Friday, December 13, 2013

Proprietary Databases

What are proprietary databases?

                               A privately owned online database that is password protected and isn't available to the public.The company is generally more responsible to their users than other commercial database.
                                                Ex. Proquest, SAGE, Ebrary, IG

References: What are proprietary database. Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from
iGroup Asia Ltd. (2013). ). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from

Lee, S.D. (2002). Building an electronic resource collection: a practical guide. Great Britain: MPG Book Ltd.

ProQuest. (2013). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from 

SAGE. (2013). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from


Guide for Librarians

What are the considerations of libraries in acquiring or developing proprietary databases materials?

Developing library digital resources has many similarities to traditional collection development, though at the same time there were some notable differences ( Lee, 2002).
Knowing this fact, we must be aware of the different things to consider in choosing proprietary databases in order to build a strong and quality database collection. The following are the things that we must consider in assessing and acquiring database:

  1. Formulating a collection development policy. This needs to cover many things, but at its root there should be a clear count of where the institution currently is in terms of holdings, and where it whishes to be.
  2. Establishing a budget. There must be enough allocated budget if an institution wants to subscribe or acquire proprietary databases. When you are establishing a budget, or putting in for an annual renewal, the following concerns should be taken into accounts:

    1. Maintaining the status quo. If you already have a set of electronic products available, the main part of the budget request must be to maintain these subscriptions, or to match these recurrent cots.
    2. Essential purchase. It is clear that at times some titles will appear that are “must have” purchase. This should be costed into the annual budget.
    3. Targeting desiderata. It is important to maintain through out the year a desiderata list of titles that you would like to purchase for which funds are not yet available at present.
    4. Price increase. Budgets will have to take into accounts price rises.
    5. Unforseen purchase. To add to this there is the problem of the sudden appearance of products during the financial year which immediately fall into the category of must have purchases. (contingency funds must be considered)
    6. Special consideration. Databases will present some specific problems when it comes to assembling a budget. This tends to arise from three main factors:
·        Their link to subscriptions, which can cause particular difficulties.
·        The fact that many databases are at present free but may in the future have to be paid for.
·        The large amount of money some publishers charge for the bulk deals.

  1. Awareness of the Database. There appear to be three main sources of information relating to new database:

i.         Publicity flyers from publishers
ii.       Word of mouth, i.e. e-mail list, meetings and websites
iii.      Notifications by readers and colleagues
      4. Assessment trials and evaluation. Perform an initial assessment of the product 
          to see if it meets basic criteria.

References: What are proprietary database. Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from   

Lee, S.D. (2002). Building an electronic resource collection: a practical guide. Great Britain: MPG Book Ltd.

How to evaluate these databases by acquisition?

It is important to have an initial assessment of the product to see it it meets the basic criteria. In essence these are the factors that will allow a title onto the desiderata list and those that will exclude it. This generally comes down on three things: a. cost, b. content, c. capability. The following questions will serve as a guide in choosing a database:
    1. Has the dataset been requested by the large number of users?
    2. Will it be heavily used by a large number body of readers from all sectors within the institution?
    3. Will it provide access to information which is not readily available in other formats?
    4. Will it provide a set of tools or features which is not readily and enhance the use of material?
    5. Will it offer the possibility of a potential cost or space saving through the cancellation offprint subscription?
    6. Does it have, or is it likely to have, any competitors?
    7. Is it essential to maintaining the research profile or competitiveness of a department/faculty/company?
    8. It is based in a subject area that has been relatively underrepresented by previous dataset purchase?
    9. Does it complement existing digital services?
    10. Has it received promise of funding?
    11. Is it a one-off purchase (ex. it does not add to recurrent cost?)
    12. Is a consortium deal possible or it regarded as good value for money?

After the title has been selected it is important to request a trial subscription or evaluation copy. The evaluation should draw the on a pool of experts and these would ideally represent:
·        Subject specialist
·        technical experts
·        readers or readers services
·        interface experts
·        Administrative personnel (to consider such things as the implications of the budget, the proposed license, etc.)

