Discovery tools: involving healthcare students in search/discovery

With the help of Evidencebase at Birmingham City University, in January 2013 Library and Learning Resources carried out a survey of healthcare students to assess their use of search/discovery tools.

Many thanks who the BSc (Hons) Nursing 2nd years  (Professional Values and Evidence Based practice (NUR5065) students in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health who gave up their time to fill out the questionnaire in connection with this research. (This work is also being presented to UKSG by Jo Alcock and Mark Brown as a ‘lightning’ talk.)

Method 

We wanted to find out how students responded to the range of services on offer.(for example Summon, CINAHL Full Text, MEDLINE, PYSCHInfo, Library Catalogue, Google or Google Scholar). The questionnaire outlined scenarios based on assignments (both summative and formative), and included a poster PICO excercise and an essay). Each question asked: ‘Where would you start your search?’ and students were given the opportunity to expand on why they had given the answers they did. It was important that our recently implemented discovery tool Summon was  measured alongside other search tools.

Conclusions  

It soon became clear that those healthcare students who replied were using different tools depending on the situation (e.g. for example if they are just scoping ideas or if they were specifically looking at the evidence base of medical research.) We came to two main conclusions:

  • Conclusion I: Healthcare students predominantly chose to use specific databases for evidence based clinical research.
  • Conclusion II : Healthcare students tend to stick to the tool they are familiar with for more generic research.  

We also had a range of quantitative data and responses which were fascinating.

Q1. “We’re interested in knowing which resources you would use during research for full text articles”. 

Q1

Many respondents selected all the resources indicating a broad variety of resources are being used . Not surprisingly, ‘Journal indexing services’ are clearly recognised as one of key starting points as routes to full-text articles. ‘Library Catalogue’ and ‘Google’ also scored high because up to until this point the student’s information needs (e.g. related to the theoretical basis of nursing) have been still broadly met using key texts from the book stock.

Q2.”You have been given an assignment to write an essay on comfort or dignity in nursing care and you need to find electronic resources as part of your research. Where would you start your search? ” 

Q2

When asked where students would start their search for this assignment, the choices in order of popularity were journal indexing services such as CINAHL, Medline or PsycINFO (40%), Google or Google Scholar (23.8%), Summon (20%) and the Library Catalogue (13.8%). Others (2.5%) mentioned specific journals such as Nursing Standard  or Journal of Community nursing. One reason for this maybe that only in the 2nd year do they students start to explore “the why?” that underpins clinical nursing practice and start to develop their curiosity across the field. This places a far greater emphasis on the research literature, and hence the drop off in use of the ‘Library Catalogue’ here, and perhaps also a realization that search/discovery resources like Summon, Google/Google Scholar and CINAHL offer better routes to electronic fulltext.

Q3. “Your group has been given an evidence–based research exercise, to devise a PICO around a specific aspect of care, find research, and present your findings in a group poster presentation. Where would you start”  

Q3

When asked where students would start their search for this assignment, the choices in order of popularity were journal indexing services such as CINAHL, Medline or PsycINFO (44%), Google or Google Scholar (22.5%), Summon (18.5%) and the Library Catalogue (3.7%). As in Q2, these results are similar with Google still seen one of the key starting points but also with a sharp fall in starting with the Library Catalogue.  Students needed to look for clinical guidelines (which they find via the web eg via NICE) but this exercise also asked them to undertake a database search, to justify their choice and also to evaluate the findings in the context of the evidence base as a whole. Their responses that reflected on several sources for  evidence based practice search process such as :“Google just to get the basic understanding” and also “indexing services are useful for finding research articles.”

Q4

Q4. You need to find full-text articles using clinical research in order to provide to your tutor/mentor with evidence-based research for a case study to support treatment decisions for a patient. Where would you start your search

This scenario was more focused on the practical element of the nursing course, asking students about where they would start their search for evidence-based clinical research. The results for this are very different from the two previous scenarios; the vast majority of students would start this search using services such as CINAHL, Medline or PsycINFO. Here the key idea is that students learn to use Summon and/or databases for scoping ideas and then moving to back specific databases when they have focused their search. Students who selected  ‘Journal indexing services’ said that “You can easily select ‘evidence-based’ for your search results” or “This option will allow me to search the evidence”. 

