Google Featured Snippet

Google Feature Snippet for library discovery services

An article from Library Technical Launchpad is currently a Google featured Snippet. A Google search for “library discovery services” (without the quotes) returns about 324 million results. However, the featured snippet at the top of the results page displays an excerpt from, and link to, our Discovery Services: Basics and Resources article, one of nine articles currently in the Basics and Resources Series.

One always hopes to place websites or webpages on the first or second page of Google search results. But to be the featured snippet was beyond expectations. Hopefully this inclusion indicates a high search ranking for the Library Technology Launchpad site as a whole. Most important, as always, is that the site proves useful for its readers.

DOI: Basics and Resources

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and persistent identifier which provides a link to an object on the Internet via a registration and indexing service.

Why learn about DOIs?

DOIDOIs are often used in citations and discovery services to provide permanent links to online articles, ebooks, images, reports, and other types of online objects.  Publishers now regularly assign a DOI to each journal article or ebook (or ebook chapter) they publish.  Many times, when a direct link or OpenURL lookup fails, an item still can be located using its published DOI.  Even if an object changes location on the Internet, its DOI will remain the same (and point to the new location).

The Basics

The Digital Object Identifier system is an ISO standard (ISO 26324) officially maintained by the International DOI Foundation (IDF).  The IDF provides the infrastructure to support DOIs by governing independent DOI Registration Agencies.  It was created in 1997 with DOI becoming a standard in 2012.

Note that according to the IDF, a DOI is a “digital identifier of an object” rather than an “identifier of a digital object”.

DOI Format

Each Digital Object Identifier has a unique alphanumeric string made up two parts:

{prefix}/{local name}

The prefix is a numeric string beginning with 10. and followed by several more numbers, usually four (ex. 10.1103).  The prefix is assigned by a Registration Agency to a publisher, institution, organization, or other types of Registrant.

The local name (suffix) follows the forward slash and is a unique alphanumeric string (for that prefix).  The local name for an object is chosen by the Registrant using whatever naming scheme they want
(ex. PhysRevLett.116.061102).

If you’re curious about why the DOI has its particular structure, see the Handle.Net Registry Technical Manual.


A DOI handle can be converted into a useful URL by adding it as a path after the domain

So, for the previous prefix and local name (suffix) examples above, the full linkable URL would be:

Note that older DOI URLs use the format which was deprecated in 2016 (but is still supported).

DOI Uses

As stated, the Digital Object Identifier often points to digital content such as journal articles and ebooks (or individual chapters or even data).  Because DOIs provide a permanent link to these scholarly works, they are now frequently included—and sometimes required by journal publishers—in citations.  Of course, the various style guides have rules on how to format them in citations.  Here is an example of an APA citation with a DOI:

APA citation with a DOIAll of the style guides offer help for adding DOIs to citations.  Major ones include:

Publisher sites and databases often include DOIs in the online article or ebook itself.  This makes it easy to cite or to make a persistent link in a reading list.  For example, if an article has a DOI, Elsevier displays it as a link after the title and author(s).

DOI in an Elsevier articleDigital Object Identifiers are part of the metadata indexed in library discovery services.  EBSCO Discovery Service, Primo, Sierra, Summon, and WorldCat Discovery all display a DOI field on search results or on item detail screens (if available).  Sometimes they are links.  Including the DOI is useful when the search result link is broken as it provides a secondary method for locating the resource.  For example, Summon displays the item’s DOI as a link when you expand the “Preview” section.

Summon result with DOIDOI Registration

For many years librarians and researchers have been using Digital Object Identifiers.  More and more librarians are becoming the creators and maintainers of DOIs as yet another type of metadata to enhance discovery and access.  As we have seen, DOI links point to a URL that serves as a central index and redirection service.  DOI URLs are translated into the actual URL of the target object.  So how does this index get built?

The central DOI index is maintained by several DOI Registration Agencies.  The most important of these is Crossref.  Publishers and other institutions become members and pay to create DOIs for their items.  With the rise of university publishing and institutional repositories, more universities are enhancing their scholarly output with DOIs to aid in their discovery and sharing.  Increasingly, librarians are assisting university faculty with creating DOIs as part of the publishing process.  Cataloging and scholarly communications librarians are frequently tasked with creating and managing the DOIs for these repositories.


Here are official resources to learn about DOIs:

  • – Website of the International DOI Foundation (IDF).
  • DOI Handbook – Official source of information about the DOI system.
  • Driven by DOI – Watch videos and download brochures.

Library-related DOI registration agencies:

  • Crossref – Popular DOI agency for scholarly publishing.
  • DataCite – “[L]eading global provider of DOIs for research data.”
  • mEDRA – Multilingual European Registration Agency.

Useful DOI tools:

  • DOI Citation Formatter – Crosscite will format an entered DOI in one of hundreds of citation styles.
  • DOI Resolver – Google Chrome extension to create links and citations from a DOI.
  • Custom DOI resolver – Firefox extension to turn a non-linked DOI into a URL.

Library Website Update: Rebuild, Redesign, or Refresh?

