Journals and platforms – a stable relationship? Neigh!

I’ve told this tail so often, it’s making me horse!

Some ejournals are published on one platform only, and all their content can be found in place.  However, some journals’ content is found across multiple platforms.  Note the routes and years covered in this example:

OJLS multiple access routes

OJLS – Oxford Journals Archive 1981-1995, HeinOnline 1981-1998, LexisLibrary 1999-present

To explain this, I’ve developed a story about racehorses and stables.  Journals are like racehorses, in that they are born in one stable (or publisher, or platform), and may be traded during their professional lives.

OJLS racehorseConsider the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (OJLS).  This racehorse started its career at the stable called Oxford Journals.  Some time later, a new racehorse owner called HeinOnline was interested in buying OJLS, and moved OJLS into a new stable*.  After a while, LexisNexis bought OJLS from HeinOnline and the journal moved again, this time to LexisLibrary.

Archive access travelled with OJLS in the move from Oxford Journals to HeinOnline, but not  in the move between HeinOnline and LexisLibrary (hence the lack of overlap in content).  This is due to differences in the contracts agreed at each sale.

When you look at one journal over the course of its history, its content may be hosted by a number of platforms.

OJLS stablesIf you consider any individual platform at a particular point in time, it will host a variety of journals, and this will change over time as its parent publisher buys and sells content.LexisLibrary stableE-resources software acts like a kaleidoscope for viewing our ejournal collection. There will be a way to view all our platforms (equivalent to the stable in the equestrian metaphor), another to see a list of all journal titles (the racehorses), and possibly a discovery layer which allows you to search all article records regardless of journal or platform (let’s call that the horseshoe level).

Here are these views for EBSCO and Ex Libris systems:

EBSCO and ExLibris interfacesLeave me a comment to let me know of others!

See also: Journals and matryoshka (Russian) dolls

*Update: Thanks to Terry Bucknell for his comment that in the OJLS example, some content was licensed to Hein and Lexis aggregators, but the title did not change ownership; and Damyanti Patel who revised this as a tale about what local access is available from various places and why, rather than the history of the journal.

Just goes to show what I can’t see because my access is limited by paywalls!

JISC Collections Roadshow

My summary of yesterday’s JISC Collections Roadshow in Edinburgh/Musselburgh

Report on JISC Collections satisfaction survey (Vicky Legge)

  • High priority from respondents that licences should be 100% compliant with the NESLi2 model licence
  • Open Access main priority is gaining discounts on APCs

I can’t help wondering about value of satisfaction survey about a product you’re virtually obliged to use… it’s not like there’s much choice!

Update on upcoming renewals (Richard Savory)

  • “We have no control whatsoever about how much they increase the access fee…”
  • “Keeping price increases as low as possible” but this still means we’re having to make cuts as our budgets shrink…
  • Possible movement between JISC bands to reflect budget situation? Not going to help if we all shift down one
  • Seeking clarity over post-cancellation access – perpetual access to previously paid-for content
  • Negotiations are seeking to ensure that licences take APCs paid into account to avoid double-dipping
  • Usage trends: usage is up 2012 vs 2011 on the whole. Exceptions: IoP (-1%), Project MUSE (-0.14%). Maybe to do with Arxiv/Open Access?
  • Nature Publishing Group goes from strength to strength re: usage, making it hard to keep price increases down
  • ACS usage flat; RSC up on last year
  • Small publishers update: 21 new offers this year; new deals for BMC, ICE, NRC, RSM, Zeta Books; several more under consideration for 2014

JISC bands (Carolyn Alderson)

  • JISC bands changing from A-E to 1-6 to introduce slight increase for band 1 & decrease for band 6 (and some of 5) – spread costs a bit more
  • One band E institution is changing to band 5, with 28.72% increase
  • Several mentions of increasing charges tied to increasing usage… but increased usage doesn’t change the publishers’ overheads, so why charge more?