Student responses: the ability to transfer searching skills

  • Students needed generic searching skills to cope with the mass of information and also appreciated how they could transfer these skills between resources:  “I would use Google first to find out whats out there and then go onto use CINAHL, NICE and Cochrane.” ; or again “I would probably use Summon as a starting point then CINAHL, Medline etc as I feel most confident with using these”. 

Student responses: the need to start a wide search then to narrow down 

  • Students were aware of the need to start off with a broad scope and then narrow down. For example Google was useful in that it helps me to get a ‘feel’ for a subject as a starting point“. One recommended to “Use [Summon]…as a starting point, then either work at narrowing it down, or move to more specific places”, a process which another student would follow elsewhere [CINAHL] : “I would search for the topic on CINAHL and then narrow using other parameters to try and find resources.” 

The need to refine down a relevant result from a mass of results seemed to be similar across the board, no matter what the resource was. Since a single resource didn’t always fit the bill, transferring their searching skills between these key discovery and search resources was also a key expectation.

Summon: Posters

Its been a few weeks since we went live with Summon, which is now available to our students from the university portal and our library home page.

We mentioned Summon in as many communication channels that we thought appropriate including twitter, the university facebook site, inductions etc. We have also distributed posters across campus and the libraries – so the word is well and truly out.

Feedback has been generally positive and we are seeing healthy usage.

We look forward to reviewing and developing the service over the next year – have no fear plenty more Summon blog posts yet to come.

Summon: Training the trainer

Over a month ago Rebecca Price from Proquest delivered some training for our librarians entitled ‘train the trainer’ which was a useful overview on how Summon works and how to introduce it to students.

Unfortunately not all our librarians were able to attend this session so I have been delivering this session to a few groups of librarian adapting the content to reflect our own experience and instance of summon. (see below for presentation slides)

From meetings and discussions it was clear that having an overview on how Summon worked gave more confidence in the system and helped discussion on its use and potential issues, in hindsight I think it would have been useful to have this training very early on in the implementation process.

It has also been interesting to see how many changes and improvements have been made to Summon in the last year, with increased content, improved auto-complete etc. I am encouraged by this pace of change and am looking forward to see how summon develops and meets expectations.

Train the trainer

I start with an overview of why we have Summon and a key driver is to improve student experience, at the moment all we provide our students with is lists of databases and therefore they need to have a good idea about what it is they want and which database would contain that information before they even start their search.

I then talk about how Summon indexes a multitude of information, from ejournals, newspapers, ebooks etc. I think its important to highlight the range & variety of sources as this in turn effects the results list. Its also helpful to explain the record they see in the results list is the summon master record which is crafted from duplicate resources.

Talking of what Summon covers always leads to the inevitable question about what it doesn’t cover. While the majority of our full text online journals, ebooks and records from our library catalogue are covered we do have a number of A&I databases, directories, industry standard resources which are not covered, a list of which we will be making available to staff & students. We are also discovering that in some cases not the full breadth of the database is covered or we are not able to link directly to article level.

I follow with doing a search on summon, reminding staff that boolean operators will work if typed into the search box. On seeing the vast number of results I can then talk about the importance of using the refine features in the left hand column to narrow down results. I think this is a useful opportunity to show the one of the 7 lenses in information literacy, evaluate. I often choose to refine by Subject Terms in order to highlight the include and exclude option, which add in the NOT and OR operators. I also like to remind people that some of those refine options are dynamic and depend on the results retrieved.

I round up the presentation noting issues that have been raised over the last few months as we have been working with system and highlighting what we can do to resolve or accommodate these issues.

I think Summon is not the answer to everything and the key is using it in the correct context, we are retaining all our current routes therefore if someone is looking for a specific book from our library, they can continue to use the catalogue. It is clear that dependant on the subject area and the faculty it may be useful starting point for 1st years while for others it may make more use to introduce it at a later point in their studies. Summon is a valuable first step in the research process, a useful starting point.

We are now much clearer about what is not covered by Summon & therefore in some subject areas we may stick to our current routes and continue to direct staff and students to specific databases, for example with Law.