Website Update Approaches

A website consists of three aspects: the content, the organization, and the design.  With few exceptions, the content of the website is its most important trait.  It’s the essence of what you want to present, advertise, or sell to the website visitor.  The content might naturally drive the organization of the website if it falls into clear categories—audience, departments, product types, etc.  Otherwise, the website developer creates functional categories.  These categories translate into menu items, subsections, and often subdomains or subfolders.  Likewise, the content and the organization might suggest a certain design.  In addition, the website developer looks to audience, purpose, and branding to create a positive user experience for the website visitor.

While website content is not usually affected by changes in Web and browser technology improvements, website organization—whether static or dynamically created—could be, and design most certainly is.  We have seen websites evolve from simple HTML, to the separation of design from content using CSS, to responsive design, and finally to modern design frameworks.  Website construction went from coding individual pages, to using includes to share components, and then to complete content management systems.  Web technology continues to improve, making design easier and features more robust.  In order to take advantages of new Web technologies, periodic website updates need to be undertaken.

When should website updates be made?  If you have a website that has gone unchanged for two to three years and you want to know whether you should update it, what factors should you consider?  To what extent should you look to make changes?

There are three routes you can take:

  • Rebuild the website.  This means tossing out most of your current site—content, organization, and design—and essentially starting over.
  • Redesign the website.  This means making some changes to the content and organization but changing most of the look and function of the site.
  • Refresh the website.   This means keeping most of the content and organization and making minor—but noticeable—changes to the site design.

Continue reading “Library Website Update: Rebuild, Redesign, or Refresh?”

COUNTER: Basics and Resources

COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) is an organization and a set of standards to report usage of library electronic resources by vendors and publishers.

Why understand COUNTER reports?

When database vendors and publishers use different methods of counting and reporting usage of their platforms and items, it is difficult for librarians to determine accurate use counts (and rejections).  Thus, it is hard to calculate the cost-per-use.  Different figures often make database comparison difficult when deciding between the value of two similar products.

COUNTER provides a way to standardize and compare database usage statistics across vendors and time.

COUNTER reports can also show demand for titles not owned by reporting access denied to books (BR3) and journals (JR2).  These reports can be helpful for library resource acquisition decisions.

The Basics

COUNTERThere are four types of item-type usage reports each with their unique statistics:

  • Books – Electronic or print monographs, including reference works.
  • Journals – Serials including conference proceedings and newspapers.
  • Media – Non-text items such as images and video.
  • Databases – Collections of online data.

The Title report is a combination of book and journal counts.

The Consortium report counts all usage across a group of institutions.

COUNTER Report Request Screen
COUNTER Report Request Screen

COUNTER statistics are reported on a monthly basis and reports can typically cover any custom time period in addition to calendar year.

Reports are distributed electronically.  Sometimes they are available from vendors as immediate downloads, but other times they must be requested and emailed.  “COUNTER reports are available in two formats: delimited files, which are readable using Excel and similar spreadsheet tools, and XML, which is delivered using SUSHI.”  The two types of delimited files are comma-separated value (CSV) and tab-separated value (TSV) files.

Download an example COUNTER report.

If the vendor allows, you can avoid the manual running and downloading of COUNTER reports.  COUNTER offers an automated way to accomplish this using  the SUSHI protocol.  “The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) protocol is designed to simplify the gathering of usage statistics by librarians, and it uses a series of XML schemas to do this.”

The current version in widespread use is COUNTER 4, however some vendors still offer archived usage statistics using version 3.  COUNTER 5 is available and we will see vendors moving to it gradually.  EBSCO just announced that it is making its usage reports available in COUNTER 5 format.

While version 5 is the future, COUNTER 4 is still by far the most common version offered by vendors today.  Below is a list of all COUNTER 4 reports with a brief description of each.  Vendors, depending on their size and content, usually offer a subset of these reports.

Continue reading “COUNTER: Basics and Resources”

2019 Library Conference Schedule

It’s a new year and we are looking forward to the 2019 annual library conferences. The list below covers large library technology conferences as well as the major conferences where technology will be discussed.

January #hashtag
25-29 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Seattle, WA #alamw19
19-22 Code4Lib 2019, San José, CA #c4l19
3-6 14th Annual ER&L Conference, Austin, TX #erl19
4-6 Designing for Digital, Austin, TX + Online #d4d19
20-21 Library Technology Conference 2019, St. Paul, MN #LTC2019
26-28 Computers in Libraries 2019, Arlington, VA #CILDC
17 UNT Open Access Symposium 2019, Dallas, TX #UNTOA19
2-6 ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2019, Urbana-Champaign, IL #JCDL2019
14-18 SLA Annual Conference 2019, Cleveland, OH #SLA2019
20-25 ALA Annual Conference 2019, Washington, DC #ALAAC19
24-30 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Athens, Greece #wlic2019
19-23 ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2019, Melbourne, Australia #ASIST19
TBA Charleston Conference, Charleston, SC #CHSConf2019
February 2020
25-29 PLA Conference 2020, Nashville, TN #PLA2020

For more comprehensive lists, see Douglas Hasty’s Library Conference Planner website.