Friday, June 20, 2008

Database Alert: Blackwell Synergy Shutting Down and Merging with Wiley InterScience

Library Users, please be aware that Blackwell Synergy, the home of over 1 million articles from over 850 journals, will cease to exist within the week. However, all is not lost. As of June 30th 2008, all journal content on Blackwell Synergy merges into Wiley InterScience, which is another of our publisher aggregate databases.

Already, access to some components of the Blackwell Synergy product have become unreliable or unavailable. (I can testify to this as the keeper of the library usage statistics!) Officially, it is over the weekend of June 28th and 29th, 2008 that there will be a period when both Blackwell Synergy and Wiley InterScience will be unavailable while the company "transitions and re-indexes data." Then, after July 1, 2008, Blackwell Synergy will no longer be available online, but the content therein should be available via Wiley InterScience, and any existing Blackwell links are supposed to relay to Wiley.

Still, be warned, the transition--starting now--may not be as smooth as the publisher hopes.

Putting a positive spin on this upheaval, the merger will make some 3 million journal articles in over 1400 journals available on a single site. Blackwell journal content will be searchable on Wiley InterScience, and listed under appropriately enhanced subject categories. Wiley claims that "this is a first step in the development of a next generation online publishing platform, arriving early 2009, which will deliver Wiley-Blackwell journals, online books, reference works, databases, protocols and other electronic resources through one integrated service."

More info and an FAQ are available at

For those who despair over all the mergers and changes in the world of publishing, journals, and databases, my best advice is to get used to it! Merger mania and rapidly changing delivery platforms are now the norm.

Here at the Sawyer Library, we will do our very best to stay on top of these changes and keep our library users informed about any change that will impact them and their research practices.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Database: The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

We have recently added a new online edition of one of the classic reference texts in the field of economics. This is The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. The first edition, called The Dictionary of Political Economy, was edited by Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave, and published in three volumes, the first of which was printed in 1894. Several revising editions appeared in the more than 100 years since.

The current New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics contains articles by 1,506 contributors, including 25 Nobel Laureates in Economics. It includes 1,872 articles: 1,057 of these are new to the second edition; 550 are edited original articles; 157 are revised articles; 80 are ‘classics’; and 28 are ‘signpost’ articles. For those, like me, who do not want to "do the math," this supposedly means that over 70% of this edition’s articles are either new or heavily revised.

New or expanded areas include: experimental and behavioural economics, game theory, international economics and technological change and growth. Topics are placed in their historical perspective, indicating likely future trends as well as describing the contemporary situation.

With online access, current Suffolk students and faculty will be able to search and browse the content of this important reference work 24/7, from wherever they have an internet connection.

We also purchased the 8 volume print edition, which will please those who prefer the tactile pleasures of the physical book. However, the online edition has another key advantage. It will be regularly updated with new articles, updates to existing articles, and new features and functionality. The first updates are due to go live at the end of August.

That first online update is scheduled to include the following articles: "Patent Pools" by Daniel Quint; "Thin Markets" by Marzena Rostek and Marek Weretka; "Stigma" by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume; "Cross-Country Growth Regressions" also by Durlauf and Blume; and there will also be 20 selected biographies of key economists in that load.

Like the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics does not have the most elegant or attractive interface. Still, it is a functional one, with the ability to search for keyword concepts from the box in the upper right, or browse A-Z alphabetical entries.

If you would like to consult a brief introduction to this online resource, prepared by the publisher, take a look at their Flash Tour.

And while you are exploring the Palgrave, also take a look at our re-configured Databases by Subject/E-Books page, which now includes not only large collections of eBooks, but also a list of multi-volume single-title reference sources worth exploring.

[FIND The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "E-Books" category.]

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Database: ARTstor

We are happy to announce that we have recently added an impressive online archive of art reproductions to our array of databases. The resource, called ARTstor is "a digital library of approximately 700,000 images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes."

When you first click on ARTstor on our database lists, you will then enter the main database by clicking on the GO button in the upper right of the screen. Sometimes, people have issues with the database immediately, when the main database (aka ARTstor Client) does not open properly.

ARTstor does have certain application and hardware requirements. These include:

* A high-speed internet connection (not a dial-up connection);
* Java version 1.3 or later installed on your browser (Mac users accessing ARTstor through Innovative Proxy--which is what Suffolk has--must have Java version 1.5 or later);
* Flash Player version 6.0 or later installed;
* Pop-up blockers are either disabled or configured to allow pop-up windows from;
* Cookies are enabled in your browser;
* Monitor resolution is set at 1024 x 768 pixels or higher;
* Screen colors are set to True Color (32 bit) or better.

For more on troubleshooting, look at this Systems Requirements page. And explore the rest of the pages in the Getting Started area of their website. Since ARTstor does have a bit of a learning curve, as well as technical challenges, you might want to take a look at their Online Training modules, or even take a look at their YouTube videos that explain downloading images into PowerPoint as well as registering for your own account.

The latter is an important part of the ARTstor process. If you register for your own account as a Suffolk user, you will be able to store, organize, utilize, and share the images you collect more effectively. Also, with your own account, you can by-pass our standard proxy server access when necessary.

As most Suffolk users know, we run all of our databases through a proxy server that allows current students and faculty to enter their name and ID number, be authenticated, and then access our electronic resources off-campus, as well as on campus. Unfortunately, ARTstor is such a complex platform that it does not work well, in many cases, when used in conjunction with a proxy. Therefore, you are advised to set up your account at a Suffolk IP address--that is, ON campus. And if, after you create your account, you find that the database is painfully slow, freezes up, or otherwise does not work as efficiently as you would want, one option is to go directly to the database through the general URL of Once you enter the database and login using your own account, you will be able to use the database, without proxy (or on-campus) access for up to 120 days. And each time you login through our regular database list proxy link, or from a Suffolk IP, that 120 day "grace period" renews itself. For more on this, see this ARTstor page on Remote Access.

To explore the images here, you may browse by classification category, collection, or geographic region, or simply use the search box to look for a particular artist, school, subject matter or other keyword concept.

Remember, that as a registered user, you also have more options in terms of using ARTstor images. And if you make regular use of the images, you will probably want to click Tools in the upper border and download the special OIV, or Offline Image Viewer, that allows you to use ARTstor's highest-quality images, which are 3200 pixels on the long side. (When you simply download images directly from the ARTstor Digital Library for use in documents and non-OIV presentations, the images are still large at 1024 pixels on the long side, but not quite as large as images in the OIV.)

We hope to do more with ARTstor education and support, but will wait for the soon-to-launch new platform, which will introduce additional changes to the database, and will (hopefully) also resolve some of the proxy access issues that currently exist.

As this database develops, we hope Suffolk users will take advantage of this impressive (and not inexpensive!) resource.

And for further assistance with ARTstor, although Reference is happy to try to help, you are better off contacting Jessica Roscio of the Humanities Department, who is the Suffolk ARTstor Administrator for the Art History/Humanities Department ( / x8257) .

[FIND ARTstor on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Literature, Arts and Humanities" category.]