We are still working on the authentication and look to be running a mixed economy of EZproxy and AthensDA which is not our ideal as there is still opportunity for our staff and students to encounter a log in challenge.

I think this year will be extremely useful in understanding more about Summon and more about the expectations from our staff and students all of which will help in our development and presentation of the service. While working towards the implementation date of next month it is also clear that this is only the start of the process, this is not a conversation that will be ending any time soon

Searching Summon : a pilot in the faculty of Health

There has been some interesting blog posts recently about the relationship of Boolean and other techniques to discovery tools recently (see for example Library search tools. Could we make them harder to use?) and being involved in a couple of recent pilot sessions in our faculty of Health reminded me of this debate.

One of my teaching colleagues commented ‘You wouldn’t use it [Summon] if someone’s life was at risk’ – true, but there again would you really trust a database front-end to give you what you want? What with the amount of ill-matched content, paywalls to negotiate, openURLs to fail, links aggregated from a third party, relying on eresources to try and save a life would be a risky strategy to say the least – whatever the platform.  But confidence in retrieval is just what, say, a student nurse in our Defence School of Health Care Studies might require.

The pilot sessions we conducted so far bought the expected rash of error messages: a realization that Nexis UK content doesn’t work (all of it – so we have temporarily switched it off), a problem with the Nursing times through Ovid (why did the Nursing Times not have full-text article links but others did – was it because it was weekly?), a ‘Page not found’ for a one journal. We realized for example that an ‘Author’ limiters on the left-hand side only appeared where we had loaded a related MARC record into Summon, and they did not seem to appear with to other resources. The session also gave me a chance to study the Summon interface close up, including what looked like a fairly decent attempt to break it:http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cl1qoVHrz !

Summon search log

Looking in the Summon search logs shows a variety of terms entered, many of them keywords aimed a particular specialism :for example one entry shows the search ‘foreign accent syndrome‘.

The real  challenge that Summon brings with it is to traditional information literacy : an academic commented that it was ‘easy to use’ but would be great for undergraduates, who maybe come straight from searching Google but without any of the skills, rather than later years where searching habits need to be more refined. Summon is dynamic, but buries its structure : whereas CINAHL, for example, can be overtly complex but requires more methodical searching.

For example I compared the above two searches for this query ‘foreign accent syndrome :

http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cl1YlQHti on CINAHL Ft
http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cl1YlfHth on Summon

One thing that immediately stuck me was that the traditional skills of thinking’ about the ‘context’ of the keywords you use still applies, in fact they become even more important with Summon. Another was that the differences are not necessarily about Boolean logic (pace @daveyp and @carolgauld) – both sets of terms are ANDed by default. The differences seem to me to be the level of information that is fed back to the searcher , rather than the technique themselves.

One interface gives you large number of quick results but then requires you to filter, searching across all resources – the other filters first and makes you structure your search. Here I am reminded that we have set up most of our native databases to default to Advanced rather than Basic – did we consult we any students to do this? Did we offer any options? –  the Basic Search screen http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cl1Yl0Htl in CINAHL for example, is more ‘googlised’ and closer to Summon’s Basic search.

It would be helpful in my view if Summon unpacked some of its ‘magic box’ – and gave your more feedback as you search (here I think an option to get the instant numbers of searches that you get back from each term as you go along might be useful, to show the results set from each interaction). It doesn’t do itself any favours in the ‘Advanced screen either’ : do students really need a search using an ISBN or ISBN box right up there as a priority? The crucial point however is that the student is more on their own (as they would be with Google), gets results back quicker (even though they have to trim them down more – as with Google). They are using a search engine for *library stuff* that is closer to what they have may have used before they came here.

We are hoping to get more in-depth results from library colleagues in Health who have circulated some student questionnaires so it should make for some fascinating reading…

Mind the Gap

Recently,  I travelled to London for the CILIP Executive Briefing on eCopyright for Libraries and Archives  (#ecopy 12).  Arriving at Marlyebone station at the height of rush hour,  I passed on the walking map being offered to the public and made a beeline to the Bakerloo line.

Due to frequent disruptions on the line and sardine-packed trains, I abandoned the Underground and headed for the nearest taxi to take me to the CILIP headquarters.

