For as many years as we can remember, customers have been asking for help getting users into the library’s paid resources. Our video has been open to search engines for quite a while. Now we’ve opened all the content for search engine discoverability. Google is finding and indexing our content right now. When your users start with Google—and 70% of searches start there—they’ll find Alexander Street content.
Another big improvement—we’ve made login and authentication easy. Now, even if a user comes from a non-institutional IP address (perhaps searching from a home ISP on a laptop), the webpage asks one simple question: What institution are you from? Even if the person simply enters an email address, we’ll make a match. No authorized user is shut out, even when starting with Google or away from the library.
The old process showed so many boxes and options, the user might simply give up. We asked the person to choose among library card login, username/password, Shibboleth, and other options that confuse most users. But a person just wants to enter a little information and start searching!
Now, the webpage asks for one piece of information: What institution are you from? The person can either key in his institution name (or even just the first few letters, and the page will autocomplete), or her institutional email address (and then the interface system will deduce the institution).
Once we match the user to the institution, we send the person to the right place to authorize. Our system knows if your library users Shibboleth, username/password, library card number, or some other authentication method. We send users to the appropriate place—and if you’ve configured your own library portal (or similar) authorization, we know that, too, and send the user to your login page.
As soon as the user is authenticated—and this happens within seconds—the user can start searching on the Alexander Street interface.
We have EZproxy details for a great majority of our customers through our conversations with you over the years. But please do send your login URL and other proxy information to your Customer Engagement Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you aren’t sure we have this information in our systems.
A sample is a little peek at content that answers the user’s search query, if the library doesn’t have full access to the item. The user sees a 30-second video preview or citation and metadata for other formats.
Our focus group participants and advisors told us that users do want to see all relevant content, even if the library doesn’t have access. One benefit for the library is that if an item is available for an individual to purchase, and the person does so—let’s say, a faculty member buys a film—access will be authorized for your entire institution immediately.
When the “Samples” button is turned “On” to include sample content, users will see the samples in search results, browses, playlists, and list of related items. Users can just tap the button to set the samples on or off.
Samples will show in the list of search results, identified by the label “sample.” Free content from open archives will be identified by the open padlock symbol. These are both integrated with items the library has acquired.
By the way… when searching from a collection home page—the starting page for a collection the library subscribes to or has purchased—samples don’t appear. For example, if you’ve acquired American History in Video, and someone is searching at the American History in Video home page (search.alexanderstreet.com/ahiv), everything looks and is the same as it was before the new features were added—no samples show, and no samples are offered. It’s when cross-searching collections that the search result now lists all the relevant answers—library accessible content and other content—and shows samples of the content the library doesn’t have.
If you have access to any of our video collections, then you can test Google discovery by searching for the title of one of your favorite videos from Alexander Street. Here are some sample searches:
Look for results that include search.alexanderstreet.com. They will look like this:
The items will be included in your monthly MARC record update. You can also ask your sales representative for the information. We’re working to automate delivery soon—stay tuned for expanded usage reporting that will go way beyond usage stats. In addition to our current COUNTER 4 usage reports, graphics will show usage trends and analyses of user engagement. The reports will help you assess the learning impact of your Alexander Street resources and the ROI. We’re gathering stats now in preparation for launching these new reports in January.
The new features are expected to: