Tuning Mendeley to find electronic journal articles

Mendeley, according to its website “is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research”. If you are using this website to organise your references, you may be interested in tweaking to make it easier to find electronic journal articles. I am explaining here how members of De Montfort University can enhance their Mendeley accounts, but if you are with another institution, these notes should still be helpful.

Some artilces are shared within Mendeley, others cited with links pointing outside the site. There are often lots of versions of an article stored across the Internet, but many require subscriptions. De Montfort University, like many other universities, has built up an openurl resolver listing then different journals their members can access for free. It is possible to get this service ‘plugged in’ to Mendeley.

  • Go to Mendeley and log in;
  • Go to the ‘My Account’ section;
  • Select ‘Account details’ from the drop-down menu;
  • Go to the ‘Sharing/Importing’ tab;
  • In the ‘Edit Library Access Lonks’ section, click on the ‘Choose library from list’ button;
  • – In my case other settings prompted Mendeley to suggest ‘library links’ relating the De Montfort University. If your institution is not listed, you may need to use the ‘Add library manually’ button;

You should now find that when looking at a citation page on Mendeley there is a drop down-menu ‘Find this paper at:’ which lists your institution’s openurl resolver. Selecting that should point you at the links to the journal article that you are able to use without charge.

Posted in Library resources, Mashed Libraries, OpenURL, Social media | Comments Off on Tuning Mendeley to find electronic journal articles

Discounts for students from @MyUNiDAYS

MyUNiDays is a student discount website offering ‘perks’ from a number of online retailers.

There are new and well-known retailers signing up to the growing range of stores represented with deals of 10-20% off for students. You can prove that you are a student using the same Single Sign On details as you would for Blackboard, MyDMU and university email.

If you are interested in exploring this:

  1. Click on the ‘Join‘ button;
  2. You can use any of your email addresses and set your own password;
  3. Start typing ‘De Montf..’ and select ‘De Montfort University (Leicester)’ as your institution and click on the verify button;
  4. A new window opens with the Single Sign On to Library Resources screen. Type in the username and password that you would usually use for logging in at DMU;
  5. If all has gone well you should now be ‘verified’ and can start browsing the different sites associated with MyUNiDAYS.

You can follow MyUNiDAYS on Twitter for updates and new ‘perks’.

Posted in Authentication | Comments Off on Discounts for students from @MyUNiDAYS

LOCKSS in use in an academic library #DMU

A survey of UK LOCKSS Alliance members is taking place. Since I have to prepare my answers to the likely question, I thought I would share them with anyone interested. Different libraries are using LOCKSS in different ways to protect their access to electronic resources (See Neil Beagrie’s White Paper on e-journal archiving for UK HE libraries for case studies). So I am not trying to pre-empt the results of the survey, just illustrate some of the things we have been thinking of at De Montfort University (DMU).

Describe your library and journals collection

From a student’s point of view we have access to journal articles immediately (as e-journals), with a slight delay involving a visit to the library (printed copied held in the Kimberlin or Law libraries) and with slightly longer delay via Inter-library loan. We have just sent SUNCAT a list of over 60,000 electronic journals and over 400 printed journals where we have current subscriptions.
The electronic journals are looked after by the Content Delivery team in the library. This team covers a range of inter-related areas such as authentication (logging into electronic resources), copyright and licenses, renewing subscriptions to journals, collating usage statistics, running an institutional repository and trouble-shooting electronic resource access problems.
LOCKSS, as way of protecting the content we care about, fits neatly into this team’s work.

Describe your use of LOCKSS and the purpose it fulfils

DMU has been using LOCKSS since the initial Pilot Project around 2006. Since then we have collected 4800 Archival Units (roughly journal volumes) from 381 different journals. Since the start of 2012 we have been adding access points to the LOCKSS content to our SFX journals A-Z and openURL resolver. The count now stands at 293 and will continue to rise.

