Cinahl: changes are afoot

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

As you may well know, Cinahl is moving (or has already moved, depending on your perspective) from its Ovid platform to Ebsco. The Krafty Librarian has recently posted on this here. I found the post illuminating and, honestly, quite frightening. The part where she describes how one cannot simply export all references in a search set is absolutely earth-shattering. This is something that I take for granted with the Ovid platform. How could Ebsco not build in this functionality?

If you have seen my post on the Ovid interface (I did a survey on its interface and how users adapt to it) you will know that I have an interest in how interfaces help or hinder the user. I must admit that I have not used Ebsco since about 2005. I do not recall it being particular good or bad. However, I cannot say that I am looking forward to being forced to use it come December (when the switch occurs for us).

The librarians at the Becker Library in the US have created a nice Powerpoint presentation to give users an overview of Cinahl’s new layout and functionality.

If the complicated and sometimes counter-intuitive functionality that the Krafty Librarian describes is a hindrance for many informaticists, then it must be one as well for clinicians, students and laypeople. Perhaps this is an intentional way for information professionals to put up a 3 metre barbed wire fence around our territory? Meaning, if it were simply to search, then who needs us? Just playing devil’s advocate, as part of me thinks that interface designers probably do try to make things intuitive, and midway through designing an interface, throw their arms in the air and give up. Or the board/Executive management intervenes/interferes because they haven’t pleased enough people. Who knows.

Will blog again after I have had the pleasure of using Ebsco Cinahl.


3 Responses to “Cinahl: changes are afoot”

  1. What! You can’t export results of a set?? Surely they’re having us on? Do tell us more – I don’t have access to CINAHL and so am hanging on your every word…

  2. Hmm. I can’t say for sure, but according to the Krafty librarian, you cannot. I would have to play around more and it looks like with Athens access, I would need to make a personalised account to save searches and things. I do not see an easy way to export all–and I only see the individual ‘Add to Folder’ icon under each citation. Good times clicking that, oh, 300 to 1,200 times per search…

    This is what she says about references (and very diplomatically):

    EBSCO’s has not built into its system a method for saving all results in the set. EBSCO’s system is set up for the individual searcher who can easily go through the results on their own and select relevant ones while conducting the search. It is not set up for librarians who conduct a search and then want to send the results to a patron. I just went to the eye doctor yesterday and my prescription changed, so perhaps I am just not seeing it, but there is no icon or link to select all search results. Therefore the librarian must click on every single citation to save to the folder. A slightly faster method to this would be to display 50 citations and then click on the link to add 1-50 to the folder. Then you click on the folder to send the citations via email. This is annoying and time consuming.

    PDFs email out separately [!!!]. If you are emailing a search that contains citations with full text articles in PDF form, those PDF articles and their citation are sent as individual emails. This method of emailing results is the default. Again this great for the individual searcher who will expect to see multiple emails in their account, but it is a poor method for a librarian sending a search results email to a patron. It is best for librarians conducting searches for patrons to uncheck the send PDF and send HTML as separate emails boxes. Leave the box, “current search history” checked. This will send all of the citations in one email and provided a persistent URL to each citation that the patron can click on and view their full text options.

  3. Okay, not 300x or more per search, as it is possible to put 50 citations on a page, as Krafty says, and move these by clicking ‘add 1-50’, then ‘add 51-100’, etc. But that is as good as it gets.

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