I know why the caged bird sings! – Paul Laurence Dunbar’s ‘Sympathy’ as a library poem #colourfullreads

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to make a living from his literary production. Between 1890 and 1905 he published novels, short stories and poems in both dialect and standard English styles. His 1899 poem ‘Sympathy’ ends with “I know why the caged bird sings!“: words that would catch the eye of anyone familiar with the titles of Maya Angelou books. While at first glance these lines might resonate with any indoor worker looking longingly out of the window “When the sun is bright on the upland slopes“, there are particular library connections to the emotional predicament in which the poet finds himself.

Dunbar worked as a clerk in the U.S. Library of Congress from September 1897 to December 1898. His role was to retrieve and re-shelve scientific and medical materials from the Library’s closed stacks. Shelvers have a vital role in any library, but the tides and currents of intellectual life for the scholars in the Reading Room tend to look like a never-ending torrent of items to be taken off or put back onto shelves in the stacks for those working behind the scenes.

In a 1914 article, his widow, the poet Alice Dunbar-Nelson, said that the iron gratings of the bookstacks of the Library of Congress suggested to him the bars of the bird’s cage. “The torrid sun poured its rays down into the courtyard of the library and heated the iron grilling of the book stacks until they were like prison bars in more senses than one” (Dunbar, 1914).  In the summers, particularly, the Washington heat and the dry dust of the books and stacks must have pressed upon him, making his existing health conditions worse. Eventually it was ill-health that forced him to ask to be relieved of his tasks there, though his letter of notice to end his employment spoke of freeing up time to focus on his literary work.

Camille Roman (2006) claims that it was the predominantly Enlightenment view of the texts Dunbar worked with, and their assumption of the limited reasoning capabilities of Africans, like him, that was getting him down. An earlier poem, in his black dialect style, The Ol’ Tunes, explored a sense of being constrained, of not being allowed ‘to sing’ in his own preferred voice:

How I long ag’in to hear ’em
Pourin’ forth from soul to soul,
With the treble high an’ meller,
An’ the bass’s mighty roll;
But the times is very diff’rent,
An’ the music heerd to-day
Ain’t the singin’ o’ the ol’ tunes
In the ol’-fashioned way.

It was not just that the poet couldn’t sing as he might have wished, the climate in which he worked forced him into a kind of self-censorship:

An’ ef you should even think it
‘T is n’t proper fur to say
That you want to hear the ol’ tunes
In the ol’-fashioned way.

In Sympathy’s second stanza Dunbar says that the sense of constraint is long-standing:

And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

These ‘old, old scars’ may point beyond the immediate setting of the day job to the history and experience of slavery that African-Americans had endured up the Dunbar’s parents generation. Continuing beyond the formal end of slavery with emancipation after the Civil War among the States were the cultural assumptions that so often worked to frustrate the aspirations of people like Dunbar. One example of this was the positive, but patronising, praise Dunbar’s work received from the eminent novelist William Dean Howells. While Dunbar was praised as “the first man of his color to study his race objectively”, readers were directed to the dialect verse at the expense of the standard English poems they might otherwise find easier to appreciate. The response of the critics and the demands of the literature-buying public both proved to be cages acting as restraints on Dunbar’s potential range as a writer.

Nevertheless the Library of Congress provided some opportunities for the young poet and helped him to advance his career. In November 1897 he became the first poet to give a public reading in the Library. It took place shortly after the opening of the Library’s reading room for the blind. There ware repeated readings and they proved popular with both blind and sighted attendees.

Libraries, more generally, continue to provide a site for this kind of engagement. It was on the shelves of DMU’s Kimberlin library that I found a copy of The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. The #colourfullreads campaign is a further attempt to encourage readers to encounter the voices of people whose experiences may differ from their own.

Roman, C. (2006). The Caged Bird’s Song and Its (Dis)Contents. Pacific Coast Philology,41, 32-38. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.dmu.ac.uk/stable/25474197
 Armeti, P. The Caged Bird Sings: Paul Laurence Dunbar at the Library of Congress
 Dunbar, A.M., (1914) “The Poet and His Song”.  The A.M.E. Review
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I know why the caged bird sings! – Paul Laurence Dunbar’s ‘Sympathy’ as a library poem #colourfullreads

Adventures in #LibraryCarpentry #1: Excel tips and APIs

Back in March 2017 I had the good fortune to join in with a Library Carpentry course run at Sheffield University. To make it clear from the start the tools I learnt to use there were not chisel, plane and screwdriver but Excel, OpenRefine and Python. ‘Library Carpentry‘, it turns out, is “Software and data skills for library professionals”.

