Articles are brief reviews of research from other journals, that really summarize and distill what the take-away is from the research for your practice. Actually, it looks like recent issues may have moved to publishing original articles? But still with a one page executive summary of take-aways at the start. I actually like the commentary/review approach better than original articles, but either way could be useful.
And of course, to make it’s promise realistic, it’s open access online. From now on, when I’m starting a new project, or wondering about the best way to solve some problem, I’m going to try and remember to go and search EBLIP to see if there’s any relevant research. We don’t always (in fact, hardly ever) have the time to conduct good research at our own institutions on every project or question we have; contrary to popular belief, I don’t think every institution’s patrons are unique snowflakes, I think we can often be usefully guided by studies at comparable institutions (even with a very liberal understanding of ‘comparable’).
Incorporating research into your practice
You can browse or search from the Journal’s site, or browse at DOAJ, or search at DOAJ, but you’d need to manually enter the restriction for the ISSN. Or just search all of DOAJ confident you’ll get EBLIP in your results. But honestly I don’t have time to read typical overly-verbose research articles that may or may not of value–I appreciate the idea of executive summaries along with a review of how trustworthy the methodology is by someone else. (“Peer review” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be — I like having an actual concise peer review of an article in front of me.)
Sadly, they don’t seem to have an RSS feed. (OJS doesn’t do RSS feeds out of the box? For shame!) Wonder if I can get one from DOAJ instead? Sadly, they don’t seem to either. (Shame on them too! This is an easy and valuable value-added service DOAJ could provide, RSS results from their metadata search). Get with the program people! I’d love an RSS feed of this journal’s content I could include in my aggregator.
I also wish they had followed the lead of EBM publications I’ve seen, making the titles of the articles (in ToCs and search results) the conclusions not the research questions. Sometimes they do this (eg High School Students Struggle to Find School-related Information on the Web), but sometimes they don’t (The Information Seeking Behavior of Undergraduate Education Majors: Does Library Instruction Play a Role? — an article that, based on the summary, should have been called One-Shot Library Instruction Has No Effect On Student Information Seeking Behavior).
Give me the conclusion up front, that’s what I want! May be the difference between the journal’s “articles” and it’s “evidence summaries”–the “evidence summaries” are what I really want.
I also wish articles were available in HTML, not just PDF, for quicker access. Speed of access to applicable conclusions is the whole point of this endeavor for me. Maybe OJS doesn’t do HTML, which may be related to it’s lack of RSS feeds too. Gee, I hope the search function is over full text and not just metadata — or at least abstracts — or that they have really really good keywords in the metadata. Again, the point of this is quick on-demand access to the research conclusions I need.
(As an aside, over at the Code4Lib Journal, we’re relatively happy with our decision to go with WordPress as a platform rather than OJS. But the trade off is that for the moment we only have HTML, not PDF. We’re working on it. Slowly. And it should be mentioned that our success with WP is due to Jonathan Brinley’s excellent admining and hacking, customizing templates and plug-ins to meet our needs. )
We need more of this
It’s a good idea, an open access archive of very short executive summaries of research, that can be looked up and consumed quickly, to guide library practice. Haven’t spent enough time with it yet to be sure how useful this particular publication will end up in practice. Some of the articles have hypotheses that seem rather irrelevant to any actual decision making, which would kind of defeat the purpose, but maybe I’m just not in the right position to make the decisions relevant to those particular articles!