Electronic Information Services News 2003

! This page has been archived and is not actively maintained. Some links may not work and some information may no longer be current.

January 2003

Oxford English dictionary on trial

We currently have an institution-wide trial of the 3rd edition of the Oxford English Dictionary online. No password is required - simply go to www.oed.com. 

New guidesheets on referencing electronic materials

Both the Information and Study Skills Service and the Academic Skills Unit have been getting a lot of questions recently about how to reference web sites and electronic journals. These issues are covered in the referencing guides we have already produced and which are available on the newly-updated Information and Study Skills website (go to http://infoskills.port.ac.uk/listwbks/list.htm). However, we thought it would be useful to produce a couple of mini-guides acting as ready reference on referencing electronic documents in particular.

Content Management System for the University website

Following a tendering process, presentations from selected providers and lengthy deliberation, the University has selected a Content Management System. The chosen product, "Site Manager" is produced by Terminal Four, an Irish based company with an office in Reading. Site Manager will streamline management of the web site and simplify loading and updating of information as well as providing a common interface for all departments. As far as the Library is concerned, Site Manager will be the vehicle for maintaining the library?s flat-file information pages. The future of the Subject Directory, which uses an underlying database to manage the Electronic Information Services (EIS), is less clear. Ultimately we want to move to a portal system which will enable users to search all or any of our EIS with one search and we have to evaluate how far Site Manager will take us towards that goal before deciding whether we need to invest in a different product. Watch this space for further developments.

Bye-bye Pro-Cite?

For some time now there have been signs that Pro-Cite, the University?s current product of choice for bibliographic data management, may be on the way out. Pro-Cite is marketed by ISI ResearchSoft, which also produces rival products Reference Manager and Endnote. Some rationalisation was inevitable and it looks as though Pro-Cite may gradually wither whilst the other two products continue to be supported. If we are right about this it will be necessary to switch to a new site licence and currently Endnote is the front runner. Library staff are looking at all options, however, including Refworks, which has links to Cambridge Science Abstracts, and Writenote, a new product from ISI Researchsoft which claims to help students understand referencing as well as helping them manage their references.

If you are familiar with a bibliographic data manager other than Pro-Cite or have views on where we should go in the future, please email ian.mayfield@port.ac.uk.

New TV progs database

TRILT, the Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching is now available free to all HE Institutions with an Athens account. It is an extensive online database of UK television and radio programmes including terrestrial, cable, and satellite television (with regional variations), all national and many local radio stations. Data is available at least 10 days before transmission, building a searchable archive of programme information and schedules. Visit TRILT via the Portia Subject Directory or direct at http://edina.ac.uk/trilt/.

Marketing magazines online

A new service has been introduced giving us access to four leading marketing magazines: Marketing, Campaign, PR Week and Revolution. Some, but not all of these are available via existing services. The service is called Brand Republic and is available via Portia: go to the Subject Directory, type the title into the search box and click "Go!".
You will need a password to use this database, to request one, fill in the Subject Directory, (tick 'Marketing magazines online').

Possible delivery problems with some e-journals

The e-journal subscription agent Rowecom has announced its intention to withdraw from the subscription handling market. It seems likely that its titles will eventually be taken on by another agent but this will take time and in the meantime there may be problems accessing some titles.

 Rowecom delivery problems with e-journals - potentially affected titles [Acrobat (.pdf) - 7kb - 22.05.2003]

Ian Mayfield
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239


March 2003

Personal bibliographic software: Pro-Cite AND Endnote to be supported

In the January issue of this bulletin we reported our fear that Pro-Cite, the University's standard bibliographic management package, might no longer be supported by its suppliers. We have since heard from ISI Researchsoft, the company in question, that Pro-Cite will continue to be supported as long as there is a substantial user community that wants it, and it will be 're-purposed with added functionality'(!). However, whilst examining possible alternatives to Pro-Cite we discovered that there is sizeable group of Endnote users in the University. It seems many people find Endnote easier to use and don't need the greater functionality (that word again) which Pro-Cite offers. We will continue to support Pro-Cite in the future but hope also to add Endnote as a second University standard, and to begin supporting this too with training and problem-solving. More on this in due course.

Company profiles via Business Source Elite

The Business Source Elite database offers a wide range of profiles of major companies, giving in PDF format a description and brief history of each company, facts about its size and performance, and key personnel. Whilst not rivalling the detailed financial data available through products like Fame, this is a useful service for anyone wanting an overview of individual companies. Go to the Portia Subject Directory and Type Business Source Elite into the search box and click Go; select BSE from the list of products listed on the Ebsco host site and once in BSE, click on 'Company Profiles'. Incidentally, the suprisingly large image database in BSE is also well worth a visit?..