I would recommend this course to other library professionals as we tend to spend more time than we would like staring at spreadsheets hoping that they will enable us to make a better job of managing our resources. In this series of posts I want to explore some to the techniques and tips I picked up through the Library Carpentry training and beyond.

Aim: Follow this tutorial to learn some tips on using Excel and OpenRefine to refine and enhance the data available to you.

Continue reading

Posted in Library Carpentry | Comments Off on Adventures in #LibraryCarpentry #1: Excel tips and APIs

Altmetric impact scores added to Library Search

Alert users of Library Search may have spotted colourful rosettes appearing among their search results in the past few weeks. These are indicators of online attention to the retrieved articles known as ‘Altmetrics’. There is a Altmetric Attention Score,  the number in the centre of the rosette, while the colour of the rosette is governed by whether the ‘attention’ showed up in Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere.

For an example, let us have a look at the results for this search peer-reviewed articles on “Adolescent to Parent Violence“. Among the results is an article with a multi-coloured rosette and a score of 22.

Article with Altmetric Attention Score of 22

Adolescent to parent violence: Framing and mapping a hidden problem

Hovering a mouse over the Altmetric icon causes a pop-up to appear with more details about the attention this article has received. As I write this:

  • Picked up by 1 news outlets
  • Tweeted by 14
  • On 1 Facebook pages
  • 25 readers on Menderly

How that relates to the score of 22 may be explained on the ‘See more details‘ page.

altmetric2

Just off this image the world map continues southwards to include the United Kingdom, France and Greece: countries where this article has received attention. There is a demographic breakdown pointing to a 64% to 36% split between Members of the public and Scientists responding to the article. Details of the News Sources, Tweets and Facebook posts can be found on different tabs.

The Attention score of 22 puts this article in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric. In particular this article comes out as the 15th highest scoring article published in ‘this source’, presumable the Criminology and Criminal Justice journal. There is another tab ‘Attention Score in Context’ with figues further examining how this article compares to others published in the same journal, same period or, in fact, same journal and date.

The Altmetric Score may be a helpful indicator of impact to put alongside the Scopus and Web of Science traditional citation counts. A possible flaw in the system can be imagined if this post turns out to contribute to raising the article’s Attention Score, when I am only using it as a randomly chosen example.

 

Posted in Library resources | Tagged | Comments Off on Altmetric impact scores added to Library Search

“Like others I had read, and eagerly / Sometimes, the master pamphlets of the day”: political pamphlets online

Part-way into the Ninth Book of his Prelude (1805), William Wordsworth reflects on his engagement with the political debates of the revolutionary times in which he lived.  The unexpected enjambement (butting together) of ‘eagerly / Sometimes’ hints at the ambivalence felt when reading political arguments. It is one thing to read even opposing views on a topic you are interested in or passionate about; another thing entirely when people bore on about topics that do not interest you in the slightest.

Nevertheless there is something to be said for looking back over the political arguments of the past to see what they tell us about what excited people in the past, and how often we find ourselves going over the same grounds in our own times.

Several collections of political pamphlets are now available online to members of De Montfort University, through a subscription to Jstor 19th Century British Pamphlets. These are:

