So far, my review of Scottish university library websites giving information about current awareness has yielded disappointing results. Not so much as a sniff of an actual service for current awareness; some websites that don’t even mention major services such as Zetoc or JournalTOCs, some pretty dreadful website designs with features that don’t work, inconsistencies, and often only the barest of information or advice for researchers and students. So far, only the University of Stirling Information Services has a good website with information on keeping current. Elsewhere, there is very little assistance offered.
I’ll now look at the four universities in Edinburgh, starting with Queen Margaret University Library Services. Searching their website for ‘Zetoc’ produces some results – good! The first one is to a Quick Reference Guide, dated 2003 – bad! It explains how to log in – “From the Gateway to Resources Page (http://www.qmuc.ac.uk/resources/), click on the link for Library Web Pages.”
I tried following the instructions, by entering the URL for the Gateway, and here’s what happened:
I searched the site for ‘Journaltocs’ and there were two results – good! The first link takes you to Research Resources, which lists various useful websites and services, including JournalTOCs – good! But the list does not include Zetoc – Bad!
There, on the Information for Researchers page (actually it now titles itself ‘Support for researchers’) is also a link to Research Resources. But when I click on this link it takes me to a Research Support: Home set of pages, using a different template, which are quite different to the list of Research Resources.
What’s going on?
I couldn’t find any specific advice on current awareness, so I went back to the Library Services home page, and searched for ‘current awareness’.
There were 24 results:
I clicked on the first link, to Neurodevelopmental Disorders – Psychology – QMULibGuides at … and here’s what happened:
I’ve found the Subject Resources A-Z – sometimes, on other library websites, these guides have advice on keeping current, but I can’t find much in the QMULibGuides. There’s a Search Box on the LibGuides pages, but no indication of what it is searching. I think it is searching only within the LibGuides, rather than all of the Library Services pages, but this should surely be stated. I can’t see a link to the Library Services home page from the LibGuides, which is weird, and when I click on the QMULibGuides link on any of the LibGuides pages, as shown below…
However, I eventually found a sort of alerting service on the Diabetes: New research page, and another one on the Diagnostic Radiography: New Research page, with a selection of alerts to recently published articles from core journal titles:
Unfortunately, as you can see above, some of these don’t work properly.
Finally, Zetoc is not listed included in the guide listing databases and other resources for use by staff and students at QMU.
I find all of these errors, inconsistencies and omissions in a univerdsity library website quite unsettling.