Tag Archives: Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale Virtual Reference Library
Review. First published November 1, 2006 (Booklist).

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) contains more than 700 reference titles from more than 25 publishers, including Gale, Wiley, Sage, and Cambridge, and focuses on multivolume encyclopedias from a variety of fields. Purchased title by title, GVRL can be customized to fit any library. GVRL runs on the PowerSearch interface, which is clean and structured with many special features. Content is easy to navigate with browse, basic, and advanced searches. Users may select from three basic search options—keyword (default), document title, or full text. Keyword searches the title, introductory text, authors, and first 50 words of an article. GVRL’s advanced search offers several field-search types (document title, image caption, publication title, ISBN, author, start page, document number); limits by date, publication title, subject area, audience type, and documents with images; and search-history access—a feature unique to GVRL. Limits are only available on the advanced search screen. Results are ranked by relevance and may be sorted by document or publication title.
Several features stand out in GVRL. Articles are delivered in html (showing actual page breaks) with links to pdf versions. Users may mark, store, and export items for print, e-mail, or download. Multiple citation formats are included—APA, MLA, and plain text with direct exports to EndNote, Procite, RefWorks, and Reference Manager. Articles can be translated into eight languages (but be careful: translation is not exact but rather employs a gisting software). The InfoMark tool allows the user to obtain persistent links to books or articles with options to bookmark or e-mail. E-books include all front and back matter with hyperlinked tables of content and indexes. The Subcollection Manager Tool allows libraries to create small subject collections within GVRL that can be linked to courses or subjects on the library Web site and searched separately from other GVRL content. Many articles include a find-similar-articles option, which utilizes e-book indexes. Libraries may use the customization options to include messages, logos, and links to library services and to track usage. Users may set preferences of font, colors, language, and number of results per page during their sessions. The cost of individual titles is 10 percent above the print cost. Annual hosting fees range from $50 to $300 depending on the number of titles owned. – Sue Polanka

Sage eReference

REVIEW. First published November 1, 2007 (Booklist).

Sage eReference is a small but growing reference collection. Currently, it contains more than 50 Sage titles (multivolume social-science subject encyclopedias, published since 2002), with 62 on target for year’s end. Among the currently available titles are Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment (2002), Encyclopedia of World Poverty (2006), and Encyclopedia of American Urban History (2007). The collection is designed using the same principles as other e-book interfaces, with browse and keyword search options. Users can browse by title or within 20 subjects, such as African American Studies or Health and Social Welfare. In Advanced Search, searching can be done within a title, across the entire collection to which a library subscribes, or in titles selected by the user. Advanced Search also includes Boolean options and limits to articles with sidebars, images, or tables. Searches can be limited to content types, such as articles, further reading, contributor lists, or introductions, although some content (all front and back matter) is available only in PDF format.
To meet the needs of students, who consistently say “Where am I?” while searching, Sage has designed its interface with several visual cues, including a unique top banner for each reference-book title. This banner, a montage of the book cover design, is present on every page and changes according to the title being viewed. It is visually pleasing, stylish, and useful for reminding users where they are. Each encyclopedia’s home page also includes a summary of the encyclopedia, Browse and Advanced Search tabs for searching within the encyclopedia, and links to front and back matter. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get trapped searching one reference title, since links back to the main search page are unclear.
Another distinctive aspect of Sage eReference is the Reader’s Guide, a feature found in all Sage print encyclopedias and a dynamic navigation tool online. Each guide contains about 15 key themes and offers multiple subtopics, a good way to guide users to topics they may not have thought to search.
Search results are displayed 10 items per page by relevance; the sort order can be changed to title A–Z or Z–A. Articles display with any images and sidebars and links to related entries and further readings. Each title’s index, table of contents, further readings, and see also references are hyperlinked for easy navigation; however, the text within entries is not. Basic printing and e-mailing options are available, but results cannot be stored or exported. The default MLA-style citation format can be changed to APA or Chicago style. Font and word spacing are rather large, and although this means there is less information per page, it is easier to read. There are no options for library customization.
Sage eReference titles are also available in Gale Virtual Reference Library, but those with access via GVRL will need to purchase again with Sage due to licensing and access issues. Why buy again? According to Rolf Janke, vice president and publisher of Sage, “In the future we hope to see a seamless integration of all Sage content (journals, books, reference, handbooks) in one electronic platform.” For a typical academic library with 5,000 FTE, Sage charges 125 percent of the print title, and titles are purchased to own. Access fees are waived for the first 5 years and after that are nominal but based on titles owned. (Last accessed September 6, 2007.) — Sue Polanka