  • Bristol Selected Pamphlets. 1800-1899. The University of Bristol has a substantial collection of 19th century pamphlets, including the National Liberal Club collection, with pamphlets from the libraries of Charles Bradlaugh, John Noble, the Liberation Society, the Land Nationalisation Society, the Cobden Club, and others.
  • Cowen Tracts. 1603-1898. The personal collection of Joseph Cowen (1829-1900). A social reformer and Member of Parliament for Newcastle (1873-86), Cowen’s pamphlet collection dates, mostly, from his active years from the late 1840s to early 1880s. The collection reflects his interests in social, educational and economic issues and includes much local material.
  • Earl Grey Pamphlets Collection. 1545-1900. Still owned by the family, this collection was largely accumulated by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Earls Grey. The Greys were particularly interested in parliamentary reform, colonial affairs and Catholic emancipation.
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection. 1545-1900. This collection comprises the earlier collections of the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office. Both include rare publications from overseas. The Foreign Office Collection consists largely of pamphlets sent back to London by British ambassadors to help with policy formation. It is particularly rich in material related to South America, the Near East, and to the various great European political “questions” of the 19th century. The Colonial Office Collection is chiefly comprised of pamphlets sent back from Britain’s colonies, including some unique early material from Australasia.
  • Hume tracts. 1769-1890. Personal collection of Joseph Hume (1777-1855), Radical Member of Parliament. Hume’s collection covers the major political, economic and social developments and reforms taking place in Britain in the early part of the 19th century along with the causes he particularly championed, such as universal suffrage, Catholic emancipation, a reduction in the power of the Anglican church and an end to imprisonment for debt.
  • Knowsley Pamphlet Collection. 1792-1868. The Knowsley collection reflects the political careers of the Earls of Derby. Edward George, the 14th Earl, was successively Irish Secretary (1830-33), Colonial Secretary (1833-34, 1841-44), and three times Prime Minister (1852, 1858-59, and 1866-68). His son, Edward Henry, 15th Earl, was Colonial Secretary and later Indian secretary in his father’s administration of 1858-59.
  • London School of Economics Selected Pamphlets. 1800-1899. The LSE has a substantial number of 19th century pamphlets, including comprehensive collections of political party materials; election manifestos and political cartoons. There are also collections from pressure groups such as the Fabian Society, Imperial Federation Defence Committee, Poor Law Reform Association, Workhouse Visiting Society, Liberal and Property Defence League, and from cooperative movements such as the Cooperative Women’s Guild.
  • University of Manchester Selected Pamphlets. 1799-1900. The majority of this collection are pamphlets from the last 25 years of the century.
  • Wilson Anti-Slavery Collection. 1761-1900. A collection of 19th-century anti-slavery pamphlets received in 1923 from the executors of Henry Joseph Wilson (1833-1914), the distinguished Liberal Member of Parliament for Sheffield. The collection is of particular importance for the study of the activities of the provincial philanthropic societies, such as the Birmingham and Midland Freedmen’s Aid Association, the Birmingham and West Bromwich Ladies’ Negro’s Friend Society, the Glasgow Emancipation Society, the Manchester Union and Emancipation Society, and the Sheffield Ladies Female Anti Slavery Society. Of interest is the prominent role of women in the movement, who formed themselves into societies which lobbied MPs and printed pamphlets on the conditions of slaves.

How to search for pamphlets

JStor has an Advanced Search form with the option of restricting your search to just pamplets. You can use the ‘Narrow by item Type’ option to focus the results on to pamphlets. There are other options, such as setting a date range for your results that can help to exclude material that you are not interested in.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Library resources | Tagged | Comments Off on “Like others I had read, and eagerly / Sometimes, the master pamphlets of the day”: political pamphlets online

Expanding your searches: two features of Library Search

You have used DMU’s Library Search to track down articles that could help with your research. By pure chance, or the wizardry of search engine algorithms, one article jumps out as being exactly what you were looking for. But how can you find more articles that are like, or better than, the one you just found? There are two new or underused features of Library Search that could help to do just that.

Take this sample search for peer-reviewed articles on “persistently crying babies“.

relatedSearchTo get this far I typed ‘persistently crying babies’ into the search box, and ticked ‘Peer-Review’ in the left hand navigation to focus the results. There are some differences in the way the first three results are presented. Articles 2 and 3 both have an extra link offering ‘Related Articles’ and citation counts from both Web Of Science and Scopus. But what do these features add?

Related Articles

Behind this link is a huge database of ‘people who read this also read that’ relationships. The usage data from millions of researchers worldwide (and not just this institution) has been mined to discover patterns that could help point you to articles that you might not otherwise have found. Clicking the link causes a set of related articles to appear in the right hand panel.

relatedSearchResultsThe ‘Related Articles’ link chosen is highlighted in grey so we do not lose track of which article we are working on. The results ‘suggested by bX Recommender‘ are those picked up by the data-mining. While the items that appear in the main panel are filtered to promote things that you can read online immediately, there is no such guarantee to the related articles. Still, they might be worth knowing about and available from other libraries one way or another.