Cancellation of ASAP

Another of the Library's business sources, European Business ASAP, will no longer be available from April. Financial pressures have led to this decision, with this product seen as the least valuable behind rival products BSE and Emerald, which remain available.

Electronic access to American Chemical Society journals

The Library has recently agreed a deal with the American Chemical Society which gives electronic-only access to all of their titles. The loss of access to print versions is offset by the addition of material not previously available to us. The following titles are available:

These can be accessed now for internal users (IP controlled access) via the ACS site at http://pubs.acs.org/about.html. They will be added to the list of e-journals accessible via Portia as soon as this can be arranged.

Portals group

ISO have initiated a working group to address problems which they see as arising from the fact that 'the business process at the university is extensive, devolved and lacks a common framework of authentication and navigation'. The aim will be to 'deliver a series of gateways, each one acting as a single web site that individualises the information resources to the specific characteristics of the person'. For more information contact Simon Walton.

Free reports on countries of the world

We have recently received word of a new service which provides, free of charge, information about 'emerging nations'. The site, at http://www.newnations.com, is sponsored by Amnesty and Freedom House and the same site also offers 'audits of countries world wide with regard to human rights, political rights, press freedom, corruption and the rule of law'.

Problems for Freeserve clients

Colleagues who use Freeserve as their ISP may have had problems accessing Webspirs databases off-campus. This is because Freeserve are currently blocking access to the service. They have not responded positively to our efforts to discuss this with them so it may help if individual subscribers complain. Alternatively, you may want to change your ISP?.If readers are aware of any other problems of this kind, please contact Paul Egan or Sylvia Wood who manage our electronic helpdesk.

Current problems page

Don't forget that Portia provides a list of currently known problems at http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/library/help/helpdesks/currentproblems/

E-books project

The Library wishes to explore the potential impact of electronic books on teaching and learning and is looking for possible partners within the academic community. Anyone interested should please contact Ian Mayfield.

Ian Mayfield
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239

April 2003

Trial of Compendex via Edina

A trial has been arranged enabling staff at the University of Portsmouth to access the Compendex database - Engineering Index - via the Edina host until the end of April. To take a look at it, go to http://edina.ac.uk/compendex/. You will need a username and password to access this trial, contact library.webmaster@port.ac.uk or sian.kennedy@port.ac.uk from your University email account.

Please let me have any comments you may have about this service. (ian.mayfield@port.ac.uk)

European Commission documents go electronic only

Until now the University Library, as a European Documentation Centre, has enjoyed free receipt of documents issued by the European Commission, known as COM documents. These are proposals for new legislation plus reports, communications, white papers etc. From the end of April, free distribution of hard copy versions will cease. Since the cost of a hard-copy subscription will be around £1000 per annum, it is not intended that we will subscribe but will instead rely on electronic access to COM documents via the Eur-Lex portal:


COM documents can be found under "Legislation in preparation" and "Documents of public interest".

Athens here to stay

The use of Athens accounts will continue to be the means of access to an increasing majority of our electronic information services following a recent announcement that JISC has renewed its contract with EduServ to provide access and authentication services to UK Higher Education via their ATHENS service. The new contract will last until 2006. More details area available at


Meanwhile we are looking into "devolved Athens authentication", which would enable Athens accounts to be linked to University logins so that the latter would be recognised by all Athens authenticated services, meaning that no separate login would be necessary. More on this in due course.

Free access to IMF data

The University of Manchester has signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will give UK academics access to the statistical databanks produced by the IMF. The agreement is for a five-year period and will provide access, via the International Data Service based at MIMAS at the University of Manchester, to International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payments Statistics, Direction of Trade Statistics and Government Finance Statistics. We are trying to get details of how and when this material will be available and will report more on this in the next Bulletin.

Comments on any or all of the above to ian.mayfield@port.ac.uk, please.

Happy Easter!