How we use LOCKSS at DMU

At pretty regular intervals lists of new Archival Units (AUs) available to LOCKSS get issued. We have started to use the spreadsheet version of this list in our workflow:

  • Check which Archival Units are either subscribed to by DMU or available as Open Access journals.
  • Pass this list on to subject librarians so that they can identify which AUs should be collected by LOCKSS
  • Activate the selected AUs in LOCKSS
  • After a week or so, check that the expected content has been collected
    • If it has, the Journals A-Z list (SFX4) should be edited to add new titles or update the date ranges covered.
    • If not, we should try to work out why collecting the content has not been successful

Problems encountered and how we have overcome them (or not)

Having the journals archived in LOCKSS appearing on the journals A-Z list is a big step forward in getting recognition for this as a live and important service. Preservation issues are one of the considerations in the library’s Collection Development policies, especially when it comes to withdrawals and cancellations. Having LOCKSS as a live service highlights a number of areas:

Where content is not available for archiving

There are some journals that we care about, such as Diversity in Health Care, edited and frequently contributed to by DMU staff, which are not available for archiving in LOCKSS, or, when the Keepers Registry is checked, anywhere else. Is there a mechanism where librarians can vote on the journals they would like to see in archiving services like LOCKSS?

Available, but not configured

Some journals may be available for archiving in LOCKSS, but not selected for configuration at DMU. Another newish possibility for us is to compare the usage statistics collected in the Journal Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP) with the content selected for archiving from any individual publisher. Current usage may not be an guarantee of future demand, but could help to highlight important overlooked journals.

Configured, not collected

Some journal AUs have been configured in LOCKSS, but collection has proved impossible. Most likely this is because the LOCKSS robot is being turned away where we have no access rights. LOCKSS is proving to be an excellent live training project for staff new to the world of electronic journal access. By probing why expected access is not being recognised, whole areas of subscription rights, embargoes, rolling subscription walls and aggregator services are uncovered.
Even when all these are taken into account it looks as though we will find occasions where we are being blocked from collecting content where we have a right to do so. As yet we have no workflow for resolving such questions. Who should we be calling: the publisher or the UK LOCKSS Alliance helpdesk?

Collected, but not displayed

I have been testing the results from the collecting process and making sure that the results display properly before adding titles to the journals A-Z list. I have identified a number of titles where some browsers do not handle the content properly. The usual symptom appears to be a webpage with missing stylesheet. The required article may be available, but difficult to find and the page is not arranged on the screen properly. Fortunately, I can forward examples of this to the UK LOCKSS Alliance helpdesk for them to investigate. Tweaking DMU’s LOCKSS box settings has helped, but not resolved all the issues encountered yet.

Displayed, but not accessible

Perhaps the main outstanding issue is that the preserved content is only available within the DMU campus. Staff and students at home, even when this is a student hall just across the road, are blocked from viewing the content preserved for them. Adding an authentication layer to LOCKSS, preferably using the same Single Sign On system as for other electronic journal sources could be the next major step forward in usability.

The key functionality of LOCKSS from our perspective

LOCKSS enables the library, in partnership with the publishers, to ensure continuing access to the content it cares about.

Subscription journals

Many of the journals important to our users are paid for through library subscriptions. These subscriptions, in turn, are valuable to the business models of the publishers supplying the journals; but what happens when library budgets are under pressure? Librarians worry about the difference between a printed journal, bought, bound and placed on a shelf and an electronic journal apparently rented from entities in a capitalist system subject to Darwinian pressures. Having archived copies of journals in LOCKSS is an important reassurance that today’s research will be available for the long-term.

Open Access journals

The competing business model for journals, where researchers or their funders pay up-front for the open availability of their articles is no less vulnerable to market uncertainties. LOCKSS can also help to ensure long-term access to open access journal articles.

What value does LOCKSS provide for members of DMU?

For students, it means uninterrupted access to material on reading lists or required for their research.
For teaching staff, it means that assignments are not scuppered through the unexpected withdrawal of access.
For librarians, it means that they can be confident of their investments in subscriptions to electronic journals, especially where this involves a move to electronic-only access.
For Content Delivery staff, it means all this can be achieved through a relatively simple workflow.