Update from Thomson Reuters

  • “It’s the year of the WoK renewal!”
  • He is going to try to explain the difference between WoK and WoS (good luck with that) [@richperkinslib: My attempt at a stir-fry in a wos was a miserable failure]
  • “It’s more difficult for you to manage than it is for us to administer” and an acknowledgement of difficulties accommodating walk-in users!
  • New search architecture for WoK
  • Transforming WoS into WoK: expansion of citations, extension of regional content, a new design philosophy

Pondering: publishers – which of you would like to be first to be well-known for a good reason rather than a bad one?

  • WoS (product) = past, WoK (platform) = future. So that’s that, then.  New pricing model will be more like a Big Deal bundle
  • Medline… available through variety of vendors. But if the product isn’t the same, why keep same name? Very hard for users to grasp difference
  • Thomson Reuters are looking to introduce a common metadata standard across repositories
  • “We need to break free from the shackles of…” Sadly the rep paused to think and then steered sentence in new direction
  • Someone asks about how to reconcile availability of more info with shrinking budgets…
  • … Rep: “these are the cards we’ve been dealt… we just have to work with it”

Seems like the elephant in the room is The Cost Of Your Subs Is Just Too High

  • JISC employee suggests that new bands may help – no they won’t, all they do is redistribute costs, not challenge prices!
  • From ‏@moananddrone (MT): Indeed. This is why Gold OA with corporate publishers is a fallacy as their APCs are defined by brand, not measured by cost.

Demo of Knowledge Base+

I wrote about KB+ in my Highlights from UKSG post.

@orangeaurochs I’m going to write a murder mystery which is solved using the knowledge that no two lists of ebooks are ever identical.

– seems especially appropriate during presentation about combining and managing data sources in KB+!

JUSP (Vicky Legge)

  • JUSP [the Journal Usage Statistics Portal] provides a single point of access to ejournal usage data – can use federated login
  • 152 UK HE and research council libraries in JUSP, and over 50 publishers. Can use it for SCONUL returns
  • JUSP can help you identify usage of core titles in a deal, and compare with unsubscribed titles in the deal
  • JUSP is a free service!

Janet update (Robert Prabucki)

  • Janet is the UK’s National Research & Education Network (NREN) – private network provider
  • Janet is not-for-profit, and is part of the new company called “JISC Collections & Janet”
  • Janet national backbone and regional hubs being upgraded – Janet6 will be switched on this month

JISC eCollections update (Richard Savory)

  • JISC MediaHub has improved advanced search, new MyMediaHub section, new collections including and Courtald

And a bit of chat about licences…

Decision tool for determining if partner college students count as HE authorised users… Survey results re: decision tool suggest that it didn’t help to clarify the situation about whether partner college students counted

Le sigh. RT @daveyp: @laurajwilkinson Think we were once told by a vendor “just don’t ask” when we asked about partner colleges 😀

I asked a question about whether JISC Collections have the appetite for renegotiating some of the T&Cs of the licences.  The wording of parts of the NESLi2 licences is out of step with the variety of modes of study that are available at many UK HE institutions, and above all, the wording has evolved from the regulations for print materials, which don’t translate well into a digital environment.

One of the JISC Collections employees said that various documents were available to help with clarifying what you can and can’t do (e.g. exactly who our authorised users are) but I explained that this creates uncertainty and that senior library staff may not be willing to take a risk on interpretation – it is better for the original rules to be straightforward.

My suggested rewriting of the Ts&Cs:

I license this resource for educational, non-commercial use only; and I trust my professional library colleagues to do what is necessary to enable such use to any and all users who wish it.  Love, [publisher] xx

In print or on screen? Investigating the reading habits of undergraduates using photo-interviews

This morning I attended a lecture entitled: “In print or on screen?  Investigating the reading habits of undergraduates using photo-interviews”.  The lecture was presented by Dr Alice Keller, who has carried out this research as part of her MSc Education (E-Learning).  Dr Keller previously worked for the Bodleian Libraries as Assistant Director for the Collections and Resource Description department.

