Putting It Together Just Right: CSUN Library Links Its Electronic Holdings through EBSCO
Helfer, Doris Small, Searcher
In many ways this column connects and continues two earlier columns -- "The Trend in Academia: One-Stop Shopping for Students" [November/December 1997]  and "Making Digital Collection Development a Reality: The CSU JACC Project" [May 1999] . Both columns discussed two California State University (CSU) Consortium projects, which were still in the early stages of development at the time I wrote about them. Each article discussed a project within the CSU system that pushed the boundaries in academic libraries. Due to these and several other initiatives, the right support, and the efforts of good people inside and outside the CSU system, my library at CSU Northridge has joined leading libraries around the country in directly linking our cataloged journal records to online electronic journal articles.
To catch you up, the UIAS (Unified Information Access Systems) project discussed in the 1997 column has been renamed Pharos. Pharos was envisioned as a Web-based service that provides integrated access to a full range of library resources, including a system-wide union catalog, other library catalogs, and indexing/abstracting and full-text databases. When complete the Z39.50 compliant Pharos gateway should perform "broadcasts" that integrate electronic journal content with multiple database searches. (Ameritech Library Systems won the bidding for the project. Ameritech itself was recently sold to investors who changed its name to epixtech.)
As with most large and complex systems, bringing Pharos up and making it as robust and fully functional as envisioned has taken considerably longer than planned. Currently it is projected that the system will be fully functional in June 2000. Scattered campuses in the CSU system use it now, but most plan to wait for more reliable functionality before on-campus implementation. A number of issues concerning the consistency of the information have slowed down systems implementation on the campus level.
JACC Electronic Journals
The second column on CSU activities discussed the California State University Journal Access Core Collection (JACC), which specified the journal titles CSU wanted to access electronically. The 2-year project culminated in a list of nearly 1,300 titles. Journals on the JACC list were selected from titles for which 15 or more of CSU's 21 campus libraries subscribed to in print.
EBSCO Subscription Services won the bid on the RFP. The number of subscriptions from the list has dwindled to a mere 388. The decline in numbers resulted from a combination of factors, including lack of electronic availability or high costs for electronic formats. It became obvious that the half-million dollars allocated to the project would not nearly fund all the electronic subscriptions desired. To meet the budget, it was decided that subscriptions costing over $500 would be cut. This eliminated many of the more expensive science journals from the core collection.
JACC electronic subscriptions purchased by CSU system members should become part of the electronic databases available through Pharos when it comes to the campuses. The integration of the two projects will extend the Pharos interface to available electronic journals. Ultimately, end users will benefit from this project by having titles with easy-to-access full text readily available. Users will be able to access the full text either by browsing the OPAC for journals and linking through tables of contents or by searching indexing and abstracting databases and linking from citations found.
In the meantime, several developments occurring outside the CSU system also helped to enable the CSU Northridge campus to link directly from its catalog to electronic journals. EBSCO Subscription Services developed two new products: EBSCOhost and EBSCO Online. In addition, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Policy Committee, an international cataloging initiative led by the Library of Congress, charged its Standing Committee on Automation's Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases to investigate providing records to identify full-text electronic journals acquired in aggregator databases. …