Library Service Status Pages

Online library services play a vital part in providing access to library resources and services.  Thus, it is very useful for library staff to know the status of these third-party services.  Downtime is rare, but when staff and users need to know the availability of online services, having a library service status page can be extremely helpful.  Fortunately, library vendors know this and increasingly are providing access to websites for displaying current service status and notices of planned interruptions.

Here is a list of the known major library service status pages:

bepress

bepress Current Statusbepress supports institutional repositories with Digital Commons, SelectedWorks, Expert Gallery Suite, and ExpressO online manuscript delivery service.  Their website has a Current Status page that covers all of these services including status details, scheduled maintenance, and recent product updates.

Access the bepress Current Status page.

EBSCO

EBSCO Help Alerts

On its EBSCO Help website, the company provides News and Alerts for its wide range of databases and EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS).  You can enter your email address to subscribe to alerts, as well.

Access the EBSCO Help Alerts page.

Ex Libris

Ex Libris System Status

With the merger of Ex Libris and ProQuest, Ex Libris took over the support of all library systems and discovery services.  The company has created a unified system status page for Alma, Summon, Serials Solutions 360 Link, Intota, Primo, SFX, and more.

Access the Ex Libris System Status page.

OCLC

OCLC System AlertsFrom the OCLC Support & Training website, you can access OCLC System Alerts.  This blog-like site reports current and past maintenance and issues for services including Connexion, hosted EZproxy, WorldCat, and WorldShare products.

Access the OCLC System Alerts page.

SirsiDynix

SirsiDynix Status

SirsiDynix is a major library vendor with cloud-based systems such as their BLUEcloud services.  The company’s status page contains notifications of scheduled maintenance and outages by region.

Access the SirsiDynix Status page.

Springshare

Springshare Systems Status Dashboard
Source: Springshare http://www.screencast.com/t/fs0G5Y5yu

Springshare understands the importance of providing status information for library resources and services to library users.  That’s why they created the Systems Status Dashboard in LibAnswers that allows your library to set up and display the status of your website, LibGuides, local resources, and databases.  You can alert users to any planned system maintenance and explain unexpected downtime.  For any LibAnswers site that has enabled the public status dashboard, you can view it by adding /systems after their LibAnswers URL.  Some examples are Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Maryland Libraries, and Georgia College.

Read more about the Springshare Systems Status Dashboard.

TwitterIn addition to bookmarking the above sites, follow your important library vendors on Twitter.  That is where they will often post the first announcements of issues and further status reports.

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF)

VIAF Authority Record for Harper Lee

The authority file goes global.

It was probably inevitable that there would be an attempt to create a global authority file for library bibliographic data.  Any worldwide authority file would need the support of major national libraries and library organizations.  We now have the first viable candidate.

VIAFThe Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is not a new service, but one that has become more prominent in recent times due to the direction of OCLC (starting in 2012) and the rise of linked data. It began as a joint project of the Library of Congress and the German National Library, then the National Library of France and OCLC, but now has a long list of contributors.

From OCLC, the VIAF service has these characteristics:

  • A collaborative effort between national libraries and organizations contributing name authority files, furthering access to information
  • All authority data for a given entity is linked together into a “super” authority record
  • A convenient way for the library community and other agencies to repurpose bibliographic data produced by libraries serving different language communities

The VIAF combines the national authority files—which contain data such as names of authors and companies, conferences, places, and subject headings in their native languages—into a single international name authority service.

There are several benefits of a global name authority file (or service). Obviously, there is the fundamental benefit of providing uniform names for indexing and searching.  With a global authority file, the connecting application, such as a discovery service, can retrieve and display names based on the language of the application’s user interface—and can switch on-the-fly.  It enables the generation of “see” and “see also” links across languages.  The VIAF allows developers to search and access the authority data using an API.

As mentioned at the beginning, the VIAF is one source which can be accessed via a linked data URI.  Here’s an example:

creator: {
@id: “http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n78089036”,
label: “Wodehouse, P. G. (Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975”,
sameAs: “http://viaf.org/viaf/sourceID/LC|n78089036”
}

The above operation translates a Library of Congress control number for an author to the related VIAF record.

You can search the VIAF at viaf.org.

View a typical authority record at viaf.org/viaf/46734193.

VIAF authority Record Map for P. G. Wodehouse

Consolidation of the Library Vendors

ProQuest EBSCO OCLC

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?