When Everything Works But Still Fails: Federated Search Engines and Link Resolvers

As an Electronic Resources Librarian, I get to see all sorts of technical issues due to our various resources. Federated search engines and OpenURL link resolvers offer up a lot of interesting cases. But sometimes, it’s not their fault. Everything is actually working as intended, and yet the system still fails to deliver a full text article to our users.

An interesting case in point recently crossed my computer. The user had searched our federated search engine and found an article called “Music: Hip-Hop Nation” in Time magazine. The federated search engine identified that we should have full text access and provided a link. But when the user followed the link, it led to an error page.

So what happened?

Thinking that perhaps there was just an error in the link, I manually checked the source where the full text was supposed to be found. And there was indeed an entry for the article. Except, the title was “Hip-Hop Nation. (cover story).” The link resolver was trying to pass through the wrong title! But why?

That gets to the nature of how a federated search works. In order to find an article, it needs metadata about the article that tells it that it exists and where to find it. However, the companies that provide the full text don’t always share their metadata with the companies that make the federated search engines. They may be competitors, they may want money, they may want metadata in return; whatever the reason, they may not want to share their metadata.

Federated search engines get around this by, where possible, getting the metadata about an article from some third party that is more amenable to working with them. But, as in this case, just because two different places have created metadata for an article doesn’t mean they both did it in an identical way. Which leads to a metadata mismatch; the federated search engine knows about the article, and the full text source knows about the article, but they don’t agree on the details, and we end up with a frustrated user.

But in this case, that’s not the end of the story; there was yet another reason why the user couldn’t get the full text of the article; it didn’t actually exist in the full text source!

So why did the link resolver think that the full text of the article would be there?

In this case, the full text source was what’s known as an aggregator database; a resource, different from the original publisher, that aggregates content from thousands of different sources. The link resolver knows that full text exists by checking the year, volume, and issue of an article against an internal database of coverage dates for the magazine or journal where the article was published.

The problem arises, particularly with newspapers and magazines, when the original publisher may not have secured the rights to sell a particular article to the aggregator. This can mean that almost all of the content in a particular magazine issue may be available as full text, but one or two articles may be missing.

And that is likely what happened here.

Despite the federated search engine correctly identifying that the article existed, and the link resolver  identifying the correct full text source, in the end, the user left empty-handed.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story, because libraries have other tools, and in this case the user was able to request the article through our document delivery/inter-library loan service, providing a (slightly delayed) happy ending.


Harnessing the Power of WorldCat Local (Books & Media Worldwide)

Welcome to the new 2014 Spring semester! Now that classes are back in session let’s discuss some of the ways the library resources can help you find and organize sources for your papers and class projects.

Clicking the tab, “Books & Media Worldwide”, you will access WorldCat Local, an online catalog that not only gives you access to library materials at UConn but also gives you access to library materials from all around the world. For those materials not available in our library, you can request them through Interlibrary Loan through this interface. In addition, there are two more services that you may find useful using WorldCat: creating a profile and creating lists.

WordCat LocalCreating a profile in WorldCat allows you several advantages: You can create lists of resources (books, films, articles) which you can then share with your classmates/colleagues when working on a project or keep private when working on your own research. Another feature of lists is the Citation View, which displays your sources using the five more common citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and Harvard). Also, you can export your citations to RefWorks or EasyBib (citation management softwares), display the list in a webpage (HTML) which you can cut and paste into your paper or download a Word document with your list already formatted in your preferred citation style.

Another cool feature available with your profile is the ability to save successful searches (keywords specific to your research) which you can come back to periodically to see new books and/or other resources added to our collections, and much more. All useful tools available to you for free!!

For today, I will focus on how to create a new profile and how to create a list.

To create a WorldCat profile:

myaccounts1On the library website, click on the link, “My Accounts” on the upper right corner of the webpage.


On “My Accmyaccounts2ounts” page you will get a new page where you can create a new account or sign on to an existing one.






