August 15, 2006
EBSCO (and CINAHL)
As everyone knows by now, EBSCO has purchased the CINAHL database and has decided to become exclusive distributors of said database. The same is true for SPORTDiscus (a great database for finding sports medicine, orthopedic, and rehabilitation literature, btw). Many people (myself included) are not happy about this. I find the OVID search interface far superior to EBSCOHost, though EBSCO does offer RSS alerts for saved searches and table of contents (though they are only alerts that link back to EBSCOHost but it’s a start). But facts are facts and as of January 1, 2008 EBSCO will be the only distributor of an updated CINAHL (and SPORTDiscus) database. Ergo, if we (my hospital library) want to continue offering this database we will have to switch to EBSCO.
Yesterday afternoon the System librarians met with a couple of EBSCO people and it was a very interesting meeting. They showed us all the new biomedical offerings, including Cinahl. I continue to be underimpressed with the search interface but the reps promised a new and improved interface sometime this fall. Realizing that many librarians are not fond of the search interface, the EBSCO reps focused on the “improvements” they’ve made to the databases, mainly full text journal content. They discussed native PDF’s and the vast number of titles offered. I noted that a majority of the titles had embargos (and long ones at that – 7 months or greater) and while that might be okay for an academic setting a clinically-focused library had far different needs. I pointed out that many journals have posted rapid release articles in an effort to get the most current, vital medical information to clinicians. In our line of work, 7 months may render information obsolete. The EBSCO guy countered that delayed access was better than no access at all. In the clinical setting this is not 100% true. Oddly enough, when showing us DynaMed he made sure to point out that this product updated daily to get the most current information out there. Sometimes you just have to love salespeople.
The bottom line for our hospital library is this – we wish to continue offering Cinahl to our nurses and nursing students. Therefore we will need to migrate Cinahl to the EBSCO platform. We also love SPORTDiscus and I will lobby hard to migrate that database also. EBSCO is offering a 6 month trial which we will take advantage of, but not until the new search interface is deployed. In all likelihood we will not migrate any other databases. Our main question is that of what level of Cinahl and SPORTDiscus we get (database only, database “Plus”, full text). As we work our way through this decision-making I will keep you informed of our progress.