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View Now and Central Index Implementation in Melvyl

In April 2012, CDL and the campuses conducted usability testing on two features in Melvyl – View Now and Central Index. The recommendations and full report are available at:

As a result of the assessment and further follow-up, investigation, and discussion, decisions were made that are now ready to be implemented immediately.

View Now

It was recommended that View Now be turned on only for the HathiTrust materials. This is because we know users will be successful in going directly to the full text item on the HathiTrust platform in almost all instances when the HathiTrust item is in the public domain.

In further discussions, HOPS requested that the “.gov/.edu” sites also be turned on. CDL did additional testing and determined that in a vast majority of cases, these items were also successful in resolving to full text, so we will be turning on .gov/.edu items as well as HathiTrust items.

Other services examined in pre-testing and testing (Internet Archive/Project Gutenberg and the WorldCat Digital Gateway) will not have the View Now feature turned on at this time because the path to retrieving these items results in a negative user experience.

Central Index

The report recommended turning on the Central Index feature, which is maintained by CDL. We have developed the following guidelines for managing the service:

  1. CDL will turn on databases in the Central Index that are subscribed by all 10 UC campuses. This makes it workable to keep the databases in sync and results in a minimum of confusion for users. If one campus pulls out of a 10-campus license, CDL will remove that content from the Central Index for all campuses. We will notify the campuses if this occurs.
  2. CDL will add databases to the Central Index (those which OCLC has added in the previous six months) two times each year: in June/July and December/January. CDL will use the master list in OCLC’s service configuration tool because it indicates when resources are actually activated, as opposed to OCLC’s spreadsheet, which includes pre-activation information. CDL does not have control of some content that OCLC adds to or deletes from the Central Index. CDL also does not control when a change in vendors causes additions or deletions to the Central Index.
  3. CDL will not provide access to databases that are available only via Z39.50 because this method negatively impacts performance and the user experience.

What’s next?

As a result of the View Now and Central Index assessment report, thirteen new resources will be activated this summer. These include:

  • Alexander Street Press, Civil War Letters and Diaries
  • Alexander Street Press, Latino Literature
  • Alexander Street Press, North American Women’s Letters and Diaries
  • Alexander Street Press, Sixties Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960-1974
  • Alexander Street Press Scottish Women Poets of the Romantic Period
  • Cambridge University Press Historical Statistics of the United States
  • Institute of Physics eJournals and Archive
  • OECD iLibrary
  • Oxford University Press Oxford Art Online
  • Oxford University Press Oxford Music Online
  • ProQuest Gerritsen Collection of Women’s History, 1543-1945
  • Royal Society of Chemistry journals
  • S. Karger journals

Note:  In the case of journal packages where the UC Libraries do not subscribe to the complete title list of the resource, all of the journal titles may appear in a result set.  Users will discover that the full text is not available when the UC-eLinks menu does not display a full text link or when the WCL full text link in the detailed record leads only to an abstract page.

Some journal packages in WorldCat Local (WCL) are part of the Central Index and are activated by UC, such as Institute of Physics eJournals and Archive, the Royal Society of Chemistry journals and the S. Karger journals, and these will appear in the faceted database list with all the Central  Index databases.  Other journal packages are under the control of OCLC, such as Elsevier and Springer, and these do not appear in the faceted database list.

CDL will monitor the feedbacks and if this decision appears to create problems for users, we will reevaluate it.

What will be removed?

Several OCLC databases (previously hosted by RLG) are moving to the vendor EBSCO. As a result, their content will be deleted from the Central Index because they will now only be available via Z39.50. The list includes:

  • Anthropological Index
  • Anthropological Literature
  • Anthropology Plus
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • Chicano Database
  • Index to 19th-Century American Art Periodicals
  • Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies

Stay tuned

CDL will continue to scan the environment and review these decisions on a regular basis.  We thank all of those involved in the initial testing, assessment with users, and follow-up processes that have led to our moving forward with what we hope will be positive results for our users.