Improve Your Online Searching Skills

Finding information is a fundamental librarian skill.  Whether you are searching with library discovery tools, in online research databases, or on the Internet at large using a search engine, great searching skills are a necessity.

Here is a selection of the best up-to-date books to improve your online searching skills.

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol Smallwood

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol SmallwoodThe book is divided into four parts: Research, User Applications, Networking, and Searching. Part IV on searching includes advanced search strategies, underutilized Google search tools, and evaluating the sources of search results. Other parts cover using Google services such as Google Books, Drive, Google+, Google Scholar, and Google Translate among others.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. SauersAs the title suggests, this book covers the search engine Google.  It goes beyond the basic search function to give practical tips and tricks on Google’s “hidden” features.  The authors devote chapters to cover specific Google search services including Blogs, Books, Discussions, Images, Maps, News, Patents, and Videos.  The chapter on Google Scholar is particularly relevant for academic librarians. The authors created a companion blog for posting updates so have a look even if you don’t buy the book.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Librarian’s Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. Bell

Librarian's Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. BellNow in its fourth edition, this popular book for librarians has been updated for 2015.  The book looks into what a database is, parts of a database, and tools for searching such as Boolean logic and truncation.  Later chapters discuss the different databases by subject matter.  Evaluating databases is covered. Finally, the book lists eight principles of teaching databases.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen Markey

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen MarkeyThis new book covers searching online using discovery tools and research databases.  It starts with the research interview and traces the steps through assessing search results.  Pre-search preparation and database selection are covered before detailing specific search types: controlled-vocabulary, free-text, and known-item.  The author ends with a look into the future of online searching.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. Sauers

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. SauersThe final volume of The Tech Set from ALA, this guide goes beyond basic Internet searching.  As indicated in the title, the semantic Web and finding hidden data is its main focus.  Specific types of searching include location-based, multimedia, social, and semantic.  Specific search examples from Google and Bing are shown.  The book has a companion website with author information and links, downloadable files, related slide presentations, and an audio interview with the authors.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Open Educational Resources: Open Access Textbooks

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

We’ve mentioned open access journals and ebooks which are great for researchers.  But what about the regular student?  The high cost of textbooks can be a financial burden on a student.  The university—and the library in particular—can help.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.  (Wikipedia)

Open educational resources include open access textbooks.  Academic libraries can work with university administration and faculty to develop a policy of creating a repository for open access resources including textbooks.

One notable OER initiative is PDX Open from Portland State University Library.  With support from their university, the library is facilitating the publishing of open access textbooks using their Digital Commons platform from bepress.

The Open Textbook Library provides access to around 200 open textbooks from the Open Library Network of participating academic libraries such as Purdue, University of Arizona, and Virginia Tech.  You can search or browse their collection of complete textbooks.

Here are some great resources to learn about OER:

Follow the conversations on Twitter at #liboer, #oer, and #opentextbooks.

A Selection of Open Access Journals for Librarians

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

Libraries provide access.  As such, the librarians who work in them should advocate for access that is as unencumbered as possible, including open access.  While some publishers of traditional professional librarian journals are reluctant to open up access to their journals, several have done so.  Thus, some librarians have taken it upon themselves to create new open access journals to assist the librarian community.  We can expect to see more journals from both sources become open access in the future.

Here’s a selection of open access e-journals.

Open Access Week 2015

Open Access Week

International Open Access Week starts today and runs from October 19 – 25, 2015.  For all of the details, visit

Ways to Participate

Many organizations which embrace and promote open access are sponsoring events to encourage participation in open access resources.  Here are just a few of them.

TwitterFollow on Social Media


Follow and use the Twitter hashtag #OAWeek.

Open Access Week Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

WikipediaSPARC is partnering with Wikipedia to organize an Open Access Week Edit-a-thon with the purpose to improve open access-related content on Wikipedia.  “Specifically, we hope to improve already existing Open Access-related pages, to create new content where it needs to be added, and to translate Open Access-related pages into languages where they don’t yet exist.” Sign up to participate at The Wikimedia Library.

Learn about Paperity

PaperityPaperity is a “multidisciplinary aggregator of Open Access Journals and Papers” containing more than 2,200 journals and 400,000 articles.  It contains full-text articles from peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  Visit Paperity at

Subscribe to the C&RL RSS Feeds

College & Research Libraries is now an open access journal.  There is still a subscription fee for the print issues, but you can access the online versions for free.  Access the C&RL RSS Feeds page at

Get an ORCID iD

ORCID Open Access Week iD RegisterDo you have an ORCID iD?  ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes you from other researchers in online resources.  Register for an ORCID iD at

Bake Some Cookies

Think open access only applies to online resources?  You can bake your very own cookies in the shape of the open access logo with a cookie cutter printed from your 3D printer using some open access cookie cutter printer files.  The scalable files are in .stl and .dae format and were created by Chip Wolfe from Hunt Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Download the open access cookie cutter files.

