Monday, October 25, 2004

Slow loading ERIC documents

There are two types of materials available in the education database ERIC. One type is journal articles and the other is what are called documents. Documents can be reports, conference papers, theses or dissertations, websites, even books. Most of these documents (not the books) are available in microfiche, and some are available electronically.

On Oct. 1, 2004, the U.S. Department of Education, which produces ERIC, switched from a pay subscription service for ERIC documents to a free service. The new ERIC website, has the full ERIC database, the ERIC thesaurus and 107,000 documents from 1993-2004. Buley Library gets the ERIC database via the Ebsco company, as part of a package. The new access to the ERIC documents via Ebsco looks like this:

Note the ED number in parentheses after the 2002 date, and the "Full Text from ERIC" link. (While the Notes also say that we don't have this locally, actually we do have most ERIC documents on microfiche. The database just doesn't recognize them. They are also not searchable via CONSULS.)

One problem with this switch is that there is heavier traffic to the new free site than there was to the previous paid subscription site. This may cause your connection to time out when you click on the "Full Text from ERIC" link. I timed one at over 2 minutes in the Library, which should have taken just a few seconds on the institutional high speed connection.

The good news: if this is happening to you, it's nothing you did. The bad news: there is not much you (or we) can do about it. Just as with any high traffic site (think of news sites on 9/11/2001 or weather sites during each hurricane this year), sometimes you just have to try back later. If possible, try early in the morning when overall Internet traffic is lower. You may also want to try going someplace with a faster connection, such as a library or Internet cafe. Sometimes it's just a matter of sitting there and waiting (and waiting, and waiting).

Keep trying.


Post a Comment

<< Home