a. New UC-eLinks Services

Two new services will be added to the UC-eLinks pop-up window as of March 3, 2003:
1. Need Help? Ask a Librarian
2. Report problems with UC-eLinks

From campus IP addresses, users are taken directly to that campus’ “Ask a Librarian” email reference, online chat or similar services web page when clicking on “Need Help? Ask a Librarian.” This service enables users to contact a librarian for more reference help while in the act of doing their research.  For example, users might have a question about how to find more information on their topic than they are currently finding.  The “Ask a Librarian” link provides them with the opportunity to ask their question.

Users having problems specifically with the linking technology, UC-eLinks, will now be more easily able to report specific problems, and the CDL will be able to better track them.  By clicking on “Report problems with UC-eLinks,” users are taken to a pop-up window where they are asked to describe their UC-eLinks problem, and for their name and email address.  The citation information for the item from which users initiate the feedback will be automatically included with the comment, which will come to the CDL.

These two new services will be added to the three existing linking services: linking to full electronic texts, linking to catalog holdings, and linking to Request (interlibrary loan).

The Tools and Services Working Group had previously identified Ask-a-Librarian as a potential new service and the Transition Steering Committee recommended that it be added when some of the transitioning database vendors were unable to provide it from their interfaces.  (See the article below in which Gale has implemented an Ask a Librarian feature in InfoTrac.)  A UC-eLinks project team has been set up to oversee the implementation details of future UC-eLinks enhancements and campus instances, and the Tools and Services Working Group will continue to solicit comments on future enhancements in order to develop guiding principles.

a. New “Ask-A-Librarian” Links in Gale’s InfoTrac Databases (Frank Gravier, UCSC)

Starting Monday, March 10, 2003, UC users of Gale’s Expanded Academic ASAP, National Newspaper Index, and the Computer Database will have an easy link to their campus library’s reference librarians.  Gale is the first vendor to provide this service from their interface in the way that meets UC libraries’ needs for flexibility.

The InfoTrac interface will now provide an “Ask-A-Librarian” link at the top of the InfoTrac Web pages.  The link will be campus specific since each campus has its own account for Gale databases. So, for example, patrons using UC Santa Cruz’s InfoTrac databases will be able to contact reference librarians at UCSC, just as UC Riverside patrons will be able to contact UCR librarians.

Services available through “Ask-A-Librarian” links vary at each campus.  Some provide an opportunity to use the campus’s virtual reference service, while others allow patrons to ask questions by email.

Questions about this service or other aspects of Expanded Academic ASAP, National Newspaper Index and the Computer Database can be directed to the CDL Resource Liaison for these databases, Frank Gravier, at gravier@ucsc.edu.