Open Access Cookie Cutter

Electronic Resources on Social Media

Social Media Icons

Follow or friend your favorite electronic resource websites on three major social networking sites: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  The database vendors often use these outlets to give updates, offer free access trials, and announce downtime.




If we are missing one of your favorites, please let us know in the comment section.

Consolidation of the Library Vendors


With two recent announcements of mergers of well-known library vendors—ProQuest acquired Ex Libris and Bibliotheca bought 3M Library Systems—the number of independent library vendors is shrinking.

ProQuest is now a provider of research databases (ProQuest Central and others), ebooks (ebrary, EBL, and MyiLibrary), discovery tools (Summon and now Primo), link resolvers (Serials Solutions and now SFX), library management system (Alma and Intota), and print books (with the recent purchase of Coutts).

EBSCO is the next largest vendor in this shrinking field.  EBSCO offers research databases (EBSCOhost), ebooks (EBSCO eBooks and Audiobooks), a discovery tool (EBSCO Discovery Service), a link resolver (LinkSource), and print books (YBP Library Services).  EBSCO does not offer an ILS or LMS and one has to wonder if the company will go looking to acquire one.

OCLC is the third major competitor in the library services arena. OCLC does not provide content like ProQuest and EBSCO.  However, they offer a discovery tool (WorldCat) and a modern library management system (WorldShare Management Services).  OCLC also offers popular services such as a proxy service (EZproxy), interlibrary loan service (ILLiad), digital collection management tool (CONTENTdm), and a virtual reference system (QuestionPoint).

If your library is looking for a comprehensive library management / discovery service / link resolver solution, you now have three vendors.

Further Reading

American LibrariesProQuest to Acquire Ex Libris

Globes: ProQuest to buy Israeli co Ex Libris for $500m

Ithaka S+R: What Are the Larger Implications of ProQuest’s Acquisition of Ex Libris?

Do You Have an ORCID iD?

ORCIDDo you have an ORCID iD?  If you do research and publish your work, you should consider getting an ORCID iD. ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.

What is an ORCID?

ORCID can refer to the organization issuing the unique researcher identification as well as the identifier itself.  From the ORCID description:

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.

You can learn more from the ORCID Frequently Asked Questions page.

ORCID QR Code (James Day)Your ORCID iD is a unique 16-digit number (ex. 0000-0002-6374-9591) which points to a public profile (ex. The ORCID website can generate a QR Code which you can add to your publications and websites.  Your ORCID record can contain education, employment, and publication information much like a résumé or curriculum vitae.

Major research database vendors support ORCID iDs and integrate ORCID into their systems.

Elsevier supports ORCID and has a Scopus to ORCID feature that adds your Scopus ID to your ORCID record.  Elsevier’s manuscript submission system accepts an ORCID when submitting manuscripts for publication.  Elsevier plans to pass it along as metadata to CrossRef.

Using an API, ProQuest integrates the ORCID into its Pivot application.  Pivot users can link their profile in Pivot to their ORCID record.

Thomson Reuters, through its Converis research information system offers, supports ORCID throughout the entire research lifecycle from assigning ORCID iDs to importing publications from other online sources using the ORCID iDs.  Their ResearcherID is ORCID compliant.

Register for an ORCID iD at

Follow the ORCID Organization on Twitter at @ORCID_Org.

Welcome to Library Technology Launchpad Version 2

Welcome to Library Technology Launchpad version 2!

We have updated and relaunched the website.  Watch for new content coming soon.  You can also follow us on social media.

What is Library Technology Launchpad?

Here we’ll cover technology relevant to librarians and libraries. Covered topics will include:

  • Links to library technology news
  • eBook purchasing and subscription trends
  • Mobile library websites and eReader apps
  • Online information resources
  • Social media and libraries
  • Library user experience (UX)
  • Cloud computing for libraries
  • Institutional repositories ans scholarly communication
  • Research data management
  • Search engine tips and tricks
  • Useful general technology information

My name is James Day and I am the Electronic Services Librarian at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  My background is in engineering and libraries and I also have experience in web development and social networks.  I strive to keep up with the latest technology and trends, especially when applicable to libraries and reading.

If you are a technical librarian with good writing skills and a desire to share your knowledge, consider becoming a contributor.  Contact us for more information.