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ERU Volume 3 , Winter Quarter 2003

The Joy of SFX
Evolution of Journal Publishing
Science and Humor Exhibit
Which Database Should You Use?
Photos and Images on the Web

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The Joy of SFX        By Andrea Twiss-Brooks

SFX is a service provided by the Library to help our researchers and students link from database references (like SciFinder Scholar, INSPEC, Web of Knowledge, Medline) to a copy of the corresponding full text document. Further SFX is designed to lead the reader to “appropriate” full text documents, i.e., those which are licensed by the Library for the use of students, faculty and staff. Many databases have their own internal linking services. These are often helpful, but in some cases the links are offered whether or not the University of Chicago subscribes to a particular online journal.

These services are also limited by the agreements between the database producers and the journal publishers. SFX uses a decision table which identifies not only titles that are available full text to University of Chicago users, regardless of the publisher, but also alternate sources for full text, specific volumes and years of coverage, and offers other services even when full text is not available (e.g., a search in the online catalog for print volumes). SFX

How does SFX work? SFX uses metadata organized in a standard format called OpenURL. This metadata includes information like the journal name, International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), volume, issue, pages, and year. The metadata is passed from databases that are SFX-aware to a local SFX server here at the University of Chicago Library. The server decodes the metadata and matches it to the appropriate entries in a table of information about the Library’s online subscriptions. An SFX services menu is generated dynamically, offering “appropriate” choices of services to the user.

Not all databases are SFX-aware, nor are all journal web sites structured to have links directly to the article level from an SFX generated link. However, these systems are undergoing constant development, with more and more SFX-compatible resources and services being offered. Therefore, when you are using a database and searching for journal articles, if you see the SFX link, go ahead and click on it! If you’re interested in learning more about SFX, visit the SFX web site: There you will find detailed technical descriptions, OpenURL standard information and more! See page 4 for examples of how SFX works in the databases offered by the Library to the University community.


Evolution of Journal Publishing
By the Physical Sciences Bibliographers

For many years, librarians and faculty have been concerned about the “journals crisis”: the number of journals has been increasing, costs have been rising faster than inflation, and the number of journals that libraries subscribe to has been steady or decreasing.

It has become a mantra that faculty give away their intellectual property to publishers, who sell it back to university libraries. A small number of commercial publishers control a large portion of the market, particularly in the sciences, and they continue to buy up smaller for-profit publishers, thus concentrating control even more. Electronic journals have complicated the situation and added to library costs.

Faculty and librarians have taken initiatives to weaken the control of commercial publishers, but it will take time for major changes to occur. One such initiative is SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). The University of Chicago Library is a charter member

Electronic publishing, particularly of the journal literature, is transforming the way most faculty and students retrieve and use information. In 1998, the Library licensed on-line access to 5,700 electronic full-text journals; in 2002, this number reached 20,000. All electronic journals are included in the Library’s on-line catalog, with direct links to the electronic version.

Electronic journals are highly valued and heavily used by faculty and students. In fact evidence suggests that even those who are on campus and have used the printed journals previously, now prefer to use the electronic versions. (See for more information.)

Until recently, most electronic journals were also acquired in print. However, as electronic journals became more acceptable to users and as access became more stable, bibliographers often opted to acquire new journals in electronic form only. Additionally, many publisher electronic packages provided access to their entire journals collection, which significantly increased the number of titles available to our users.

Because of budget constraints for FY2003 and the certainty of more severe constraints in FY2004, Library bibliographers have been reviewing journal subscriptions for possible savings. Since it is now possible to acquire many journals solely in electronic form, bibliographers have the option of eliminating subscriptions to print journals thus saving subscription, processing and storage costs. This year one of our major commercial publishers, Elsevier ScienceDirect, has offered this option, and bibliographers cancelled 211 print subscriptions, effective with the 2003 volumes.