The following list of questions provides a fairly comprehensive guide of the types of issues an evaluation might cover. This would also be of use once a dataset has been purchased, at the renewal stage of the life cycle. The collation of work by other institutions drawing on Oxford University’ Evaluating a ( dataset and Harvard’s Stewards’ checklist of questions (http://

Evaluation Checklist:

Initial Details
·        Full title of the dataset
·        Publisher
·        Details of corresponding print publication (if applicable)
·        Pricing details
__ payment model
__standalone cot
__network cost
__ recurrent or one-off payment
__ additional fees to third parties or under national taxes
__(if available) average inflation for product over past few years
·        Type of product (e.g.) CD-ROM plus platform, internet access, tape, etc.)
·        Machine specifications used for evaluation  include details such as internet connection if applicable)
·        Date and time of evaluations
·        Brief description content

Setting up or accessing the dataset

Local Products
·        Is the dataset easy to install
·        Is it easy to network?
·        Was all the software needed supplied with the installation CD-ROM?
·        Were the instructions clear?
·        Does it appear to conflict with other functions of the computer/server?
·        Can the database be uninstalled easily?

         Remote access
·        Did you manage to access the site easily?
·        Was the URL intuitive?
·        Can you bookmark the site or section of it?
·        Does the service use any of the following; frames, cookies, Java or JavaScript?
·        What browsers will it run under, and what version is needed?

Both local and remote

·        Does the dataset require any plug-in?
·        Does it create an otherwise excessive burden on the client
·        Accessing the opening screen: on average, is this instantaneous, or does it take few seconds
·        Accessing the search screen: on average, is this instantaneous or does it take few seconds?
·        Have you ever experienced a message saying “too many connections/Users?”
·        Is yes, approximately how often does this occur?
·   Is there a clear and easily accessible list of the complete contents of the dataset? If this is a growing resource. Or one with updates, how accurate is the list?
·  Are there errors noticeable in the text, broken links, or anything else’s which would indicate a lapse in quality control?
·  Would you say that the dataset contains everything that is in the print version? What is the relationship between the electronic product and the print holdings of the institutions?
·  Have you seen any other publications to compare to this in content?
What are they and how they compare?
·        How often is the product updated?

     Interface and Searching
·        Is there a main menu or some kind of main list that outlines all the functions clearly?
·        Is the interface generally easy to use?
·        Is the navigation intuitive
·        Does it conform to accepted standards for disabled access?
·        Was it obvious how to browse or start a search?
·        Can you:
__ save searches?
__combine search words?
__modify searches?
__narrow/widen searches?
__use proximity searching?
__use Boolean operators?
__truncate search terms and/or use wildcards?
__limit by year/publication/type/language/other?
__check the indices and pick entries to search for?
__use any command line searches? Is it made clear how to structure these, or how to use special codes
·        Can you search the dataset via third-party software (ex. reference manager tool?)
·        Do you get a hint if your search achieved no results?
·        Can you see history of searches?
·        Can you save the search set for future use?
·        Can users set up or configure personalized accounts?
·        Can the dataset be cross-searched with others?
·        Sending a simple search and receiving the results (e.g. looking for a term in a single dataset) on average, is this instantaneous, or does it take few seconds?
·         Do results display automatically?
·        If not, is it intuitive how to access them?
·        Is there a choice of formats for display?
·        Can you mark useful results?
·        How many records can you mark/save/export at once?
·        Are the steps for saving/exporting/printing easy to understand?
·        Can you save to a floppy disk/hard disk/either?
·        Can you e-mail results?
·        In what format are records saved (ASCII, HTML, other)?
·        Can the results be exported to third-party software?

·        Is it easy to exit/logoff?
·        Are you prompted to save or lose your searches/results?
·        Is there a timeout system for idle session?

·        Is it possible for the administrator to change some settings of the database to suit the users’ needs?
·        What authentication system is employed (ex. Username/Password, simultaneous access, domain name, etc)?
·        Is there a choice of authentication systems on offer?
·        Can you add information to the dataset, such as local holdings? Is it easy to interface the dataset with other electronic products?

        Documentation and support

·        Is any documentation provided?
·        Is it sufficient, covering both installation and use?
·        Are there costumer support and technical support facilities?
·        Are these available by telephone/fax/email/the web?
·        If there is a website does it include information about system status?(ex. Is the system fully operational? Are connections being refused?, etc.)
·        Is there any training available? Is this free of charge?
·        If there is an online help system how useful is it?
·        How easy is it to access the online help mid-session?
·        How closely does it mirror the paper documentation?