Ian Mayfield 11/04/03
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239


June 2003

E-books trials

JISC are currently seeking expressions of interest in potential deals with three publishers for the supply of electronic books. Trial access to these publishers is available as part of this exercise. The Library is currently setting up these demos and details will follow. Access to Taylor and Francis e-books is already available, as follows:

for the username and password, email libary.webmaster@port.ac.uk

Further to the information on e-books trials in the Bulletin issued last week, trial access to Wiley InterScience books has now been arranged. Access is IP controlled so no passwords are necessary but the resource can only be accessed on campus. The web address is:


E-books project

The Library has submitted a bid under the University’s Teaching and Learning Innovations and Research funding programmes to undertake a pilot study to investigate the potential of electronic books in HE. If funded, the project will work with selected departments to look at the ways in which students use books, how lecturers influence this, and how appropriate the various models of e-book are within this context. The first phase, which will be undertaken irrespective of the outcome of the bid, will study the e-books market and investigate how far subject coverage matches the Portsmouth curriculum. Anyone interested in working with the library on this project should please contact Ian Mayfield.

JISC journal deals

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has identified 10 publishers, based on their earlier survey of the HE community, with whom they will attempt to negotiate e-journal deals on behalf of the community. There are also five ‘reserve’ publishers. Institutions are being asked to send a letter of intent to indicate those publishers in whose material they would be interested if deals could be struck: the idea is that JISC will enter into negotiations on the basis of being able to assert that a certain number of institutions may sign up. Unfortunately the timescale for sending these letters of intent is very short – the deadline is 13 June. This means that we are not able to consult as we would wish. However the letters of intent are not binding, and this initial process will be followed by a full review of our e-journal purchases which will take place over the summer – including a look at publishers outside the JISC fifteen. If you wish to let us know your views on this, please contact your subject librarian. The publishers in the JISC frame are:

Top ten:

A consortium of publishers within ALPSP (the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers)

A two-year CHEST agreement has been signed giving us access to Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. This should come into force on July 1st.

Oxford English Dictionary

Another CHEST deal in the pipeline is for the OED. This is being finalised at the time of writing and more details will follow.

American Economic Association journals

The Library has recently paid an additional premium (i.e. in addition to the print subscription) to secure electronic access to the following journals from the American Economic association:

Reading list management software

The library is currently investigating software for managing reading lists. Front runners are Talis list, produced by our library systems supplier, and Discover, produced by a small company in Liverpool and currently being deployed by some 30 institutions. The software would enable academic staff to create online reading lists which would link to the library catalogue and to the full text of electronic journals. The lists could also be integrated with WebCT and other VLEs. This software would form a central plank in the development of a library portal and, as such, a key element in the University portal infrastructure currently under development. Further details from Judith Stamenkovic, Ian Bonar or Ian Mayfield.

Ian Mayfield
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239


August 2003

Education databases

A JISC deal has been entered into which gives access to the US education database ERIC, plus Australian Education Index and British Education Index. Hopefully this will clarify access to these databases - previously there has been confusion around the fact that the British and Australian databases were marketed under the banner 'International Eric', even though they are actually nothing to do with the ERIC database! To access, go to http://www.dialogatsite.com/ or search for any of the three databases by name in the Subject Directory on the Library web site. On campus access requires no password, whilst off campus users need their personal Athens password.

Oxford English Dictionary Online

This is another new JISC deal, due to start on 1 August. You can link from the Library web site or go direct to http://dictionary.oed.com/entrance.dtl Again, off campus authentication access is by Athens.

Journals via JSTOR

For the first time the Library has invested in some of the journal back runs available from the JSTOR service. From 1 August we will have access to journals in the collections Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II and Language and Literature. For details of titles in these collections go to http://uk.jstor.org/about/collection.list.html. To start with, access to the journals will also be via this site since it will take some to create individual catalogue records for each title. Note that the service does not give access to current issues: the latest issue available is normally between three and five years old. Off-campus access is via Athens.

MLA and Art Abstracts change platforms

From August 1, the Modern Languages Association database (MLA) and Art Abstracts are moving from the Edinburgh-based EDINA service. MLA will be hosted by Silver Platter's Webspirs service and Art Abstracts is moving to WilsonWeb. In both cases the link from the Library web site will be amended so that the correct location will be found. To go direct, use the following URLs:

CHEST deal for history databases

Another change from August 1 is the availability, via a CHEST deal, of Historical Abstracts and a service new to the University, America History and Life. Once again, there are links from the Library catalogue and website, direct login is at
Off-campus access is not available.

Access to current Kluwer journals held in print

The publishers Kluwer have recently provide access to electronic versions of those of their journals to which we have print subscriptions, for the current year only. This will be a 'rolling availability', so that what is available is always the latest 12 months. There are 12 titles involved, all of which can be accessed from the catalogue or the web site:

Changes are planned with regard to the Library's range of legal information services. Current Legal Information will cease to be available, but will be replaced by Westlaw UK and Lexis/Nexis. These changes are not yet finalised so watch the web site for further announcements.

