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Getting to full text off campus (Library Hacks)

When you're on campus, getting to the full text of articles licensed by University Libraries is easy: Most of or providers recognize the U of M IP address and you're in. But off campus can be different. You can, of course, log in using the VPN. But if you haven't, and you're on a publisher's site, you might see a prompt to pay for content that we already have. 

You can always back all the way out, go to the Libraries home page, find the journal or publisher in one of our A-Z lists, and find the article all over again. But we have another solution that's much quicker.

Go to the Libraries Tools page and click on the Add the Proxy Bookmarklet for Off-Campus Access link under Browser Tools. Drag the Reload via U of M Libs button up to your browser toolbar. That's it.

Now, next time you're confronted with a pay wall or login prompt, click that button. The page you're on will reload through the Libraries proxy, and you'll be prompted to log in with your U of M Internet ID if you haven't already. Assuming we really do have access, you'll be able to download the full text.

And if we don't have access? That's another Library Hack. Stay tuned...

Working off-campus

Suppose you'd like to review some article citations and you're off campus. If you're feeling lucky, you can just search Google Scholar and find PDFs of the articles you want. But what if full text isn't freely available online?

If University Libraries has purchased access to the journal you want, you can go to the Libraries website and either find the journal in the E-Journals list or fill in citation information with the Citation Linker. In either case, you'll be prompted for your X.500 credentials and recognized as an affiliate once you get to the publisher's website.

But if you prefer to go straight to IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library, Elsevier ScienceDirect, or another publisher site, just drag the bookmarklet below to your browser toolbar. When you're on a publisher's webpage, click the UMN Access button. The code will update links on the page to use the University Libraries's proxy and you'll be able to download full text just as if you were on campus,

UMN Access

The idea and code for this bookmarklet came from Daniel Feldman, a graduate student in Software Engineering. Thanks, Daniel!

Getting What We Don't Have

What's that? You followed the directions in my previous post so that you could click on the FindIt! at U of M link and find an article or book, but the Find It screen says we don't have it? You're probably looking at a screen like this one:

First, be sure you click the Check for print/other electronic holdings link. It may be that we have the item in print. But if you draw a blank there, too, then look a bit farther down and click the Request this item from Interlibrary Loan/ILLiad link. You'll need to create an ILLiad account, if you don't already have one, and log in. ILLiad will present you with a partially filled form for your request.

After you've submitted a request for an item via ILLiad, you'll receive the item in anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Google Scholar is Your Friend

Last week Jon Jeffryes and I taught a Google for Researchers workshop. The outline of this particular workshop has always been fluid--we change it whenever Google releases something new that we think students, faculty, and staff will find useful. This time, at Jon's suggestion, we put eight possible topics up on the screen and asked the students to use clickers to vote on what we should cover first. Top vote-getter in the first round: Google Scholar. Most people had heard of it, but didn't know how it differed from using the main Google search.

Google Scholar is similar to the databases licensed by University Libraries in that it indexes scholarly articles from publishers and societies with whom it has relationships. Google Scholar also indexes scholarly articles and technical reports from other places, like institutional repositories and departmental websites at colleges and universities. I've seen articles from both the University Digital Conservancy and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory pop up on Google Scholar.

Google Scholar doesn't have the rich search tools found in licensed databases. You won't find faceted search tools where you can click on terms to quickly filter a search. Even the advanced search form is quite limited. But Google Scholar really shines when you have a full or partial citation you need to track down, when you're looking for paper from a conference proceedings or a technical report, or when you want to see the preprint version of a not-yet-published article.

Like licensed databases, Google Scholar sometimes links directly to the full text of the articles it indexes. Often, though, you'll only get to see an abstract. Don't despair--if University Libraries has access to the article, you're only a couple of clicks away from reading it. The only trick is to make sure Google Scholar knows you're affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

Jon posted instructions on how to "turn on" the FindIt@U of M Twin Cities link a few months back. If you're using Google Scholar and not seeing the link, take a couple of minutes to follow the steps Jon's laid out.