowing Serials Solutions, I’d guess that this problem will probably get fixed later today.

Problems with Westlaw Campus and Serials Solutions

If you go to our Serials Solutions A-Z journal tool and find a link for a journal into Westlaw Campus, you’ll find that the link doesn’t work. You get to a Westlaw page that says:

The value of your SP parameter, SPPARM, has not been registered.

If you know your Westlaw password, click here to sign on to westlaw.com

I’ve contacted Mike Waldman about the problem, who is looking into and has in the meanwhile put this message next to links to Westlaw in search results in Serials Solutions:

Link not working at this time. Please connect directly to database via Databases page

So if you’ve found in Serials Solutions that the journal needed is in Westlaw, you’ll want to launch Westlaw directly via the databases page and then use the “publications list” feature in the Westlaw interface to drill down to the journal.

UPDATE: Problem fixed.