I’ve blogged about open access and interlibrary loans before and just thought that I would follow up on that with some more tips about approaching incorporating web search checks into your daily routine.
One source of articles for requesters which could prove useful is Research Gate. By creating an account and requesting the full texts our users could be connected with the authors of the articles they are interested in, and in turn build networks across the world. I created an account for my own purposes and have received articles in less than a day from academics across the globe.
Research Gate can be hugely beneficial in finding articles easily and freely in the initial searching and checking of a request, but through training we can teach our users to make better use of the amazing resource available to all: the World Wide Web. I check Research Gate for all articles requested and if they are already on the site I simply send a link to our requester.
For me in my work place our students have very specialised technical skills, but when it comes to information retrieval, searching the web or using MS Word, or even some of the more basic Adobe tricks, our users don’t know. We recently had a student who didn’t know how to enable full text search and copying in the PDF article we had received. At this point I remembered that the full Adobe Acrobat suite has a text recognition tool built-in to turn simple scans into fully searchable documents. This proves to be highly useful in my interlibrary loan work, and also in my day-to-day customer services role.
Another simple trick that I’ve found really useful is setting my browser to automatically open all of my ILL tabs for me as soon as it starts up. Maybe everyone else has been doing this for a long time, but it’s only just occurred to me. Up until now I’ve been opening them all from my bookmarks.
Instructions for setting this up follow.
Control Panel > Internet Options and then just create a list of the tabs that you want to open when you start the browser.
Click on the horizontal lines in the top right corner and then Settings > On startup and then you can set your pages
A final tip that I would like to share is the setting up of Google’s Custom Search Engine You may find it useful to create customised search engines for all of your team to share and use. I created one to search through all of the freely available sites that are useful for articles and books, such as openlibrary.org, researchgate, and readcube, but you could create one to limit your search to anything you found useful.
Hope you have found this useful and please add any of your own tips in the comments on this page.