Tuesday, July 22, 2008

EBSCOhost 2.0

The new EBSCO interface for MasterFILE Premier, MegaFILE, Academic Source Premier, and Business Source Premier is here! It opens with a clean, simple, Google-like interface, but don't worry, you can get still additional options by clicking on "Search Options" or "Advanced Search" below. After you perform a search, three panes pop up. The middle is the results, the left has narrowing options like source and subject (click on "more" to get more subject options), and the right has limiters like full-text, peer-reviewed and date (with a slick slider to change the date instead of typing it in). Also, the right pane has a link to your folder and related images. By 2009, all articles that come in .pdf form should have related images available in full-color as a separate file. If you don't like this view, the left and right panes can be hidden by clicking on little arrows.

The green bar above the results is called a breadcrumb trail. It lists what subjects you have added so if one doesn't work out, you can return to an earlier search without going back to the beginning. It also allows you to add a search to your folder, create an email alert, or save a search to RSS. I saved a search to RSS and tried reading it in Bloglines at home. It worked very well, I only had to type my library card in to access it, not my name or PIN. Other options in the results pane include: previewing the article by clicking on the magnifying option, a more prominent "add to folder" option, and relevancy rankings (when you rank by relevancy, the number of green squares show how relevant the article is considered to be).

In the individual record, delivery options are more prominent: Print, Email, Save to External Disc or Hard Drive, Save to Folder, Cite, or Export to Citation Software (EndNote, ProCite, Refworks). By 2009, there will be an option to copy citations to a computer's clipboard. EBSCO also suggests similar articles. Clicking on the "Bookmark" icon at the bottom of the article to the right of the persistent link will allow you to bookmark the article to Internet Explorer Favorites, Del.icio.us, Stumbleupom, Myspace, Facebook, Google Bookmarks, and many other services. Articles and searches are also bookmarkable.

Other new items on the front page include: new and improved visual search; "Search History/Alerts" which allows you to view previous searches, save searches, and combine searches; and the big blue EBSCO button, which you can always click on to go back the the beginning. EBSCO's training materials also mention a "SmartText Search", which lets the user copy a sentence, paragraph or whole article, then the database searches for similar articles. This doesn't appear to be active yet.

This new version of the EBSCO interface has a familiar, less intimidating starting point and makes the limiting and narrowing options more visible to the patron. For a presentation, Flash demo, brochures and more, check here.


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