Staff survey

In planning and managing our electronic information services, our aim is to provide what the University community wants and needs in the most effective way possible to support teaching, learning and research. With such a range of services available and a plethora of delivery options, it is very difficult to be sure we are achieving this aim. For this reason we would like once again to ask your views on a number of issues. An all-staff email will go out shortly, inviting you to complete an on-line survey, accessible from our web site. As always, your views will be greatly appreciated and carefully considered.

Ian Mayfield
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239

September 2003

New law databases

Subscriptions have recently been taken out to two legal information services:

Westlaw UK and Lexis/Nexis. Both area accessible from the Library website by typing these titles into the Subject Directory search engine. In both cases off-campus access will be available via Athens personal accounts.

Westlaw: clicking on the link in the Subject Directory brings up a copy of the licence agreement. In order to access the service you need to scroll to the bottom of the agreement and click to indicate that you agree with its terms.

Lexis/Nexis: at present the link to this from the Library Catalogue is not straightforward so you are recommended to go via the Subject Directory.

We are also concluding agreements giving access to All England Direct and Halsbury's Direct. Further details to follow.

Trial of Expanded Academic

We have a month's trial access to the above service from Gale publishers. This is an inter-disciplinary electronic journals service similar to Academic Source Premier, which we trialled recently. A variant of the Expanded Academic Service is available which enables subscribers to ?cherry-pick? the titles they want from the Gale list. To view the list go to www.gale.com and select ?Title lists?; then in the list of databases select ?Infotrack custom?.

This Trial has now ended

On-campus access is IP controlled; to access the trial from off-campus, contact library.webmaster@port.ac.uk for the username and password

Please send any comments on the value of otherwise of this service to Ian Mayfield (ian.mayfield@port.ac.uk) (not to Sian Kennedy).

October 2003

University Staff Survey

As you will probably have seen from the recent all-staff email, the Library is running a survey to try to gather the views of staff on its electronic information services (EIS). This information is crucial to us in planning future developments. If you have not already done so, please try to find the time to complete the questionnaire which can be found at...
This survey is now closed.

OECD Main Economic Indicators at MIMAS/ESDS

The Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) International provides access to, and support for, a range of international datasets - both macro and micro sources. ESDS International is being run jointly by Manchester Information and Associated Services (MIMAS) at Manchester and the UK Data Archive (UKDA) at Essex. ESDS is now providing, via its software package 20/20, access to data formerly accessed via the Timeweb service. This includes Main Economic Indicators from the OECD. There are plans to offer data from other organisations and negotiations are under way with several, including IMF, Eurostat, Unido, and ILO. A table showing the current state of play with these providers is available at http://www.esds.ac.uk/International/access/macro.asp

Internet Explorer seems to be more reliable then Netscape for accessing this information.

This service is available free to teachers and researchers in UK HEIs. Registration is required: see http://www.mimas.ac.uk/macro_econ/registration.html. Once registered, access is via Athens personal passwords. For more details of services, including a workbook to take you through tracing and downloading OECD MEIs, go to http://timeweb.mimas.ac.uk/

Changes at EDINA Digimap

A new interface for the EDINA Digimap service was launched on 9 September 2003. Navigation through the site has been improved and the Help pages have been updated. PDF printing has also been added to the basic mapping service, now known as Digimap Classic.

Users can register online at a new registration page

Users no longer need to sign the final part of the registration page or have it counter- signed by the Digimap Site Representative, although they should print the page out and keep it for future reference. EDINA will check the registration details entered by the user and approve or reject the user accordingly. EDINA will aim to process all personal registrations within 2 working days.

The annual update of Ordnance Survey data available through Digimap was completed in September. New versions of all products are available for both mapping and download facilities, with the exception of Land-Form PANORAMA, which is not an updated product. The following changes to data have been made:

Strategi contains two new feature sets: limited access multi-level junctions and non- 24 hour service stations.
Strategi DXF data is now only available as two large tiles: GBNorth and GBSouth. The dividing line between these runs from SC00 to TB00 (bottom right corner of square TA). This is approximately between Bootle and Grimsby.
Land-Line tile quotas have been reset to zero for this academic year. For more information on the Land-Line tile quota, please see the Digimap Help pages.

Ian Mayfield
Associate University Librarian (Electronic Services)
Architecture Librarian
European Documentation Centre Librarian
Tel. 023 9284 3239