So facebook friend and former library school classmate John Glover recommends “Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien” on Facebook. This sounds right up my alley. I want to get it. I like when I have the opportunity to use the services I develop myself, as an end-user myself with an actual information need, so I can see how well they work. Granted, I’m obviously not a typical user, being the developer and intimately familiar with the system. Although that doens’t stop me from sometimes being stone-walled and frustrated when the system doesn’t give me what I need anyway, but in this case I think it works reasonably well, see what you think:
I’m not even sure if it’s an article or a book or a book chapter or what. But I copy and paste that string to Google Scholar. Okay it’s a book.
(note, the Google Scholar “PDF” link is actually a book review, which is useful, but not actually fulltext as Google Scholar thinks. This happens often for Google Scholar, it’s probably not a huge problem for users as they find out it’s a review after clicking).
Umlaut shows me we have a copy, which is currently on the shelf.
(Umlaut also gives me Amazon’s description, and links to both Google and Amazon’s limited-excerpt previews, if I wanted to check out more about the book. Look yourself and see.).
Umlaut gives me that ‘request’ button in the screenshot above. Click on there, and because I had already had institutional SSO credential cookies in my browser, I don’t even have to log in, but immediately see a “request” form where I can choose my pickup location (defaulting to circ desk at my home library). (I can’t easily show you a screenshot because I didn’t think to take one when I did this for real, and now can’t get the request form again to screen-shot, since I get a “you have already requested this” message).
Click one more time on the ‘Request’ button to confirm, and the book will be waiting at the circ desk for me to pick up in a business day or two (if I were faculty or grad student, I could get it delivered to my departmental mailbox)
So three clicks from the Google Scholar result screen. There are several things about this workflow that we wish could be better (and it doesn’t ALWAYS work this well), but that ain’t bad. And is better than many of our peer institutions. (How does yours do?)
All this could be yours with Umlaut. Some assembly required. (You _will_ have to do some development to get the integration with your ILS to show availability and give you the one-click ‘request’ access. By screen-scraping if neccesary — I’ve actually become a believer in screen-scraping lately when API’s aren’t avail. It doesn’t break as much as you’d expect, and is way worth it for super high value things like this. Anyhow, Umlaut is meant as a platform for developing your own local integration where needed.)