Promoting online resources

Who doesn't love Betty White?

Wow. How things have changed over the past week.

I ran across this blog post over the weekend, written by a Danish library director who wrote about the process of closing their libraries and what they are doing to support their library users during the closure.  About promoting online resources he writes, 

  • "All school kids in Denmark are sent home. We are going to provide learning resources to parents so they can teach from home. Many publishers are closing down paywalls opening up content so we will be promoting those as well
  • We will increase our budgets on digital content
  • We will not only push digital library collections but also other relevant resources
  • We will experience [sic] with online book discussion and in general see what relevant activities we can move to digital platforms"

I've already seen lots of Facebook posts and emails from our member libraries sharing what their libraries are doing related to COVID-19 and sharing information about all the electronic resources that are available from outside the library. Many on Facebook are also sharing other helpful resources they've heard about. Here are a couple of the posts worth mentioning that have come through my Facebook feed via a library:

Reminder: If you are promoting system-wide or locally-subscribed online resources that are authenticated by SCLS, please be sure to use the resource links that go through the SCLS authentication.

If your library is on Facebook and you'd like to follow the South Central Library System or any of its member libraries on Facebook, you can find us here:

Stay safe, and if there are any TechBits topics you'd like to see in upcoming weeks, please let us know.

Reminder: Update BadgerLink URLs

Do you link to NoveList, HeritageQuest, Auto Repair Source, or any other BadgerLink resource on your website? As of September 30th, all BadgerLink authenticated URLs changed. Redirects currently in place will no longer work after March 2020.


Any library or school that places these authenticated URLs on a website (or within a proxy, or in another SSO application such as OpenAthens) will need to edit the URLs no later than early March 2020 in order to continue providing users access outside of the BadgerLink website. Find current URLs on the BadgerLink Resource URLs Google sheet. You can find all the details in this Badger Bulletin:

SCLS updated the links on the SCLS "System-wide Resources" web page, but if you also have links on your library's website please make sure they're updated before March!

Media Mentions

Novelist_button_200x100One of the questions reference librarians get is "I heard this author on NPR" or "I heard about this book TV" and they want to see if the library has it or if they can get it. Occasionally, patrons would only remember bits and pieces of the information needed to find the title. When I was at Sun Prairie Public Library, we used to receive the MOTOR list - Mentioned on TV or Radio - which helped quite a bit.

While it's easier now to find the answers to those questions using various websites, NoveList made it even easier with their new Media Mentions. According to a recent post on the NoveList blog, "Media mentions will track which new titles have garnered buzz on popular U.S. radio and network and cable television programs..." 

MediaMentionsIf a title has Media Mentions, they'll appear as part of the detail page of the book. You can also use Advanced Search and select one or more of the media sources like NPR's Fresh Air or Morning Edition or CBS This Morning. For example, I did an Advanced Search for titles talked about on CBS This Morning and my results included three fiction titles: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Collusion by Newt Gingrich, and Insurrecto by Gina Apostol. The results also include the date the title was talked about on the show.

If your library subscribes to Novelist Plus, Media Mentions is available there, too. As this is a new feature, the Media Mentions included are relatively recent - within the last few months. The article doesn't mention how often Media Mentions is updated so if a patron is looking for something talked about on NPR this morning, it may not show up in NoveList immediately.

One other NoveList thing - they've teamed up with LibraryReads for a webinar on July 17 called Crash Course in Romance. It's scheduled for 1-2 p.m. Central Time with a short 15 minute optional training following the main webinar.

Happy reading!

Keep Talking...About Libraries!

One of the side-effects of being a librarian is that I love to talk about libraries and all they offer to anyone and everyone. I've been known to talk about placing holds at the library, using Libby and OverDrive, and online databases with people I've just met. It's an occupational hazard. I recently read an article in Public Libraries Online called "Never Shut Up About the Awesome Programs at the Library!" which indicates I'm not alone in talking up the library at every opportunity.

When I read this article, SCLS was in the midst of updating all the online resource information as subscriptions change and update at the beginning of the year. It reminded me that getting patrons to use our online resources is an ongoing challenge. Back in 2015, WiLS devoted their Regional Community Meetings to the topic of "how to promote, teach others about, and evaluate your electronic resources" (you can see the slides and notes here).

DatabasesAs you're looking at your online resource statistics from 2018 or collecting the numbers for your annual report, you might be asking yourself similar questions - how do we get our patrons to use this particular resource, attend programs, or check out more books? I have a couple of suggestions for you. As the Continuing Education Consultant, staff training is high on my list! All library staff -  even those who don't work directly with the public - can be the biggest champions of the library. Take a few minutes at each staff meeting to highlight an upcoming program, online resource, or collection. Encourage staff to explore the online resources as part of their daily duties and share what they learn with each other.

Other training resources:

Most importantly - talk about the library and all that you offer. The last paragraph of the article I referenced above is all about this. Talk about the statistics compiled for the annual report, the programs coming up, the online resources you have, and more. Keep talking up the library!

