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Library Quarterly Report FY19 Q3: January-March 2019

Spotlight: ICE Virtual Library Database Trial

Screen capture showing the ICE Virtual Library home page.
The ICE Virtual Library provides access to 37,000 full-text papers from 40 peer-reviewed journals and conference papers.

In an effort to improve online journal holdings — especially in engineering and other technical areas — the library set out to explore gaps in our research collections. The areas of civil engineering, government engineering and geotechnical engineering were all places we felt we could improve, IF we could find a "journal collection" that was relevant and affordable enough.

We discovered a possible solution in the ICE Virtual Library, an online portal that included applied research and articles in such relevant areas as: construction, civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, structures, materials, environmental science, urban planning, research and transportation history.  ICE struck as a similar to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which produces one of our more popular journal article platforms, the ASCE Library full-text journals database (licensed by the library since 2010). The library faced some challenges in working with ICE, due in part to the fact that the publisher is overseas, however, we were finally able to get access to the resource and configure it as needed. At that point, additional challenges emerged:

It was not possible to make content we don't need or can't afford to license "dissappear" from the site.
2. Some journals that could be discovered were both highly relevant and too expensive to include in the trial.
3. 1,500 eBooks are in the database, cluttering search results screens with content we don't want at this time.
Survey: We configured the database and a user-satisfaction survey, sent via direct e-mail to 640 VDOT employees who had “self-registered” for our other engineering resources (Knovel, ASTM Compass, EBSCO Engineering Core eBooks or ASCE Library) inviting them to try ICE and take the survey. The trial would last 3 months but the survey would be undertaken during the month of March, which would give us time to get feedback and consider options.

We received 65 responses (10% response rate) from engineers in districts and ay VTRC. In all, 54% rated the database content as excellent/good, 71% rated the site as excellent/good overall, and 52% recommended a subscription, though some noted it may be more useful for researchers than practitioners. We will decide next quarter whether to add ICE or not.

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