New Interface Feature Overview 2013-2014

In the summer of 2013, we launched major improvements to VAST, the first in a series of steps that will ultimately deliver over 100 new features. Here’s a list of what’s in store. More to come!

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Launch Date
New, rigorously tested, modern user interface.Live
Single search for all Alexander Street content—over the next year all Alexander Street collections will be delivered on this platform.2013–2014
Preserves existing functionality—you can also still access individual collections, just as you do currently.Live
Delivers unique features to enhance teaching and research.2013–2014
Content—Titles That Teach 
Discipline pages. Dedicated search pages for specific academic departments show new resources, what’s most popular, and discipline-specific tools—all  curated by dedicated experts.Live
Editors’ selections and clips. Thousands of playlists and clips created by practicing faculty and subject experts provide superior annotations.Live
Custom clips. Over 1,000 academics have already created video clips. Find experts in your discipline and use their clips, or easily create new custom clips by yourself.Coming in 2014
High-definition titles. Thousands of video titles can be streamed at 2.5 mbps. As more content becomes available in this format, we’ll be adding it.Live
Fully integrated ancillary content. Searchable liner notes, study guides, and other related material.Coming in 2014
Discovery—Bringing Patrons In 
Discovery service integration. Our records are integrated with EDS, Summon, WorldCat, and Primo.Live
MARC records. A majority of titles within each collection have full MARC records, and more are added every month. Our free MARC records contain at least 10 fields of index information and up to 50 fields where relevant.Live
Embeddable search box. Embed a search box within your system that will search our database for content. Or highlight a set of tailored results and feature the selected content.Coming in 2014
Search and Find—Precise and Fast 
Video keyword search. Search every word spoken across thousands of video titles with a single click. Quickly scan the results list for all the moments of footage matching your search. Click into the exact moment you want to watch—the video will start playing right there.Live
Text keyword search. Search the complete content of hundreds of thousands of text-based resources. Quickly locate the passage of interest and click to jump to the precise page of content.Live
Semantic facets. Result sets adjust to display facets appropriate to your search. For example, music scholars can search for “F minor” and instantly receive hundreds of results, including audio tracks, videos, liner notes, scores, and related text materials. While other music services return only audio results that have ”F minor” listed in the title of the track, semantic facet browsing enables users to discover the full breadth of relevant content. After search results are returned, dozens of discipline-specific facets—from time period and composer to performer and instrument—help users drill down to the exact content they’re after.

The facets also enable the user to learn while searching. A search for “behavior modification” returns facets that illustrate the term’s usage within health sciences and counseling disciplines, and with presenting conditions such as anxiety, anger, and chronic pain. The facets show related therapeutic approaches, important authors and contributors, places, and organizations discussed—all before the user even clicks a single search result.
Fielded searching. Over 140 fields let you pinpoint what you’re searching for.Live
Browse tools. Browse over 60 controlled vocabularies, each tailored specifically to an academic discipline.Live
New “content type” field. Quickly identify demonstrations, performances, newsreels, images, diaries, therapy session transcripts, and other content types.Live
Cross-search all of Alexander Street. Over the year, more and more Alexander Street content will be cross-searchable through the new interface. The initial launch in July 2013 included VAST and all of Alexander Street’s audio and video music databases. In Coming in 2014, all the other video collections and selected text databases will be cross-searchable with everything listed above, too. In the months ahead, you’ll have a single search across all Alexander Street resources and select content on the Web.Live
Outbound discovery. Discover valuable additional content freely available from select Internet archives.Coming in 2014
Spelling auto-correction. Auto-correct typographical errors —“Do you mean Tchaikovsky?”Coming in 2014
Mobile app. Full mobile search and delivery of video.  Coming in 2014
Watch and Analyze—Powerful Research 
Synchronous, scrolling transcripts. Scan or keyword search, quickly jump to a section of a video transcript, and the video will play synchronously. Or move the video itself forward or backward with controls, and the transcript will catch up to match.Live
Improved video quality. Variable bit rate streaming automatically selects the best quality based on a user’s available bandwidth. No more buffering.Live
Multi-language user interface. Transcripts, bibliographic details, and other content can be translated into 65 additional languages using fully integrated Google Translate.Live
Share and Learn 
Automated custom clip maker. Make a clip with a single click, automatically populating title and abstract information.Live
Full citation export. APA, Chicago, MLA, and full citations can be exported, downloaded, and emailed for any title or selection of titles. Create bibliographies for use in research materials and class syllabi alongside fully functional links back to the database.Live
Better mobile access. Dedicated app for smartphones (Android and iOS). In addition to the current ability to send content to mobile devices, the forthcoming app will provide enhanced screen viewing, search, and sharing.Coming in 2014
Library Tools 

Library administrator portal. Helps you make purchase decisions and see the effectiveness of your collection:

  • 24-hour currency
  • Title statistics
  • Subject statistics
  • COUNTER4 and SUSHI compliance
  • Title blocking—prevent access to content you think isn’t right for your audience.

Other features: Coming in 2014
Help Tools 
Video tutorials. Multiple short videos explain how to use key features—like clip making, apps and advanced tools, and tools for librarians. Watch the tutorials Live
New help tools. Training webinars and user group presentations at conferences throughout the year.Live
Open API. For users who wish to integrate their collections’ materials into other resources or develop programs that make use of Alexander Street Press content, we’re offering an Open API. Build bridges and analytical tools, and embed content in other services or integrate the content more tightly with LMS’s, including Blackboard, Moodle, and others.Coming in 2014
More to Come! 
Dedicated learning object apps. For developing online quizzes, digital study guides, timelines, and more.Coming in 2014
Other features to be announced. Stay tuned!Coming in 2014