It was a journey worth making.

Nick Poole from the Collections Trust opened the day with a keynote speech which gave a complex overview of what is happening in Europe and, ultimately, the UK.

He suggested that a lot of debate about copyright isn’t about copyright at all but about “bigger issues of democracy and economic development, many of which are brought into the focus of technology.” In essence, the discussion is about contract law (licensing) and civil rights.

ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Act) has been signed by the EU but not yet ratified. Not surprisingly, opponents to ACTA  have organised themselves via social networks (like the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) opponents in the US).  In it’s current form, ACTA may not see the light of day.

Also on the subject of Europe, we also heard from Georgia Angelaki, Business and Policy Coordinator, about  the Europeana project. More about this project in a future post.

Back to the UK,  Naomi Korn, gave an excellent presentation on the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property (IP). She suggested that not all of the Hargreaves, recommendations will be adopted (for example data & text mining). It is also realistic to expect that contract law will continue to override education exceptions.

Ben White, Head of IP at the British Library,  spoke about the definitions and issues regarding “orphan” works.  These are works that are still in copyright, but whose owners cannot be traced or contacted if they have been identified. The EU draft directive is under review and might not be implemented in its current form, if at all.

Emily Goodhand brought to life several points about EU directives and UK case law, explaining how the legal system works.  The devil is in the detail, particularly when it comes to big questions for the courts, such as what does “communication to the public” really mean? Where does infringement happen (jurisdiction/territory), and how temporary is “temporary?”

We also heard from Heather Caven, Head of Collections Management and Resource Planning and Roxanne Peters, Project Manager: Rights Management, about rights management and how they have adopted a holistic approach at the V&A.  They stressed the importance of clear IP strategies and guidelines to ensure that your rights management  doesn’t end up resembling the Winchester Mystery House.  This 160  room house was constructed with 147 builders and 0 Architects. Needless to say, there were many doors leading to nowhere and skylights on the floors.

Lastly, Sarah Fahmy from the Strategic Content Alliance, communicated to us the importance of sustainability, especially after the economic crisis.  One of the case studies was the Southhampton Library Digitisation Unit. Initially, it was set up with the purpose of providing a mass digitisation service to external clients. However, over time the changing market led to a change in its business model.  The service dedicated itself to meeting institutional needs.

Reflecting on all the presentations from that day,  I still feel uncertain about the effectiveness of the Hargreaves review in closing the gap between the rightsholders /publishers of content and those  who wish to repurpose it for educational, library, and archival purposes.

Descending back into the Underground’s claustrophobic depths, it amazed me how a complex transport system originally built by the Victorians continues to operate in the 21st century,  for better or worse (in my case).  I also agree that copyright  is a  symptom of a  bigger problem.  This challenge is the massive gap between using technology to support innovation and the law which hasn’t kept up at  the same pace.

Yes I do mind the gap, and will continue for some time in the future to watch my step.  On the ground, it still remains a question of risk management.Image

Copyright: © Thinkstock

Copyright, London and Wombles

written copyright symbol

They are giving away walking maps at Euston for the Olympics. Most punters chose the underground. I am not a Womble, so I walked to the venue for CILIP’s Executive Briefing; eCopyright for Libraries and Archives. 
It was worth getting wet.

There are few things as complex as the current UK copyright landscape and
Nick Poole’s keynote presentation confirmed this. Commenting upon recent UK and EU issues, he stated that there was no certainty in any proposed recommendations. This included the government commissioned Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth. Lobbying and responding to any calls for evidence was advocated to protect the positions of both libraries and archives.
Maybe I am part of an underground movement after all? 

This stance was also championed by
Naomi Korn in her more in depth look at Hargreaves. She talked about the speed of technological change in comparison to that of legislative; the nebulosity of the proposed Digital Copyright Exchange; that there were over 50 million orphan works across sectors and there will be no safeguards to educational exceptions whilst they are not protected by legal measures.

Ben White, Head of Intellectual Property at the British Library concentrated on orphan works. Here there is still discussion to be had about the definition and understanding of the issues surrounding these types of work. We will hopefully see a White Paper this year.