She was interested in finding out more about students’ use of print and electronic resources particularly for the following reasons:

  • Usage statistics for e-books are high, and yet lending figures have not dropped
  • E-journals are now well accepted, but books still demonstrate staying power
  • Implications for libraries and their use of space – is it still useful to devote a lot of physical shelving space to books?
  • Should libraries be investing in print resources or electronic resources?
  • Are members of the Net Generation book-lovers or are they glued to their computers?

Her research questions were:

1. What are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of print and electronic formats that appear to influence the students’ choices between reading in print or on screen?
2. Which of these factors determine the students’ choices between reading in print or on screen for different types of reading (study and leisure reading)?
3. How important are attitudes towards the medium in students’ choices for reading in print or on screen?


12 undergraduate students took part in her study: 7 studying English and 5 studying Philosophy.  These subjects were chosen deliberately as many of the e-books that have been purchased at Oxford are in Humanities subjects.
Each student kept a photo-diary of everything they read over a three-day period, and these diaries were then discussed in individual interviews.  For the purposes of this study, “reading” was defined as any deliberate reading, whether for leisure or study, but excluded incidental reading such as checking the weather forecast.

Here are some points I found interesting:

  • The students read in various locations: libraries, gardens, their own rooms.  Different devices were used to access e-content e.g. laptops, desktop computers.  There were more instances of reading on screen versus in print, but time period was not recorded for this study.
  • Students in this study did not print out much to read – it didn’t occur to many of them – having the item in print was only important if they wanted to annotate it or would be carrying it around (e.g. when travelling).  Cost did not seem to be the main issue for printing out items.
  • No use of online books was recorded for leisure reading.  The main print items used were books.
  • No print journals were used – only read on screen or printed out.

The students’ choice of format was influenced by:

  • Attitude towards the medium
  • Economic factors
  • Physical factors (health)
  • Affordances* of the medium
  • Engagement with content
*Affordance means an action that you can perform with the object – what you can do with it


  • Students were passionate about books and had an emotional investment in this medium.  24/7 access was important as many students chose to work at night-time.  This highlights the role for college libraries, many of which are open 24 hours a day.  These students believed that reading should be an enjoyable experience (suggestion that this may be different for students in other subjects?), so medium has to be enjoyable too, and many expected a comfortable seat as part of their reading experience.
  • 3 out of the 12 students interviewed did not experience eye strain.  Many cited the distraction factor of being on the computer/ having internet connection
  • For some people, holding the item when reading was very important.  Having the physical object gave a sense of where you are in the book and made the reader feel that they were making progress through a finite text.
  • Search functionality is a major plus of online books.  The issue of missing pages from the online book was a major problem for some, whereas others didn’t mind as they could still get the essence of the text even if a few pages were missing.
  • The students tended to associate using the computer with something ephemeral; not serious reading.  Perhaps they have not been taught how to read online in a concentrated way or how to avoid distractions.  Some choose to work in libraries with no internet for this reason.   The influence of role models at home is strong: they way they have read at home will affect their acceptance of different media.
  • Some aspects were differently perceived as positive or negative depending on whether they were reading for leisure or study, e.g. in leisure reading, they enjoy the distraction/ variety of hyperlinks, but found this negative when reading for study.  Alice suggested that e-books and e-journals don’t have many useful hyperlinks, so perhaps they are not as distracting as online newspapers?

Which factors drive decisions?

Primary texts: electronic format rules for reasons of access and keyword searching.  But for all other aspects, print wins.
Secondary sources: convenience is important, and portability, so any print advantages could be easily overridden by electronic accessibility advantage. Personal preference for print will drive some individuals to find and borrow print version.
Attitudes are not a good predictor of overt behavior, but intention is.  Alice concluded that a rational model would apply to this context: for study, students will allow practical considerations override emotional preferences.  “Competition favours rational individuals”.