Friday, December 2, 2011

Oxford - journals, reference, scholarship

Still working with the idea of targetted browsing, and now looking at some specific sites. I'll start with the Oxford sites. These are subscription sites (i.e. the library pays for them), so you need a university username and password.
Oxford journals - allows you to browse journals by subject. And for each journal you can view the current issue - abstract and full-text; you can browse the archive, and you can search.
Oxford reference online. The law section includes dictionaries and companions, and covers Australian, English and American law, international law and legal history. You also have the option to explore other subject areas.
Oxford scholarship online law - includes monographs, with the option to browse or search within each book. You can search or browse other subjects too.
You can register for a personal Oxford account, with which you can set up alert services, including advance access. I tested this with a journal table of contents alert, and sure enough, the emails turn up in my in-box. But the links within the email bypass the university's ezyproxy username/password process, so I can't directly access the full text. So, I know there is new material out there, but to get it, I need to access the journal via the e-journals list (or the Oxford journals site, or the catalogue). Not hard, just a bit confusing.
One last word about the E-book/E-journal's electronic collections. We don't always subscribe to every title in a collection. Hopefully it's obvious, sometimes it's not. So, you might know that there is useful material out there, but to get it, you might need a Plan B (search the library catalogue) or a Plan C (BorrowDirect) or a Plan D (the document delivery service). Or you could just ask!

e-books, e-articles, e-serendipity

We recently added an e-books and articles section to the Law Subject Guide.
It's designed to help you find something useful when you don't know exactly what you are looking for.
There are links to several publishers' sites (Cambridge, Hart, Oxford, Wiley) so you get some brand recognition and a relatively small pool of material to look at. You can search or browse. Often you can branch out into their other subject areas - philosophy or ethics or medicine, for example - without straying too far from something recognisable. You can get access to online books as well as journals; and you can get advanced (i.e. prepublication) access to some journals.
I think of it as targetted browsing - it's as close as you can get to the traditional print browsing experience, when you saw only high-quality academic sources relating to your discipline, and browsing was a legitimate and necessary part of your academic work.

There are other ways to find clusters like these.
You could start with the e-journals/e-books page; explore the subject index or browse the long list of clusters. Many of these sites also allow you to set up table of contents alerts and/or saved searches, so once you find something useful, it just gets better.

Back to blogging

We're blogging again! With roughly equal parts of optimism, shame and irony - most of our blogging seems to happen when most of the students aren't here.
We're also working on the Law Subject Guide, mongst other things. The Books and articles page now has section on e-books and articles and a section on dictionaries and reference.
I'll elaborate on these, and the specific tools they link to, in future posts.