July 11, 2006

Libraries orientations, guest lectures, web pages for fall classes

If you are working with new students or staff starting at the U, or planning a fall course which includes a writing or research paper component, the Libraries offer a number of services which may be of interest. For new students or staff members, we're always available to provide an overview orientation to U Libraries services and systems. Similarly, we can offer basic orientations to particular classes as they start to use the library for their coursework or research. Beyond that, I speak to various classes on topics such as crafting a good research paper, how to select high quality information sources on the web, keeping organized while conducting literature research, and more.

Additionally, if there is a set of articles, books, journals, web sites, or other resources which you'll use in your class, the Libraries can prepare a CourseLib web page to help provide access and maintain links to these materials.

Drop me a line if you're interested in having me or a colleague in the Libraries speak to your class or put together a web page for your class. We're happy to work with you to suit your needs.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 8:43 AM

December 14, 2004

PubMed Bookmarklet and Toolbar Search Plugin Enhanced with U of M Find It Service

Frequent PubMed users may be interested in exploring two browser enhancements which allow users to initiate PubMed searches directly from a web browser window, and which are customized for University of Minnesota users.

Bookmarklets are short JavaScript applications contained in a web browser bookmark. They are often used to initiate a search in a web site database (e.g., in Google or Amazon.com). For frequently searched sites, they are quicker to use than first loading the web site home page and then entering the search on that page.

Several bookmarklets have been written for PubMed. This U Minn PubMed search bookmarklet has the additional advantage of activating the U. Libraries' Find It service in PubMed. Find It helps users link from PubMed to full text articles available through the Libraries. (For more information on Find It, see the Find It FAQ or http://blog.lib.umn.edu/messn006/molbiolibrary/012029.html).


You can add the bookmarklet to your list of bookmarks/favorites or to your bookmark toolbar as you would for any bookmark (e.g., right-click the link above and "Bookmark this link"). The bookmarklet works on current versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla products, on both PC and Mac platforms.

For Mozilla Firefox users, Chad Fennell at the Bio-Med Library has also whipped up a PubMed toolbar search plugin with similar utility. This tool creates a Find It-enabled toolbar search box, for direct searching PubMed from the browser. (Firefox comes with toolbar searches for Google and several other databases pre-installed. See Firefox Central for more on toolbar search engines.)


Enabling the U. Minnesota PubMed toolbar search is a two-step process. First, go to http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html and search for "NCBI PubMed" in the "Install search plugins" section. Follow the instructions to install. This will add the PubMed toolbar search to your browser.

Next, to enable the U Minn Find It function in your toolbar search, replace the file pubmed.src in Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/searchplugins/ with this version of the file.

Note that both the bookmarklet and toolbar search plugin tell PubMed to activate a web cookie (indicating you want U. Minnesota resources), so cookies must be enabled on your browser to use these tools.

Chad and I hope that one or both of these tools proves useful for you!

Posted by Kevin Messner at 8:18 PM

October 18, 2004

Creating stable links to online journal articles with Find It

Users of online journals often need to refer colleagues or students at the University to journal articles. Intuitively, the easiest way to do this is to copy the article file and email it to those who need it, or post it on a local server and link to the file. However, usage licenses for many publishers' online journals disallow copying article files from the publishers' web servers, and increasingly subscription-based publishers make it technically difficult to copy the files from their sites.

Some users try to copy and paste the URL for an article from the journal's web site; however, these direct URLs often do not work for the recipient because they do not pass through the content access controls put in place by publishers, which require the user to prove their University affiliation. This is especially a problem when the user is working from an off-campus location.

The University Libraries' Find It service can help journal users readily create a link to the online journal article at the publisher's web site. This URL will prompt the user for U of M Internet ID authentication and lead successfully to journal content licensed to the Libraries. Links created using Find It take advantage of the dynamic linking technology behind the Find It service. Additionally, if the Libraries access to an article changes from one provider to another, or the publisher changes the structure of their website, the link created can still remain functional, unlike a regular hard link.

The instructions below will guide you through the process of creating a URL for an article with Find It:

1) If possible, find a citation for the article in a Find It-enabled bibliographic index, such as the U Libraries access to PubMed. If a citation in an index cannot be found (for example, the journal is not indexed in PubMed), for an alternate link to the journal go to Step 2b below.


2) In the index, click the Find It button for the article. This brings up a Find It menu for the article.


3) One option on the Find It menu reads "Capture the link for this citation with the Find It Link Generator." Click that link.


4) On the following page titled "Find It Link Generator," copy the URL in the text box. Paste this into a web page, WebCT page, email, etc., to provide a link to the article.


2b) If a citation to the article cannot be found in an index with Find It buttons, a link to the journal can still be created using the Libraries e-journals list. Go to the e-journals page and find the journal title of interest.


3b) RIGHT click the title link. (Mac users: )


4b) A list of options is brought up. Select "Copy Link Location" to copy the link into memory (in Internet Explorer, use "Copy Shortcut").


5b) Paste (CTRL-V) the URL into a web page, WebCT page, email, etc., to provide a link to the journal. (From there, the user will need to navigate to the article within the journal, so you should confirm that the article is actually present on the journal web site!)

Posted by Kevin Messner at 10:41 PM

I have a citation, how do I find the article? Getting from Here to There with “Find It”

For scientific journal literature provided online through the Libraries, our E-journals site is the quickest way to get from a known citation of an article to the full text of that article. Starting at a Libraries’ web page will help clarify whether the U subscribes to the journal in question, and ensures that you are prompted for your U Network ID, if necessary to access the resource.

As an example, let’s say you’re trying to find the full text for this article:

Kenyon SJ, Bromley BC. Nature. 2004 Dec 2;432(7017):598-602.

Go to the E-journals site (accessible from the University Libraries’ home page).

You want to find the journal “Nature.” Either search for Nature (use the Exact Title check box to avoid finding other titles which include the word “Nature”), or browse the “N’s” in the alphabetical list for the title. In either case, click the “Nature” title link when you find it.

A page titled “Find It: the University Libraries Linking Service” comes up. For Nature and many other journals, the title is available from more than one provider, so there are several listings on the page. Note the “Availability” in small text below each entry – the available issues may differ between providers.

Once you’ve identified a source, click the link on that entry. This link takes you to a home page for that journal, from which you can navigate to the article you need.

(On the Find It page, a form is provided to enter the particular year, volume, issue, and start page of the article you want. Depending on the particular journal and publisher, entering this information may take you directly to the article. However, this function depends entirely on the structure of the publisher’s web site and is not always successful. If it doesn’t work, try deleting the data from the form and click the link to go to the journal home page.)

If the article you're looking for isn't available through the Libraries online, try MNCAT to look for print holdings of the journal. Trouble? Contact the Bio-Medical Library (4-3260; medref@umn.edu), Magrath Library (4-1212; magrath@umn.edu), or the Infopoint chat and email service at http://infopoint.lib.umn.edu/.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 1:17 PM