Thursday, December 08, 2005

E-books from Proquest Safari

E-books as a resource draw mixed responses. Loads of publishers are getting into the e-book game and new offers and packages are coming out frequently.

With most e-books, you're basically buying access, not ownership. That's the biggest mental hurdle to overcome for any e-product. Some publishers offer perpetual access after three or so years of subscription but still, you're relying on them to provide the product and not change their minds later on down the road. Scary thought. Then there's a lack of standardisation in format from each publisher. On the flip side, e-books can be accessed anywhere anytime - no placing a hold and waiting for a week, no negotiating tricky shelfmarks. And you can search by keyword across a number of books, as you might do for journal articles. Additionally e-books fit perfectly as reading list material within a VLE.

Recently we had a demo from Proquest Safari Techbooks. Safari have formed an alliance with computing publishers like O’Reilly & Associates, and The Pearson Technology Group (imprints include Addison-Wesley Professional, Adobe Press, Cisco Press, New Riders, Peachpit Press, Prentice Hall PTR, Que, and Sams). Clearly this is of most interest to Computer Science, as we do actually buy and use a lot of printed material from these publishers. It's now a matter of setting up a trial, and deciding whether we can/want to spend the money. And hope for some feedback...

Exam papers online

Exam papers are now kept online at
This is a database searchable by the unit code (ie. ma10001) for the last five years.
The library is no longer keeping printed copies of any exam papers. All students are being directed to the online version. Off-campus users will need to enter their BUCS username and password for access.
For mathematics, both exam papers and solutions are available online.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Athens login no longer needed.

This has been the case for some time now, but with placement students returning the question is still arising.

Athens is an access management system used for authenticating and accessing web-based resources like Web of Science or online journals (mostly this is for off-campus access).

Before, students and staff used to enter an Athens username and password for access. Now we've moved to a slightly different method called Athens Devolved Authentication (AthensDA). AthensDA goes on behind the scenes and the only user credentials you now need are your BUCS username and password. There's no need for an separate Athens username and password!

To confuse things, some online journals include an Athens login option on their webpages. This doesn't necessarily mean we subscribe to it, the journal publisher just builds that into their site. The most important thing is that you've connected to the journal via the library website (which asks you to authenticate with your BUCS login). If you are unsuccessfully trying to access a journal article, it might be that the library doesn't have access to that particular volume/date. Lots of people think it's their Athens username and password not working when actually it's just they want an article from 1997 and our subscription started from 1999, for example. You can check the date in the A-Z list of Electronic journals to confirm.

If you do need a copy of an article and it's not available online, you can either check the library catalogue for a print version, or request the article via InterLibrary Loan (see for details).

Please contact me if you've got any queries.

Friday, December 02, 2005

End of week geography snippet

This has been circulating via email this week.
Yes, it's the original 'mudmap' of Australia...