Citation counts

Another easily overlooked feature of the display are the citation counts from Web of Science and Scopus. These are two databases that organise their results based on the number of times one article has been cited by the others that follow it. It goes beyond following which links researchers click on: this logs the items valued enough by researchers enough to include them in the references in the articles they publish.

Clicking on the ‘WEB OF SCIENCE℠‘ link takes you to a results page listing those citing articles, building on, or possibly disagreeing with, the original article.

wosThere is even a ‘Times Cited’ count for these articles too, so you can follow the tracks of academic influencers. The ‘Find it @ DMU’ button takes you back to our database of the journals to which we have access at De Montfort University.

 

Posted in Library resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Expanding your searches: two features of Library Search

Library Search adds an ‘Open Access’ feature

Library Search has a new feature highlighting Open Access material. Articles and eBooks that appear in search results are sometimes marked with an Open Access icon to distinguish them from others where a username and password is required. There is also an option to restrict the search results to only those counted as ‘open access’.

Inside a university, for its current students and members of staff, this my not seem hugely relevant. After all the results presented for any searches are all either covered by existing library subscriptions or ‘free’ anyway.

For people outside the university: those who are hoping to come; those who have just left and those who may never have that opportunity, the position is very different. The paywalls that are part of the standard model for distributing academic research can be a real obstacle to the opportunities members of the public have to understand science.

Take the example of an area to which De Montfort University has made a key contribution through its research. When I used Library Search to find academic articles on ‘benefits of nature’, the first seven results (on 24 May 2017) were only available because they were covered by library subscriptions and would not be accessible directly to people outside the university.

Now if I had an interest in this field, I might want to find academic quality research that I would be able to read. Being able to refine my search to just open access material would focus the results on those which anyone, inside or out side of a university could explore. By clicking on the Open Access link in the Refine Your Search section I was able to find such material. I then used the ‘Peer-Review’ link to filter out articles that had not been quality-checked by other academics.

OAFacetsOne of the results asks “What are the benefits of interacting with nature?” and features research to which Katherine N. Irvine of DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development.

At no point in this search have I been asked for a username or password or proof that I am a member of a Higher Educational Institution. Which means that this search option is open to anyone to use.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Library Search adds an ‘Open Access’ feature

Digging into Nineteenth Century newspapers

As a private project I have been researching the history of a small village in South Leicestershire. One of the most productive sources of stories to write about has been the collection of nineteenth century newspapers available to staff and students of De Montfort University. One thing that has struck me is how often the events in an otherwise forgotten village resonate with national events and debates at the time.

Digging around this collection has also given me a better appreciation of the range of research areas in the University where stories in old newspapers can provide important insights. For example:

Epidemiology

In February 1828 two people from the neighbouring village of Arnesby died of the fever prevailing in that village. The newspaper noted a possible link with the sanitary conditions of such villages, highlighting the lack of outdoor conveniences in several of the houses where Shearsby’s poor lived. The resulting conditions, with myriads of insects being generated, were deplored as a disgrace in the centre of england, in the nineteenth century. It was suggested that the county magistrates should do something about these conditions.

Compare the anecdotal reports of 1828 with the detailed reports reaching the Rural Sanitary Authority meeting in Lutterworth Workhouse in January 1890.  Again Shearsby gets a mention as the Inspector had come across a case of scarlet fever there. He had supplied disinfectants and could report that there had been no further cases to his knowledge. The meeting heard reports from villages across South Leicestershire and parts of Warwickshire with a theme of overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. In fact, the same themes of fever, toilets and insects dominate, but there is an increased confidence that there was something that both could and was being done about such incidents.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, February 16, 1828

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, January 25, 1890; pg. 6

Employment Law

In 1834 one of the Shearsby villagers took up a complaint about his employer stopping his wages on account of debts owed at the factory shop. A key part of his case was that he was obliged to take goods from that shop as part of his wages. This practice, known as Truck or, more popularly as ‘Tommy’ had been recently legislated against in the 1831 Anti-Truck Act. As the story unfolded over three weeks it illustrated the difficulties that working men encountered when trying to use the law to protect themselves from unscrupulous employers.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, October 25, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 01, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 08, 1834

Poetry

While looking for background material on Anti-Truck Movement (there is a letter to the editor of the Leicester Chronicle on paying labourer’s wages in goods instead of money in October 1829) I came across a poem by John Banim: The Ould Man at the Altar.