Emily Goodhand gave us an IP Case Law Update. This is always useful for interpreting fair dealing. We were given an overview of the UK legal system and she commented upon the recent NLA v Meltwater/PRCA case where as little as 11 words mattered when it came to a claim regarding copyright.

Georgia Angelaki, Business and Policy Development Coordinator, Europeana talked about the importance of standards and the project’s approach to open content licensing.

Heather Caven and Roxanne Peters outlined  a more efficient and holistic approach to rights management at the V&A. This is an attempt to mitigate clearance of rights processes.  In the past it has taken 35 working days to clear 1150 rights for 850 posters (the example that they used). They emphasised the need to be proactive, get senior level championship and match your work practice to the policy of the institution.
What is the copyright policy of your institution?

Sustainability of digital resources was the topic presented by Sarah Fahmy from The Strategic Content Alliance. The key to which is the IP that you own.

Did I say that it was a packed day?

On my return walk to Euston, a man flew past me holding onto a map the size of a small car. The latter must have got caught on the wind.  A walking map perhaps?  A sticking plaster approach to a much larger problem?  Not exactly fit for purpose much the same as current copyright policy.  At Euston, a man on his phone told a caller that he was at King’s Cross; evidently he was as bemused as I. Even so, I hope to do the right thing when it comes to clearing rights.

Just like Orinoco in fact, maybe I am a Womble after all…. now where did I put that felt hat?

Summon: Testing

With the help the Library User Group we recently spent about an hour running various searches in Summon & noting down results.

I think it was a useful exercise and provided an opportunity for people to do some focused searching, the results of which I am currently collating. A number of issues were raised which highlighted advantages & limitations to the system. It also provided a starting point in planning how we present Summon and respond to common queries.

The group were asked to locate a specific book and then search for a specific article. I also asked them to run a subject search and make use of the refine options. The test sheet included a variety of search suggestions as I always find myself at a loss when faced with a search box and no real topic or query to answer

They were also asked to compare results by running the search in Summon alongside the library catalogue or appropriate database. My hope was that this exercise would be useful in appreciating the difference between Summon & the tools we are more familiar with. I also included questions about the results screen in order to help identify what expectations people had about the system

I ended the session with a short online survey to provide some initial qualitative & quantitative data for analysis.

Personally I found it really helpful to see people using Summon and navigating around the screens. It has also raised a number of interesting questions, especially in relation to managing such large number of results.

Hitting a moving target : ejournals, subscription agents and holdings

In light of the recent posting by Mitchell Dunkley at DMU, I thought it might be useful to share some of our recent experiences about trying to track down ejournal content. We share what seems to be a similar problem : that of actually finding out what holdings we have – and particularly for ejournals, there are different issues than with ebooks.

Stormtrooper plays human target for kids. Image credit : PopCultureGeek.com

Our main point of contact for ejournals data (as opposed to journal titles in databases) has been our subscription agent Swets, and following a recent account meeting with them we flagged several inconsistencies between content available Swetswise Online Content (SWOC) and content available via some publisher’s sites. Swets are still looking into this for us but uncovering some of these problems has raised several issues that I think are generic and the examples below apply across the board. (I have used screen shots from http://screencast-o-matic.com to amplify some of these points – in this the small set of journals happen to be from Oxford Journals.)

1) Differences in holdings between subscription agent and publisher. There seemed to be often a wide variety of conflicting data depending where we looked: for example we found 37 OUP titles on SWOC but only 29 listed on Oxford Journals site. I found downloading information from SWOC problematic and unfriendly – we had to break up a download into several spreadsheets and couldn’t download one spreadsheet for all our holdings.(see this screenshot : http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/clf0XPCns). We have no idea of how often our subscription agent and the publisher update each other – these conflicts may be a simple mistake, or a reporting error that has lasted for years. Again OUP was only one example, we know of at least two other publishers where this is happening.

2) Publishers approach the problem of ejournal data in different ways. If we turn to the publisher, the Oxford site in this case seems to be structured around a  volume issue-based system – which is great for an individual user but access entitlements are shown as being an long HTML through which we had to scroll down http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/clf0IlCel. It was difficult to work out our holdings start and enddate from this, and as far as I can see an Excel list of holdings was only available on request from Oxford’s help desk.