General points

·        Is this product available on a different platform or through a different aggregator? If so, has this been evaluated?
·        Is this publication useful? In other words, could you predict a high demand for it (using existing requests for the product, use/importance of the print publication if applicable, ILL request and so on)?
·        Would you say this dataset presented good value for money?
·        Do you think it will be of use to people in the institution other than the proposer?
·        Did you detect any errors or problems either with the actual data or with the search software?
·        On average would you envisage using the dataset:
__lees than once a week?
__1-3 times per week?
__once a day?
__more than once a day?

References: What are proprietary database. Retrieved on December 05, 2013,   

Lee, S.D. (2002). Building an electronic resource collection: a practical guide. Great Britain: MPG Book Ltd.

Guide for Proprietary Database Users of the University of the Immaculate Conception

Note: You can only access this databases inside the UIC Campus

                       Ebrary Academic Complete
This database is a comprehensive subscription of e-books and other authoritative materials that any number of students can use at the same time. 

Academic complete is an instant digital library with more than 54,000 titles to 65,000 of multidisciplinary titles.

The titles cover many different subject areas

n      Medicine

n      Science

n      Computing

n      Education

n      History

n      Language and Literature

n      Philosophy

n      Psychology and

n      Religion

Some journals, reports and sheet music are also included in the collection.
Content is derived from a wide variety of top scholarly and professional publishers recognized as leaders in specific fields of study.

Why should I use this service?

n      ebrary provides access to the full text of publications online and at any time.

n       ebrary allows you to browse and view documents, conduct full-text          searches and copy and print material.

Other features include:

n      Access to the collection from any computer with an internet connection.
n       Ability to search full text of thousands of e-books quickly and efficiently.
n       Favorite titles can be stored on your virtual bookshelf.
n      Any number of users (patrons) can  simultaneously browse and view documents or  search  a particular             document at the same time.
n       Text can be highlighted and notes added.

The Ebrary User Interface

1.You need to sign up to make your account.

2.You can search an ebook in the search box. 

ProQuest provides thesis, dissertations, governmental and cultural archives and news, in all its forms.

One of the most comprehensive online serials database available today.

It provides access to nearly 8,000 journals with over 5,000 available in full text.

Record dating back as far as 1980 and full text coverage beginning as early as 1990.

Include current journals In more than 100 subject areas.

The UIC Library has several database under PROQUEST, these are:

n      ABI/INFORM Global

n      Academic Research Library

n      Nursing and Allied Health Source

n      Proquest Agriculture Journals

n      Proquest Computing

n      Proquest Educational Journals

n      Proquest Medical Library

n      Proquest Science Journals
n      Proquest Social Science Journals
n      U.S. National Newspaper Abstract

The ProQuest User Interface

iG Library is a new generation eBook platform developed by iG Publishing.
Its simple and user friendly interface helps you to retrieve information from huge eBook collections using a single click. It employs a powerful clustering engine to help you quicklyanalyze search results as well as to discover related topics.

The iG Library User Interface

  1. Interface language setting, by default, is based on your browser’s configuration..
  2. Back to Main Page.
  3. Add  Open Search Module to the Browser.
  4. Log – out.
  5. Quick Search Bar to Search the Collections.
  6. Link the Advance Search page.
  7. Collection List
  8. Featured Title List
  9. Move Cursor over the covers to display book information.


SAGE Reference Online is an authoritative and award-winning interdisciplinary content for every library.  Features include the following: unlimited users, perpetual access to purchased content; readers guide, advanced, table of contents, and index searching available.

Features include the following:

·        Service to unlimited users

·        Perpetual access to purchased content

·        Hosting fees included within the purchase price for the first five years

·        User-friendly navigation and dedicated SAGE book sites

·        MARC Records available through OCLC

·        COUNTER–compliant usage statistics

·        Zotero: a new citation download/document management option

·        Other NEW features, including

 - optional text-size adjustment

 - the option to email or print search/browse results

- new styling for primary feature controls

- and a new location for primary readings 


The SAGE Online Encyclopedia User Interface 


iGroup Asia Ltd. (2013). ). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from

ProQuest. (2013). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from 

SAGE. (2013). Retrieved on December 05, 2013, from