An ould man knelt at the altar,
His enemy’s hand to take-
And at first his faint voice did falter,
And his feeble hands did shake:

John Banim is, according to Wikipedia, sometimes called the “Scott of Ireland”. If you like to listen to the music of poetry you can follow the ‘f’ sounds: ‘faint, falter, feeble’ and how they relate to a final pair of ‘forgive’ and ‘foeman’. If you visualise the poetry you read you can watch the movement of those hands as they ‘clench’ and are eventually offered in friendship. The prompt for the poem was, a note explains, an attempt to end ‘the petty disputes between rival factions in Ireland’. That such a poem would be printed in a Midlands newspaper shows that the editors hoped to find it resonating with their readers, not least in the context of the Roman Catholic Relief Act (bringing about Catholic Emancipation) of that same year.

There is research going on at the British Library on how data-mining techniques can be used to uncover more verse from historic newspapers.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, October 24, 1829

Journalism

Most of the events that got reported in the newspapers relate to either death or bad behaviour by the villagers, most notably in the reporting of the arrest and trial of Hannah Read, accused of the murder of her husband in 1825. That accounts of her trial re-appear in various newspapers with identical wording show how newspapers depended upon each other. They also highlight the role of the court reporter who would have to sit through court sessions day after day before a prominent case would turn up.

Berrow’s Worcester Journal, 11 August 1825
Derby Mercury, August 10, 1825
Jackson’s Oxford Journal, August 13th, 1825
Ipswich Journal, August 13th, 1825

Sport History

But it is not all murder and mayhem. A friendly game of cricket was reported as having taken place at Shearsby with a team from neighbouring Bruntingthorpe in August 1868. Shearsby seem to have come out on top over two innings. The report lists the players and their scores and, to the village historian, show the familiar names of fellmongers, publicans and agricultural labourers at play.

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, August 22, 1868

Searching for your own stories

Students at DMU can find their own stories through the 19th Century British Library newspapers collection, The Times Digital Archive (1785 – 2010) and the Proquest Historical Newspapers collection containing The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003). If you get really addicted to old newspapers you can also use the British Newspaper Archive, which is free to search but requires a subscription to view the newspapers themselves.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Digging into Nineteenth Century newspapers

How can university professional services staff help to develop ‘Smart Cities’?

The DMU Local site recently asked: “What does a ‘Smart City’ mean to you?” The deadline for the prize for best answer has passed, but the question remains. The university and the City Council are working to put together a strategy for making Leicester a Smart City, hoping that better use of technology would improve things for businesses and communities and make a difference in sectors like healthcare and transport.

Universities are also challenged in the post-Brexit political environment to re-assert their relevance to the communities whose taxes pay for their continued existence. Finding ways of taking the university’s expertise out of its ‘Ivory Towers’ and into those communities is likely to prove important.

My own answer to the question about what Smart Cities mean would have focussed on Open Data. I would have assumed that planners have long used data to make decisions. The flow of traffic is governed by factors like distance between traffic lights, average speed of vehicles and the timing of stop signs. A smart city would open its processes in two ways:

  1. Make the data available for anyone curious to use.
  2. Be open to learning from citizen explorations into this data

People might start with a frustration: “Why can’t I get out of my industrial estate in the evening rush hour?” and use the data and modelling systems to explore the effect of more frequent or longer gaps between the traffic light changes.

And this is not just for traffic issues. A Smart City would also be involving people in learning and improving healthcare, public safety, education and training and other areas.

What do we need? Open Data and Equipped People

Key to this vision would be curating a collection of data sets relevant to how a city operates and developing the skills within the population be able to work with the data and learn from it.

How can professional services help?

Hosting hackathons

The university could host events where citizens from outside the university with an interest in a sector, like healthcare could meet up with staff from inside the university to explore the data and learn from each other about the skills required to analyse and make recommendations.

Curate collections

Making the data ‘Open’ involves more than just sticking files up ‘on the cloud’. The ingest processes and development of associated metadata are areas where information professionals, like librarians, already have experience to contribute. Data about any one city cannot be understood in isolation from other nodes. Sourcing data from outside to enable comparisons between Leicester and Oslo, for example, requires knowledge of the Open Data landscape.

Share skills

Professional services staff across the range of directorates are involved in analysing data and could share those skills with each other and the city. There is a movement of ‘Data Carpentry’ events which would provide a format for such learning encounters.

Data collection

The university could install air pollution monitors along the line of the Oxford Road buildings and the river to compare air quality in different environments around the campus.

App development

Apps could be designed built on Open Data and shared with the community to enable citizens to benefit from professional services expertise. For example a local congestion app could help people decide on the best routes home

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How can university professional services staff help to develop ‘Smart Cities’?

LOCKSS as a source for journal articles

In a post I wrote yesterday ‘LOCKSS and Library Search‘ I looked at how users encountered material held in the university’s LOCKSS Archive if they were starting from the E-Resources Portal. This portal lists all the e-Journals and e-Books available through the DMU Library. My guess is that it would be mostly (but not wholly) librarians who would take that route. They would be interested to know which journals their students had access to and which were actively being looked after in LOCKSS.

Students themselves would encounter material when searching for individual articles. Fortunately for them, the process is much simpler. Take, for example, this search for a known article: ‘Wishing on a Star: Promoting and Personifying Designer Collections and Fashion Brands’.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:25:49Clicking on the title link for the top search result takes the user to the publisher’s version of the article. But there is also a Sidebar Helper Frame which offers alternative sources for the article if there are any available.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:26:45In the ‘Try a Different Source’ dropdown list LOCKSS appears as an option. In this case the user is taken to an HTML version of the required article.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:48:54That would be useful if all other sources of this article had been lost. With a little more tweaking it may be possible to get Summon to link instead to the menu page for the article offering both PDF and HTML formats.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on LOCKSS as a source for journal articles

LOCKSS and Library Search

During February 2015 I have been working on making the collected and preserved material in De Montfort University’s LOCKSS Archive visible to Library Search users. Over 400 titles have now been activated on Intota (our Electronic Resources Management system). These are journals that the library cares about and has taken steps to ensure that their content is continuously available to over the long-term.

Library users are starting to notice material stored in LOCKSS when looking through our journal holdings or for individual articles. For example our E-Resources Portal shows LOCKSS as among the possible sources for ‘Accounting, auditing & accountability journal‘.

Accounting, auditing & accountability journalWhilst the Emerald Management link goes to the version available from the publisher, the LOCKSS link instead accesses content via a proxy server that runs inside the university. Should the content for any reason ‘go missing’ from the publisher we could rely on being able to use the LOCKSS version instead.

This may not be as pretty or straight-forward as you might expect, but it does work. First the user has to negotiate some of the LOCKSS mechanism. There is a menu page listing the stored content by volume.

LOCKSS-Menu1
This is followed by a better looking menu page with the issues available for the selected volume:

LOCKSS-Menu1Things are looking more familiar with the Issue contents page:

LOCKSS Manifest pageFrom this page a PDF or HTML version of the required article can be selected.

That, at least, is the route for people starting with the title of a journal. If you had a citation with an OpenURL link instead, the route to the content would be more direct.

Making the digitally preserved LOCKSS journals so visible helps to show just what efforts the Library has been making to guarantee continuing access to electronic resources. Research published at the end of last year (Klein M, 2014) indicates that a high percentage of published and peer-reviewed articles suffer from broken links in their references to other journals. Klein mentions LOCKSS as a possible measure protecting against link rot. Making the LOCKSS holdings visible for members of De Montfort University shows just how far, or how limited, this protection extends.

LOCKSS does have a further role in the background helping to maintain access to electronic content. It is also working as part of the infrastructure behind Library Search, along with EZproxy, enabling access to content. In the example of the accounting journal above, LOCKSS comes into play whether the user selects LOCKSS or Emerald as the source.

Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, et al. (2014) Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115253

 

Posted in Digital Preservation, Library resources, Proxy services, Uncategorized | 1 Comment