When I started out to review Scottish university library websites giving information about current awareness I thought it would be a fairly simple process. I didn’t expect to find so many problems with the various websites.
I’ve been using these sites in a normal way, and certainly haven’t been looking for problems.
As far as I’ve found so far, only the University of Stirling Information Services has given any real advice on keeping current, and only QMU Library Services has provided any sort of alerting service, albeit one full of errors.
Heriot-Watt University Information Services – I used to work at Heriot-Watt, and I don’t want this review to sound anything like “Eee lad…it were mooch better in my day” or alternately, “Eee lass…you ‘ave it so good, nowadays”. I will try to be completely objective.
I know that, for a long time when I worked there, we had a terrible website, and then we developed a better one, but that one contained so much information that it was very difficult to keep it up-to-date. Since then, they’ve produced another version, and as far as information on current awareness is concerned, on first glance it looks good.
But before looking at the current awareness links, I have to say – what is that enormous swishy light thingy graphic that takes up so much vital real estate near the top of the IS home page?
I don’t see it when I access the site on my phone or tablet.
Ahem – unless I look at it in landscape, anyway. But then it is mostly hidden by a completely useless beige rectangle.
But that’s beside the point. So, what information and advice do H-W IS give on keeping current?
When I search for ‘Zetoc’ from the IS home page, the first result is a link to a Keeping up to date handout. This is dated February 2015 and is very good and very helpful. It mentions both Zetoc and JournalTOCs, and other sources for keeping up to date. The links work – well done! Also, I note that Zetoc (though unfortunately not also JournalTOCs) is mentioned in the Database A-Z list.
I don’t understand why there are two different, with differing designs, Subject Guides lists – there’s this one, and also this one, but when you click through to the same guides linked to on each list you sometimes, but not always, get advice on keeping current (a link to the good Keeping up to date handout mentioned above).
So, you get advice on keeping up to date if you’re looking for Chemical Engineering information, or Electrical & Electronic Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering, or Petroleum Engineering, or Renewable Energy, but not Computer Science and some other subjects. Don’t computer scientists need to keep up-to-date?
I’m fairly impressed with much of the content of the H-W IS webpages. Unlike some other university library websites I’ve been looking at, their LibGuide pages even indicate what it is that you’re searching when you use the Search box.