What could LOCKSS do better to meet our needs?

There was an interesting report recently on a case of fraud in the UK National Archives: 29 fakes behind the rewriting of history. A researcher managed to publish a book with exclusive hitherto un-noticed material on the outbreak of World War 2, unnoticed because the researcher is suspected of planting the material in the archive themselves. This is the kind of threat that the LOCKSS model with its ‘lots of copies’ is designed to protect against.
This model could be extended to cope with the threats to other electronic formats, like e-books or the items contributed to institutional repositories. Comparing the preservation status of the journals listed in our A-Z or in SUNCAT with the Keepers Registry may help to highlight publishers so far beyond the reach of any of the preservation agencies.
It could also be made more usable, by simplifying the steps needed to be taken by administrators to activate new content or check on the health of archived material. Being able to upload spreadsheets of AUs to collect, rather than ticking them in batches would be nice.

Posted in Digital Preservation | Comments Off on LOCKSS in use in an academic library #DMU

Authentication and Customer Service

My guest blogpost for Eduserv has been published: ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Error messages for blocked users‘. I had been thinking about Customer Service Excellence, how we can help walk-in users and the error messages people encounter when trying to login to electronic resources. Whilst there was no collusion, it is interesting that the previous day another post on the same blog also looked at usability issues: Tom Edmonds on ‘Who’s driving usability in Identity & Access Management?‘.
If these are topics that concern you, you may be interested in the FAM12: Broadening Horizons event being planned for Birmingham 6th November 2012.
Meanwhile another new service being explored requires us to create a secure webpage from which our students can link to an account creation page. I am not convinced that this is an easy option for the supplier, but it is unwieldy for us to set up and yet another username and password hurdle for our users to overcome in their daily struggle to find the resources they need for their studies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Authentication and Customer Service

The Keepers Registry: who is looking after what e-journals?

De Montfort University is one of the 17 UK Higher Education/Museum institutions actively involved in preserving electronic journals for current and future users as members of the UK LOCKSS Alliance. But LOCKSS is not the only agency preserving such content. Other schemes include The British Library, CLOCKSS, Portico and others. These agencies have overlapping areas of interest, so any journal of concern might be preserved by one, some, all or none of these preservation schemes.

The Keepers Registry (a name strangely missing an apostrophe) is a useful website for keeping track of who is preserving which journals. You can use it to search for journals by title or ISSN. For example:

  • British educational research journal [0141-1926]: 4 hits
  • Diversity in health and care [1759-1422]: 0 hits
  • European Journal of Marketing [0309-0566]: 2 hits + 1 in progress

One way of thinking of the preservation agencies is to consider their distance from you as a user. For example, if your institution takes part in LOCKSS, then the preserved content is in your institution somewhere. You can view the preserved articles through an ordinary web browser. Your library may be making the preserved content available through an A-Z list of electronic journals.

If the preserved content is in the British Library, then you will need to visit that library in London if that turned out to be the only (or nearest) available version.

CLOCKSS uses a world-wide network of institutions to build a closed archive of electronic journal articles. From this store it can decide to make material available where some ‘trigger-event’ has meant that the publisher is no longer willing or able to host the articles. In 2012, the DMU A-Z list of journals includes 4 such journals already. Decisions about what to archive and when to release it are made somewhat remotely, but once released the content can be viewed in a web browser.

Portico is another network of publishers and libraries working together, but at present De Montfort University is not participating in this scheme.

It is not easily to interpret these results. It is a pretty good rule of thumb that a journal preserved by two or more agencies can be considered ‘well preserved’. After all, preservation agencies as well as publishers can fail in their aspiration to be around for the long-term.

Another assumption might be that because a journal has been putting out issues for 50 years or more, then all of that content is being preserved. This is not the case, more often than not. Again, the Keepers Registry helps to highlight the date ranges where preservation is taking place for each agency.

Most library users would not need to bother about these questions, but they could be very urgent to librarians considering how best to subscribe to the resources a university relies upon for its teaching and learning.