You will get a new page where you can worldcatsignoncreate a new account or sign in on an existing one. Creating an account is simple. Just pick a user name and password, type your email (we recommend your UConn email) and accept the terms of services and voila, you have created your new account/profile!


makealistCreating a list is very easy. First you need to search on the text box in WorldCat, e.g. “water scarcity”. On the result page you will see a list of results, which can be further filtered by format, year, author or language (on left side bar menu). createlistBut on the top of the result list, you have other options: Sorting By: which allows you to sort by library and relevance, Author (A-Z), etc. (right side corner) and Save to: [New List] (on top of your search results). Check the boxes for the books you want to place in your new list and then click Save. You will be asked to name the new list “Water Scarcity” and here you can decide if you want the list to be Public (viewable by anyone) or Private (viewable only by you), then click “Create New List”. Your list is created and you can come back anytime and add to this list every time you search this topic. There is no limit to how many lists you can created in WorldCat Local. You can also get access to all your list from the Save to drop down menu, so any time you search you can add new books to your lists or create a new one as needed.

To go back to your list(s), just visit your WorldCat profile. Here is my profile so you can see how it looks with lists, saved searches, etc…

wcprofileI hope this is useful for your projects and papers this semester! And remember, if you need help finding sources for paper/project, are stuck with your research or want to learn more about WorldCat Local, contact your subject librarians!! We are here to help you!

Product Spotlight

Counseling and Therapy in Video

Among the library’s collections of databases, Counseling and Therapy in Video is unique. Instead of the typical collection of journal articles, this database contains over 1000 hours of video. These videos are of therapy sessions, lectures, and dramatizations and are meant to be a training tool for students of psychology, counseling, and social work. Videos in this collection can be browsed by theme (ex. substance abuse), type of therapy (ex. dialectical behavior therapy), video type (ex. counseling session), or therapist. The videos feature many well-known psychologists, including Albert Bandura, Martin Seligman, and Derald Wing Sue.

The collection features videos that are valuable learning tools for support staff on college campuses, including counselors, mentors, and resident advisors. For example, “Empathy Training for Ethnic and Cultural Awareness” is a 45-minute video featuring several brief skits exemplifying the types of real-life cultural misunderstandings that can take place on a college campus. In one vignette, a student for whom English is a second language is fearful of participating in group assignments. In another scenario, ethnic tensions emerge between groups of African American and Black Caribbean students.

Students planning to enter the healthcare fields will also find this collection useful. In the two-part video “Legal and Ethical Issues for Mental Health Professionals”, actors in the roles of a journalist, clerk, and a state supreme court justice discuss several real cases to demonstrate the need for health professionals such as psychiatrists and nurses to clearly distinguish between confidentiality obligations and the legal duty to report certain crimes.

To access Counseling and Therapy in Video, search UConn Libraries’ alphabetical databases list: Off-campus users will be asked to log-in with their NetID and password.

Pivot–the most comprehensive search for grant funding opportunities

The Office of the Vice President of Research and the UConn Libraries have acquired Pivot, a database for grant funding opportunities. You can search for grant funding in all the major research areas in the social science, sciences and humanities. In addition, this is  a superb place to find potential collaborators through the Pivot Profiles, which provide information on over 3 millions scholars from around the world.

For those new to this product, a Pivot representative is coming to UConn to do a demonstration of all the features available in this database. This presentation is open for faculty, students and staff.

Mark your calendar!

Pivot Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Classroom Building Room 101
10:30am – noon

If you can’t wait to explore Pivot, visit the official site at http://pivot.uconn.edu/ There are also training videos on how to use Pivot on YouTube so check them out!

Marisol Ramos
Librarian for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, Spanish and Anthropology

Center of Research Libraries’ Services available to UConn Faculty

The Center of Research Libraries (CRL) is “an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries. Founded in 1949, CRL supports advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences by preserving and making available to scholars the primary source material critical to those disciplines.

UConn is a member institution, and therefore UConn (faculty, staff, and students) can borrow from the vast library of materials available at CRL for your research.

The collections at CRL, http://www.crl.edu/collections/ cover a wide variety of topics, regions, time periods and formats such as microfilms, monographs and digital formats. For example, you can access archival collections from United States, United Kingdom and even Cambodia. In addition, dissertations, monographs and newspapers collection covering most regions in the world (Latin America, Asia, Africa, etc…) are available for Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

CRL offers the following services to CRL institutional members:

  • Hard Copy and Microform Loans (books, microfilms)
  • Document Delivery through your Interlibrary Loan Department
  • Digital Delivery of microfilms and other materials when available
  • When available digital collections are available for immediate viewing

To learn more about all these services, visit, http://www.crl.edu/services/borrowing/member-lending

Search the CRL catalog at http://catalog.crl.edu/ and gather the appropriate bibliographic information to make your interlibrary loan request.

