Every time I try to use UK university library websites for finding things I begin to despair. I seem to come across so many 404s, links to lapsed services, omissions and out-of-date information. UK university library websites are supposed to be helpful, and created by information experts. Doesn’t anyone check these sites regularly?
Recently, I was interested in how university library websites point their users towards services which will help them keep up-to-date with finding the latest research.
What did I find? The following was the situation on 13th February, though the websites may be updated by the time you read this.
1. A Current awareness page at SOAS that had (at #4) a list of places to find new Internet resources which consisted of: BUBL Link (If you go to the link you can read: The BUBL service is no longer being updated (April 2011)); Internet Resources Newsletter (which ceased in December 2009); and Intute New Resources (which closed in July 2011).
2. At the University of Glasgow Library website I couldn’t immediately find anything about current awareness, so I searched their site and found a link to GAELS Current Awareness Services. Clicking on the Access Current Awareness Service link resulted in the following:
3. At the University Of Lincoln Portal Current Awareness page I found links to the Hero website (which I think hasn’t existed for some time now), the Internet Resources Newsletter (which ceased in December 2009), and Regard at ESRC (the link fails).
4. At Leeds Metropolitan University Library there’s a Current Awareness page that has some nice general advice, but the first link is to ticTOCs and says it “…is a new scholarly journal tables of contents (TOCs) service.” ticTOCs was new in 2007, and hasn’t had any journals added to it for several years.
5. At the University of York there’s a Keep up to date page, with information about ticTOCs (see above), and Intute (see above).
6. Cardiff University Information Services Current Awareness Services – Web Information page lists the gateway OMNI. I don’t think OMNI has existed for several years, and Intute, which it became a part of, closed last year, so “Scan the updates for new resources” isn’t much help.
There’s always going to be the occasional broken link, but the above are supposed to be pages that tell you about keeping up-to-date!!!
Such pages may find some of the links at Where to find new scholarly research papers: 30 key, free websites useful.
In fact, given that I didn’t find much about current awareness/keeping up-to-date at some university library websites, I think I’m seeing a trend develop. Gone are the days when most libraries tried to give detailed guides on the Web to all aspects of finding information, with accompanying issues of keeping those numerous guides up-to-date. Instead, I’m seeing far more: “If you want help with finding information, contact our qualified staff” type of pages. Maybe that’s just as well.