Electronic journals do present some unique issues, which science bibliographers take into account before making the decision to rely on the electronic version. Some of these issues are: explicit archival policies and options for access to content, acceptance of electronic only access by most of the affected user community, functionality and stability of the electronic version.

The Library is dedicated to the information needs of faculty, students and staff.
Whether the information is provided in print or electronic format is an issue the
Library will continue to deliberate carefully and realistically.

Science and Humor Exhibit
By Barbara Kern


The nature of the scientific mind may be discovered in elegant mathematical expressions and beautifully
designed experiments, and also perhaps by reading "Drool science" or Robert Bakers, "A stress analysis of a strapless evening gown". Our exhibit has chosen this second discovery route by examining examples of scientist's humor and humor with a science theme. Our exhibit's contributors include Chicago faculty and
students as well as our own collection of jokes, cartoons, and funny bone-tickling stories.

The exhibit is on display until March 31, 2003 in the atrium of the John Crerar Library.

Contributions and comments are welcome :
or contact Barbara Kern at - 702-8717.

Which Database Should You Use?
By Brenda Rice

For a printable version of this
chart please see the PDF version.


Photos and Images on the Web

You will find a listing of Photograph and Image Sources in the Sciences from the John Crerar Library homepage under Research & Subject Guides. This guide provides access to a wide range of quality photographs and images in various scientific disciplines. Most of the photos and images can be accessed free of charge – others require a subscription or fee for use.

American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936
4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century; photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles (1869-1939), George Damon Fuller (1869-1961), and other Chicago ecologists on field trips across the North American continent; from the University of Chicago Library.

Emilio Segre Visual Archives

25,000 images with the collection focused on American physicists and astronomers of the twentieth century, but includes many scientists in Europe and elsewhere, in other fields related to physics, and in earlier times; part of the AIP Center of History of Physics site.

Royal Society of Chemistry Images Collection

8,000 images from the Royal Society of Chemistry Library and Information Centre including original prints, individual photographs, glass lantern slides, photomicrographs and illustrations from books, dating from the present-day back to the sixteenth century; the mainstay of it is the "Cribb Collection," with about 433 items ranging from 1538-1890, which contains portraits of famous scientists, cartoons and caricatures; there are many images of contemporary scientists including Nobel prize and other award winners, and analytical chemists.

Images on Web

Continued from page one.....

Here are some examples of SFX at work in the databases offered by the Library to the University community:

SciFinder Scholar

SciFinder Scholar

Select the reference(s) of
interest. Then click the
"Full Text" button.



There is no full text option in ChemPort for this title (i.e., no agreement between database provider and publisher).

However, the Library may have a separate licence for this text, or it may be available in print. Click on the "Your Library" button to retrieve the SFX services menu and see the options.

Web of Knowledge

Web of Knowledge (aka Web of Science)

In this case there is an actual SFX logo button. Just click it to see what options are available.

INSPEC on Ovid

Look for the OpenLink(SFX) text below each record of interest. Click on this link to open the SFX menu of services. (Note that there is no Ovid Full Text link available for this reference; the Library’s Ovid Full Text subscription is limited to biomedical titles).


An Example of the SFX menu

Choose the Crystallography Journals
link to go to the article.

However, in this case, the link does NOT take you directly to the article level.

You must choose
the correct issue and navigate
to the article.

The SFX menu window remains open,
so you can check for volume, issue
and page numbers.

Since SFX offered the link, you can be reasonably sure that once you get to
the article of interest, you will not
be denied access.

Contact Information

The ERU (Electronic Resources Update) is written and produced by the Science Libraries at the University of Chicago. This quarterly publication is distributed in print, on the web and via email.

To receive this newsletter in print or via email contact Barbara Kern at 702-8717 or


Web of Science SciFinder Scholar Oceanic Abstracts MathSciNet INSPEC Gmelin GeoRef Current Index to Statistics Computing Reviews Compendex/Engineering Index Beilstein

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