Open ILLiad (http://uconn.illiad.oclc.org/illiad/logon.html)





and select the form from the New Request box on the left of the screen.

For microfilm request, contact directly the DD-ILL office at udoc@uconn.edu

For more information about DD-ILL policies and guidelines, please visit the DD-ILL FAQ at: http://www.lib.uconn.edu/services/ill/AboutDDILL.htm

Marisol Ramos

Librarian for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, Spanish and Anthropology

New WRDS databases!

Recently acquired new WRDS databases from the UConn School of Business include:

ExecuComp – provides compensation history for U.S. directors and current compensation for executives for companies within the S&P 1500. Includes over 80 different compensation related data items, coverage of each company’s top 5 executive officers, Over 35 measures of company financial performance, comparable data across companies & industries, and companies contained in the S&P 500, S&P 400 MidCap and S&P SmallCap 600 indexes.
RiskMetrics – this dataset includes details on the structures and practices of boards of directors at S&P 500, S&P Midcap, and S&P Smallcap firms. WRDS keeps 1996-2006 old IRRC-methodology data in the Legacy file.
comScore – tracks web browsing behavior. Offers web visitation and transaction behavior data based on a random sample from more than 2 million Internet users. Includes panelist-level browsing and buying behavior from tens of thousands of web users.

Still to come – CRSP/Compustat Merged Database and CRSP Indices

Access databases from http://wrds-web.wharton.upenn.edu/wrds/

Seeking Data or Statistics?

The Social Science Statistics website (http://classguides.lib.uconn.edu/socialscistats) provides links to data from various fields in the social sciences, including business, education, human rights, political science and health to name a few. Data is mostly public access and may be downloaded when available.

Our “Portals for other Social Science Statistics” lists out 15 academic and highly trafficked sites including links to ICPSR, which holds 500,000 digital files containing social science research data, and the “Scholars’ Lab” from the University of Virginia which features geo-spatial, statistical and image resources.

See our “Data Software and Analysis at UConn: tab for information about our University resources for data, such as statistical software guides, computer labs, and help locating software for use or purchase on campus.

Libraries acquire access to additional online newspaper archives

Headlines of The Boston Globe on Tuesday, October 29 1929 – the day after the ‘Black Monday’ stock market losses

The University of Connecticut Libraries recently expanded its access to online historical newspaper archives with the purchase of four additional titles through ProQuest Historical Newspapers. The addition of The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal brings the number of historic newspaper titles available in ProQuest Historical Newspapers to seven:

  • Boston Globe (1872-1979)
  • Chicago Tribune (1849-1987)
  • Hartford Courant (1764-1984)
  • Los Angeles Times (1881-1987)
  • New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
  • New York Times (1851-2 years ago)
  • Wall Street Journal (1889 – 1992)

ProQuest’s sophisticated search interface allows a variety of search approaches – such as searching for the appearance of a name or keyword throughout the entire text of the paper,  searching for the occurrence of words in specific fields of the article, or searching specific parts of the paper. Researchers can, for example, search for all articles appearing on the front page on a particular day,  search for keywords among thousands of scanned editorial cartoons, look for names in birth announcement sections of the paper, or search only real estate transactions or display ads.

Social and media historians, genealogists, linguists, and others have used ProQuest Historical Newspapers in many varied research projects.  One useful feature for teaching is the ability to integrate content from these titles into online course reserves , web sites or on HuskyCT: individual articles in the database are assigned unique, stable urls that allow students to be easily directed to unique primary documents, such as the front page of the Chicago Tribune the day after the Great Chicago Fire.

The content in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers complements another online newspaper database licensed by the Libraries, Early AmericanNewspapers 1690-1922 . As with the titles available through the ProQuest product, the content in Early American Newspapers is also derived from the scanning and optical character recognition process of newspapers which had been previously converted to microfilm. The database provides full-text searching and page and article images of an astounding number of early American newspapers, including over 50 titles once published in Connecticut cities and towns.  Included  are more than 350 Spanish-language newspapers published in the United States from 1808-1980 – this subset can be searched separately in Hispanic American Newspapers 1808-1980

The Phenix or, Windham Herald, is one of more than 50 early Connecticut newspapers available through ‘Early American Newspapers’

Workshop on CIRI Human Rights Data Project, February 3

On Thursday, February 3, 2011 from 2:30-3:30, the UConn Libraries will host a workshop on the CIRI Human Rights Data Project. The workshop will be held in the Class of ’47 Room in Homer Babbidge Library.