New Database List & WiLS Webinars

As the end of the year approaches, two of the things that SCLS Tech staff works on (thanks Kerri and Brian) are updating the Online Resources page and making sure that your patrons can access your library's online resources. To make communication about databases and electronic resources a bit easier for us, we set up a new email list: SCLS Databases. This list is for SCLS library staff who are involved with databases (selection, training, marketing, etc). The focus is on library-subscribed resources, but topics may also include updates and information about statewide resources like OverDrive, Biblioboard, and BadgerLink. Ideally, we would like at least one staff member from every library subscribe to the list. Sign up here!

Taco-Tuesdays-Logo-300x300One of the first things that I'll share with the list is the new WiLS TACO Tuesday webinar series. TACO stands for Talking About Coop Opportunities. SCLS libraries work with WiLS to subscribe to, renew, or investigate new database and online resources. This is a great way to learn about new resources that your library and community may be interested in subscribing to in the future. The first one is February 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will feature Gale Resource Center, Demco Makerspaces Website, Hein Online, and Sage. Find out more information here.

Have a great holiday season!


COUNTER-compliant stats for electronic resources

How many windows do you count?

How do you count things?

If I asked how many windows your residence has, how would you answer? Would you count the little windows to the basement? Windows in the garage? Separate panels within a multi-part window? What about a window within a door?

If we compared the window counts of our residences, we would probably want to be sure we were counting the same thing. Otherwise, we'd be comparing apples to oranges. The same is true for online resources (electronic databases and the like). If we're counting, we want to use established standards. COUNTER helps us do just that.

From the COUNTER website...

What is COUNTER?

COUNTER is a non-profit organization supported by a global community of library, publisher and vendor members which provides the Code of Practice that enables publishers and vendors to report usage of their electronic resources in a consistent way. This enables libraries to compare data received from different publishers and vendors.

Why use COUNTER?

Libraries spend considerable amounts of money licensing different types of online content to support their users' needs. Libraries need to assess user activity, in relation to this content, to ensure that this money is spent as productively as possible.

The COUNTER Code of Practice helps librarians demonstrate the value of electronic resources by facilitating the recording and reporting of online resource usage stats in a consistent and credible way.

The implementation of the Code of Practice helps publishers and vendors support their library customers and provide statistics comparable with those of their competitors.

The takeaway

  1. Standards help ensure accountability
  2. COUNTER's Code of Practice is a standard used to measure the usage of electronic resources
  3. Measuring usage in a consistent way allows for comparisons across libraries and vendors


Historically, SCLS has provided usage statistics pulled from our authentication scripts. These stats are not COUNTER-compliant and are really only a rough estimate of how many users requested a resource, not if/how they used the resource once they arrived there (think "gate count" as opposed to "checkouts"). In upcoming months, we will be modifying our authentication system to try to get better, COUNTER-compliant statistics for member libraries and for the DPI annual reports. Watch for more information about this on the SCLS Technology News blog.

Photo by Travel-Cents on Unsplash

It never hurts to double-check

Many libraries subscribe to online databases like NoveList Plus, Chilton, AtoZ Databases, and others. If access to a subscription isn't working, hopefully the library's staff or patrons will report the problem to the library, and the library will spring into action to fix the problem (for SCLS libraries, by letting the SCLS Help Desk know about it).

However, sometimes nobody catches the problem until it's been a problem for quite a while. For this reason, I'd like to suggest that a couple of times a year (especially in late January after yearly subscription changes are made), library staff double-check access to the library's subscriptions just to make sure everything is working like it should be. Check from an in-library computer, and also give a check from a computer not at the library to make sure remote access is working, too. Lion2

SCLS Electronic Resources

If access to one of your library's Electronic Resources isn't working like it should, please contact the Help Desk.

Original lion photo by Lemuel Butler on Unsplash

What do you know about BadgerLink?

BadgerLink is a service provided by the Department of Public Instruction which provides Wisconsin residents with licensed content not available through regular search engines.
Some of the resources BadgerLink provides include LearningExpress Library (practice tests and tutorials for students and adult learners), EBSCO databases (everything from auto repair to articles on business, health, and general topics), HeritageQuest Online (genealogy resources), to name just a few. We link to some of the BadgerLink resources from the SCLS System-Wide Resources webpage for easy access for SCLS residents, and the full collection resources is available from the BadgerLink website.

Here are some more interesting tidbits about BadgerLink.

Did you know...

Although I use BadgerLink resources all the time, I had never known exactly how BadgerLink is funded, who is behind the scenes, and how BadgerLink came to be until I read "Behind the Scenes at BadgerLink." It's worth a look!

Info Sheets for BadgerLink Resources

BadgerLink recently announced they've added "Info Sheets," short and easy-to-digest training materials for educators, librarians, and the general public.  The Info Sheets give a quick overview of the navigation of each resource and also provide information about full-text availability, how to access a permalink, if there is an automatic citation feature, and copyright information for the resource.

Access NewspaperARCHIVE info sheet (p.1)

The Info Sheets and many other types of training materials can be found on the BadgerLink Training page.

More information about the Info Sheets can be found in this  "Announcing Info Sheets and Training Survey" post on the WI Libraries blog.

Flipster support for patrons & library staff

EBSCO offers support options for Flipster digital magazines, by clicking the Help link on the Flipster website:


Since these options are available on the same screens that all users see, they are reachable by library staff and patrons alike—though the contact form does helpfully advise, "The librarian or administrator at your institution can best handle your inquiry."