Posted in Digital Preservation | Comments Off on The Keepers Registry: who is looking after what e-journals?

What do the preserved electronic journals in LOCKSS look like?

Continuing access to valued content

De Montfort University has been archiving copies of the electronic journals it values since around 2007 (using a system called LOCKSS) , but it is only in 2012 that it has become possible to make this activity visible to library users. Now we have linked the ‘Find It @ DMU’ service with LOCKSS  for 250 of the preserved journals.

‘Find It @ DMU’, behind which we have an ExLibris SFX4 OpenURL Resolver, is a good match for the archiverd content in LOCKSS. It makes it possible to see the archived content in LOCKSS as just another source for accessing journals. If the publisher’s version is unavailable, then the archived content in LOCKSS can come to the rescue.

This is all quite timely as the recently published Finch Report: ‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications‘ reminded its readers of the key role that journals have had since their origin in the seventeenth century of preserving a record of scientific findings for the long-term. The need for greater investment in digital preservation efforts (like LOCKSS) was one of the things called for by the report.

What do the preserved journals look like?

With content preserved in LOCKSS, the content should be as close as possible to its original version on the publisher’s website. So it is not just the PDF copy of the article that gets preserved, but also the accompanying images, stylesheets and javascript that have to be collected and re-constructed.

Example 1: Link to a specific article

Rosse WF, Narla M, Petz LD, Steinberg MH. New Views of Sickle Cell Disease Pathophysiology and Treatment. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2000:2-17.

What are the differences beween the version preserved in LOCKSS and the publishers own live version?

Answer: They are pretty much the same, especially for the full text of the article.

Journal content archived in LOCKSS

Example 2: Journal and year

Hematology [1520-4391] yr:2000

What are the differences beween the version presented by LOCKSS and the publishers own live version?

LOCKSS presents a default menu page, called a ‘Manifest’ page, which links to the available volumes for this year’s volumes of the journal.

LOCKSS manifest page for a journalExample 3

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

Where the request is just to see if a journal has been archived, and not for a specific issue or article, LOCKSS presents a menu page listing the possible relevant volumes (or ‘Archival Units’ in its terms) from that publisher. Selecting one of the archival units will get you to a further menu page and closer to the archived content for the journal.

A LOCKSS Journal menu screenExample 4

Stollery, M. Transformation and Enhancement: Film Editors
and Theatrical Adaptations in British Cinema of
the 1930s and 1940s. Adaptation Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1–20

The more specific the request, the easier it is for LOCKSS to get you the required content. Most requests from library users are for individual articles, only a few people want to browse through journals generally.

Direct access to a preserved article in LOCKSS

If you have any queries about how this works, or spot any missing content, please do let me know.

PS: If you are interested in all aspects of continuing access to electronic material, you may find the Digitalpreservation News interesting. It is an update based on the tweets of people involved in this area.

Posted in Digital Preservation | 3 Comments

Paper.li: Creating a current awareness newsletter using social media

These was a time when ‘Current Awareness’ meant photocopying the title pages of recently received journals and posting them round to interested lecturers. The advent of the internet did away with that, as library users gained faster access to the journals that interested them. But along with that came a sense of being overwhelmed with information and a desire that someone would again take on the role of filtering it.

Can social media help with creating this filtering mechanism?

I set up such a tool to meet my own information needs. Having been asked to contribute to the debate on how to encourage the implementation of e-Journal Archiving in the UK I wanted to keep up with discussions in this area.

The first step was to create a list of all the people on Twitter commenting on digital preservation. These might be people I have met, who comment on events in this area or mention ‘digital preservation’ in their profiles. They do not, of course, exclusively tweet about this topic. I could just follow the tweets of people on this list, but there is another social media tool that can add value to this list.

The second step was to set up an account at paper.li and use this to create a daily report of website mentioned in the tweets of people on my list. There are other ways of building such daily newspspers, you could filter the whole of Twitter by keyword or hashtag, for example.

