Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ball State Libraries Expand SFX Link Resolving Technology

A strategic objective of the Ball State University Libraries is to strengthen, expand, and harness the libraries’ digital and print resources for research, learning, and classroom instruction. The availability of resources at the desktop are increasingly key for students engaged in immersive and independent learning. One of the main information technologies to facilitate desktop access to e-resources is SFX technology, the full-text linking utility provided by ExLibris Company. Students and faculty at Ball State recognize see this technology in action when their literature searches show the graphic, Find It @ BSU.

The University Libraries’ SFX Maintenance and Development Working Group, formed in November 2005 by Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, recently made substantial progress in further deployment of the SFX utility and has discussed some creative possibilities for future development of this technology to enhance knowledge discovery for students and faculty at Ball State.

The Libraries recently established Web of Science, MathSciNet, and SciFinder Scholar as SFX sources. As a result, a special graphic appears next to the citations in the search result, Find It @ BSU. When clicked, this button routes the reader to electronic full-text articles wherever the articles exist in the libraries’ digital journal collections. Additionally, nearly 6,000 individual targets, or publication titles within aggregated databases, have been activated in SFX since October 2006.

The University Libraries continue to investigate and innovatively incorporate the diverse power of SFX context sensitive linking technology in an effort to improve teaching and learning opportunities for our students and faculty. We are presently:
· Configuring SFX functionality with Windows Academic Live
· Examining the possibility of using link resolver technology in our online public access catalog, CardCat, to provide users access to online purchase options from national online booksellers, such as Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com
· Expanding linking to e-book content in a scholarly information environment
· Using detailed statistical reports provided by SFX to better understand usage patterns for e-journal titles, other academic source items, and to develop a more tailored and relevant electronic collection.

The Libraries expect to see continued dynamic growth in the implementation of link resolver technology as online information providers and vendors incorporate the technological infrastructure for compatibility with link resolving services like SFX. This powerful tool exponentially simplies online research and offers our students and faculty unmatched precision and potential in locating relelvant research and information.

For more information, contact Matthew C. Shaw, Ball State University Libraries’ Electronic Resources Librarian, MCShaw2@bsu.edu, (765) 285-1302.


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