David Richards, Associate Professor in Political Science at UConn, and one of the co-creators of CIRI will discuss the dataset and how to use it.  Professor Richards recently received a grant to host the dataset at UConn.

This workshop is open to interested faculty, students, and staff at UConn.  You can register on the Libraries website at http://lib.uconn.edu/instruction/workshop/

More information on resources for human rights research at UConn is available at http://classguides.lib.uconn.edu/humanrights.

Finding Psychological Tests

Finding psychological instruments can be a challenge to researchers. One problem is that there is no single source for finding tests. You may have to search within several sources to find the test you want. Another challenge is that some tests are sold commercially, while other may have been cited in an article without having been made available for purchase. Below you’ll find seven of the most-used sources for locating tests. You can find other sources by referring to UConn Libraries Tests & Measures research guide .

Published Tests

1.       Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) database contains information on over 4,000 published tests. MMY does not contain the actual tests.  Each record in MMY tells you the purpose, intended audience, scoring information, price, and provides the publisher contact information. In addition, MMY contains reviews by psychologists that give historical background and explain the validity and reliability of the tests. To access MMY, click the link above and select the link for Mental Measurements Yearbook.  UConn Libraries also has the MMY in print.

2.       Tests in Print (TIP) database is a comprehensive index of all published tests. TIP contains much of the same information as MMY but does not include reviews. To access TIP, use the link above and select Mental Measurements Yearbook and Tests in Print. This is a database which combines the content of MMY and TIP. TIP is also available in print.

3.       Tests is a directory of psychology, education, and business tests. Tests is organized by topic (i.e. relationships, intelligence, pathology-anxiety). Tests contains a short test description, as well as the intended population, format, scoring, and a very brief description. Each volume has an Index of Publishers for locating the necessary contact information. Use this link to find the print volumes in the library: Tests

4.       Test Critiques as the name implies, provides detailed reviews of frequently-used tests in psychology, education, and business. Test Critiques is a multivolume set. Each volume contains an Index of Test Titles, Index of Test Publishers, and a Subject Index. Use this link to find the print volumes in the library: Test Critiques

Unpublished Tests

1.       Tests in Microfiche is a collection of actual unpublished tests. The tests in this collection were developed between 1975 and 2004. Each test is reproduced in microfiche. To search for a test, search the ETS Test Collection database. To search this database:

  • Select the Advanced Search tab
  • Type TIM in the TitleSearch box to search for a test in the Tests in Microfiche collection
  • In the next row of search boxes, enter your subject
  • Once you have identified a test, make a note of the call number. You can then find the test on the third floor of the Microfiche Collection at Babbidge Library.

2.       Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI) database has information on 15,000 published and unpublished psychological instruments.  You cannot find an actual test in HAPI, but you can find a citation to the research which produced the test. To search HAPI:

  • Type your topic
  • For each result, view the Complete Reference
  • Look at the Availability field for information about obtaining the instrument
  • When searching you can also limit your search by checking the Primary Source box to search for records which cite the original source in which the instrument was published.

3.       PsycINFO database is familiar to most as the chief resource for finding abstracts to research in psychology. PsycINFO can be used to find tests by using the following steps:

  • Select Advanced Search
  • In the first row of search boxes, type appended and select TM Tests & Measures from the drop-down menu
  • In the next row, type your topic and select KW Keywords from the drop-down menu

While consulting these sources, keep in mind that you should contact the creator or the copyright holder if you want to use or reproduce a test.

If you need help, contact Dawn Cadogan, Liaison to Psychology and Communication Sciences at Storrs campus / dawn.cadogan@uconn.edu / 486-6976.

New: There will be a workshop on finding psychological tests in HAPI and MMY on Friday, February 18, 2011, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. The class will be held in Electronic Classroom 1 on Level 1 of Babbidge Library. To reserve a seat at this workshop, visit the Uconn Libraries workshops page.