The third step is to wait for your daily newspaper, in this case called ‘Digitalpreservation News‘ to be produced and delivered. Paper.li’s technology arranges the stories into themes, embeds images and videos and presents the sites tweeted about as well as the Twitter comments themselves.

People can ‘subscribe’ to the newslatter and receive daily emails when it is released or follow my Twitter feed for automated announcements of the headlines and contributors.



Posted in Digital Preservation, Social media | Comments Off on Paper.li: Creating a current awareness newsletter using social media

LOCKSS update June 2012

I hope to get a chance, at the next De Montfort University Mashed Library event to update people about LOCKSS and SFX integration. I have already put some slides up on this. LOCKSS is a system for ensuring continuing access to electronic journals, while SFX is an openURL Resolver and A-Z list of electronic journals. Linking the two together is a useful way of getting the archived content in LOCKSS out to the people on whose behalf it is preserved. Making this possible was a major theme of LOCKSS development in 2012 and DMU was one of the first libraries to take advantage of this possibility.

There will not be time to go into everything at the Mashed Library event, but this talk comes at an interesting time. In May some of the UK LOCKSS Alliance members met together in York to look at how things were going and what was likely to happen next.

JARVIG (e-Journal Archiving Implementation Group)

I have mentioned participation in the JARVIG meetings before; they have now concluded and the notes from the discussions have been published. The discussions raised lots of options for encouraging greater and more efective involvement in preserving e-Journal content. Some of the points touching upon LOCKSS were included in a talk about JARVIG at the UK LOCKSS Alliance meeting in May. The next phase is for some cost/benefit analysis to be done on the ideas to see which are most practicable.

UK LOCKSS Alliance Members Meeting

For me, the most interesting part of the UK LOCKSS Alliance members meeting was the discussion on how to improve the Administration Interface for LOCKSS. Changing the views to permit people with different roles to access different parts, and for each part to be spruced up, could be a big step forward. At present, for example, adding new titles to the archive is a repetitive chore, but being able to upload selected titlese from a spreadsheet opens new possibilities and well as making the task easier.

More research

Michael Seadle, (2012) “Archiving in the digital world: the scholarly literature”, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 30 Iss: 2, pp.367 – 375

Michael Seadle raises the question, not just of is there enough research into digital preservation going on, but are we tackling the right issues.


Posted in Digital Preservation | Comments Off on LOCKSS update June 2012

Mapping templates to the library web site

Main page : Level one

Level 1 example

This would match with the ‘landing page‘ on the old university web site. The left-hand navigation headings could be set to:

  • About us
  • Resources
  • Research
  • Study
  • Teaching/Learning
  • My Subject
  • Innovation

Level two (three column)

Example level two
At level two the navigation feature is expanded.

  • Research
    • DORA
    • Archives
    • Tools
    • PG Room

At this level we could have text pages about our services, like the current About Us page, with logos for Customer Service Excellence and Investors in People in the third column. The third column could also include widgets for the @libraryDMU twitter feed.

Level two (two column)

Example tevel 2 – 2 column
With more space across the screen, this may be useful for pages displayed as tables, like the opening hours pages. These are constructed from calls to the library postgres database. The Databases A-Z page may be another example for this template.

News template

Example News template
Our current News Menu includes only titles, this template extends the format with the opening lines of the story.

News article

Example News article
We do have news stories, like that featuring #royalDMU streamed recordings. We would want some of these to appear and later be removed, while others have a longer life.

Campaign splash page

Example campaign splash page: Not as inaccessible as it loks as this has text superimposed above an image. Screen-readers should be able to handle this. The HEAT pages may be suitable for this kind of opening page.

Image galleries

Example Image galleries
We have always found it hard to source useful images of library activities, but that is not to say that we would not like to see a page like this.

A part of these templates is the lower navigation feature with its three sections. What would be the three topics/services we would want to promote here: Library catalogue, E-Journals A-Z and DORA?

