Last week I blogged about the infuriating discovery that we could not link to the revered “chosen 500” Harvard Business Review articles via our discovery layer. Through some testing and examples provided in the comments on that post (thanks so much!), we’ve* created a workaround. Note that I said we have not fixed it. As is the case with many tech issues in library content management, us clever librarians spend inordinate amounts of time working around artificial barriers (mainly profit-driven) that have been created by the vendors and publishers to whom we are beholden.
It turns out that EBSCO turns an SFX created OpenURL with an article level target into a persistent link. Hence, HBR throws up the drawbridge and won’t allow a link to full text PDF in the resulting screen. We learned that those using the 360 Core resolver were not experiencing this problem. The functionality of the resolvers is slightly different. As I understand it, 360 Core creates a link using the metadata entered to link to a results list, whereas, SFX uses an accession number to link to a PDF. Presumably, because that’s a better user experience. You know, to get to the actual article you are seeking as opposed to combing through ANOTHER result list. The workaround has been to create a link parser for SFX that will behave the same way as 360 Core for HBR content. Not ideal, but better than the confusing dead end that we are currently experiencing.
So, in the end, we are getting our users to these 500 articles (sort of) without the help of those who are charging us for the privilege of accessing content via their platform. Our incredibly talented ER librarian has invested a significant amount of time in this issue. Time that could have been spent in pursuit of tasks that are not so narrowly focused and borne solely out of a publishers pursuit of higher profit margins. Harumph. This is how I feel about it.
*Full disclosure: That’s most certainly a royal “we”. I have had almost nothing to do with this solution. I really need to learn more about link resolvers.