Saturday, 11 March 2017

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had been discontinued and that I should look at replacing them with other e-books that are available. I had actually forgotten that we could choose the 100 e-books we use from the 821 listed.

As we have had recent in year budget cuts, this seemed a very appropriate time to review what titles were live, review them and look into any other way we could better use this resource to help promote its use. I think Credo Reference is a very good value product with excellent high quality information and the fantastic features of topic pages and mind maps, so it would be a real shame if I ended up having to make the decision to let the subscription lapse because I needed my budget for something else. I have therefore set about trying to make Credo Reference the most relevant it can be to our learners and increasing its visibility.

Initially I downloaded a spreadsheet of all the titles we have access to, which enabled me to choose the most relevant 100. I used the following process:
  • Marked off all the titles I considered relevant to our learners, this ended up being just over 300, so I had a way to go to get it down to 100.
  • I then labelled these up as to where they were published, whilst the country of publication doesn't always matter, I knew in some cases in was very important that I have UK based information.
  • Next I cross referenced them against our other e-books and discounted any we already had from another source.  
  • I then graded them 1 - 3 or discounted them on 2nd look based on year of publication (which again isn't always important and in some cases is very important), country of publication and content (having now looked beyond the title).
  • This gave me 93 grade 1 titles. To find the remainder, I asked my colleague to look at my 2s and 3s to see if she would upgrade any of them to a 1. This gave me the final 7 to reach my 100 target.
Whilst looking through the titles, I came across Key Concepts in Health Psychology which is a very popular book in our LRC, therefore I immediately added this to the list available to use, this was a really good find. Having chosen my 100, I then set about changing the selections to reflect this. The majority of the titles chosen ended up being published in the UK and I believe that there is a relevant title for every course taught at my College.

My next task was to upload the MARC records to our LMS, Heritage. Previously we had never done this and relied on learners looking at the actual database so that they could use the full functionality of it. However in retrospect, I think this was an error in judgment, we should maybe have concentrated on providing access to the titles and encouraged use of the other features through information skills sessions, enquiries handling and promotional activities.

Within a fortnight of uploading the MARC records (and 1 of those weeks was half term), we had an enquiry that was satisfied by a title from Credo Reference. This was an enquiry about kidneys and one of the Harvard Medical School titles (ironic I know, it's US published) came up on our catalogue search and was exactly what the learner was looking for.

In addition to the titles being changed, I also looked into where the topic pages pull their information from and have made it more UK specific, this was evidenced in preparation for a recent LRC staff development session on enquiries that my colleague and I did, where she discovered that Credo Reference has a UK Welfare State topic page and EBSCO's Discovery Research Starters doesn't. In the actual enquiries session, Credo Reference was promoted to the LRC staff as a good place to start enquiries because of the topic pages (and mind maps), potentially better than EBSCO's Discovery because I have made it more UK based than US based. In the subsequent practice enquiries (based on real ones we've had this academic year) done in the session, another Credo Reference title was found on the LRC catalogue to successfully answer the enquiry, this time it was The International Encyclopedia of Depression (again ironically US published).

I have now signed up for a Credo webinar to see if I can find out about anymore features I can make use of. I am looking forward to seeing if the user statistics have increased because of these changes and the immediate impact has encouraged me to link the Issues Series title to their Issues Online counterparts through Heritage and start uploading the MARC records of the Britannica E-stax titles that we have.

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Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...