The existing website has a range of different page formats which would need to be mapped onto the available templates.
1. Ordinary text
2. List pages. Menu pages listing other pages or links to other resources
3. Pages with RSS feeds
4. Pages built from RSS feeds.
5. Self-test interactive web pages:
6. Pages with embedded video
7. Pages with video in drop-down javascript-generated screens:
8. Pages with database supplied content: . An SQL query runs on each page load to refresh the page with the relevant data for the day.
9. Events pages. Page marked up with RDFa/Microformats to enable import into other calendar applications.
10. News pages.
11. PDF documents
12. Frequently Asked Questions.
13. Forms for communicating with library staff:
14. Search widgets running javascript to display results:
15. Contacts pages. Details marked up with RDFa/Microformats to enable import into address book applications.
16. Password protected pages: Examnet and E-Jouenals with passwords. Access via IP address and Library PIN for DMU members only.
17. Pages issued with Creative Commons license permissions
18. Pages for administration of the web site: enabling librarians to update the database running their pages.

Posted in cms | Comments Off on Mapping templates to the library web site

#royalDMU streamed recordings

The library at De Montfort University was open all day throughout the March 8th Royal visit, but that did not mean that we were not taking part in proceedings. Aside from the members of staff acting as volunteers, the library was also making sure that television broadcasts of the events of the day were recorded.
These recordings are available under an ERA License and use is limited to the De Montfort University campus area only.


Tuesday ITV1.  6 March 2012 18:00 – 18:30
South Wigston foundry commissioned by DMU to create bronze plaque for royal visit 26:37


ITV1. Wednesday 7 March 2012 13:30 – 14:00

ITV1. Wednesday 7 March 2012 18:00 – 18:25
‘Last minute’ preparations and introduction to some of the people meeting the royal party at De Montfort University at 23:25.

BBC ONE. Wednesday 7 March 2012 18:30 – 18:55
Leicester Cathedral preparations, the route and the visit at 13:30 and Bishop interviewed at 24:27.

BBC ONE. Wednesday 7 March 2012 22:00 – 22:25


ITV1. Thursday 8 March 2012 05:30 – 06:00

Thursday 8 March BBC Breakfast 06:00-09:15

ITV1. Thursday 8 March 2012 06:00 – 08:30
DMU features at 02:21 – shoes

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 08:30 – 09:00
Awaiting crowds and Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby interviewed at 29:46

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 09:00 – 10:00
DMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard interviewed at 31:20

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 10:00 – 11:00
Fashion and Footwear students interviewed at 34:00

ITV1. Thursday 8 March 2012 11:25 – 11:30

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 11:00 – 12:00
The Queen’s arrival at #royalDMU reported at 46:30

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 12:00 – 13:00
Queen’s departure and Fashion Show featured at 31:00

BBC ONE. Thursday 8 March 2012 13:30 – 13:45
DMU at 08:53

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 13:30 – 14:00
Becka Hunt, shoe design contest winner interviewed at 30:00

BBC NEWS. Thursday 8 March 2012 14:00 – 15:00
Review of the day as the Queen is awaited at the Leicester Clock Tower.

BBC ONE. Thursday 8 March 2012 13:30 – 13:45
Which shoe design was picked in the end? 10:18

FIVE. Thursday 8 March 2012 17:00 – 17:30
DMU dancers, crowds and shoes featured at 13:41

ITV1. Thursday 8 March 2012 18:00 – 18:30
Queen’s visit = first story

ITV1. Thursday 8 March 2012 18:30 – 19:00
How Leicester welcomed the start of the Royal Jubilee tour at 26:48.

BBC ONE. Thursday 8 March 2012 22:00 – 22:25


ITV1. Friday 9 March 2012 05:30 – 06:00
How Leicester welcomed the start of the Royal Jubilee tour at 21:40.

Friday 9 March ITV Daybreak 06:00-8:30
Shoe design contest winner Becka Hunt interviewed at 1:40:50

Some other #royalDMU related videos can be found on other sites, such as:
Musicians preparing for fashion show

Posted in Library resources | Comments Off on #royalDMU streamed recordings