Not all publisher administrative sites are the same – and in fact access to ejournal holdings may be reported differently depending on whether the publisher is showing holdings via our subscription agents entitlements or via a different account.The package under which a group of titles is accessed or set up may also efffect access – for example we also get Oxford titles through Oxford University Press Archive via JISC http://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/Catalogue/Overview/Index/1171. Bundles of titles tend to be reported better than individual ongoing ejournal subscriptions.

3) Technical reasons :any discrepancies about content entitlement are often compunded by technical confusion – because of an IP-check the publisher’s site  will often say the user is recognised as belonging to the University but then is prompted to login : see http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/clf022Cek (incidently this is a article we can currently access via SWOC but not via OUP ).This is often compounded when the user logs in off-campus – we have licenses with other publishers where off-campus accesss has not been made available.

4) Every institution has a different subscription history  : ‘retrospective’ entitlements to content may be complicated by insititutions not maintaining a print run in the past –  broken runs or cancellations can lead to an interruption in electronic access. This similar to the problem that has been mapped by the KB+ project  : http://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/historical_entitlements/ ; and the reality is (like in most things) there is no single source of truth. 

Country pursuits : Image Credit neilrickards

5) Free access – is often used by publishers as a marketing tool, which leads to difference between what content the library says is available and what the publisher is actually offering. There is usually no clear statement on how long the offer is for. Publishers vary in how they signal it.

The national work being carried out at KB+ (a JISC project led by @liamearney) is relevant here, but the key question for us is that of scale. When these issues are scaled up per publisher, the inaccuracies can be too resource-intensive to deal with en masse, especially in the light of implementation of a resource discovery system such as Summon. This adds another layer of dependency into the the mix : for example our Elsevier Freedom collection titles also appear in SWOC and we initially found that  there are around 390 titles (about 18%) in Summon’s KnowledgeWorks’ definition of the Freedom Collection that don’t appear in our Swets holdings.

It may be that in implementing a resource-discovery system we have to review where we get the data from, and who best to trust. And also be preprared to be flexible. There’s no guarantee. Put up the best that we have, when we have it then take it down later. Journal holdings, like clay pidgeons, never stay still.

WOWslider – Cool way of displaying images on a webpage

Have you ever seen a webpage which contained a banner or a picture which either scrolls or slides from one side to the other and thought to yourself ‘how cool is that’? Well me too. So having been asked to include a few photos of the recent The Missing Link conference, I thought to myself “let’s see if I can do something similar” or dare I say it even better. Surely not… better….. I hear you say.

Well after spending three whole time consuming minutes on Google using the term “sliders”,  I stumbled across a free (well for non-commercial use anyway) program called WOWslider from a company surprising called WOWSlider.com – pretty lucky that the company has the same name as the product! What are the chances of that happening?

The software was downloaded from their website and surprising installed onto my PC – without the aid of CICT assistance – previously I had ADMIN privileges but since having a new PC that luxury had been long withdrawn and I dreaded the prospect of having to enlist the help of our IT professionals to simply evaluate whether the software would fulfil my self-imposed brief. I need not have feared the worst as for some strange reason I had managed to get round any such restriction and without sounding smug the installation was successful. Little did I know the fun was about to begin…or the nightmare to commence! 

On opening the program you are faced with a rather amateur looking control panel:

Having said that the lack of options at the top ensure that the user has less to worry about rather than having numerous button/options which would only confuse users perhaps.

While the program supports ‘Drag & Drop’ functionality I preferred to use the + button and merely browsed to the folder in which the images were stored and selected them from there. Once loaded in the program the control panel looked like this:

You can add a title and description if need be. By adding this information you can display it on the actual image (see bottom left below) while it is being shown – however I decided against this as I didn’t have enough descriptions to place upon each image.

Once the images are loaded by clicking on the spanner icon you can decide on a number of display options (auto play once loaded, descriptions to appear, thumbnail images to appear, navigational buttons to appear). All fairly straightforward by clicking in boxes to select the feature concerned.

The images icon is where all the magic takes place. Or were you can get your hands dirty and get “under the bonnet” so to speak. There are various effects too numerous to mention. Every individual will like different effects so you can let your creative juices run wild….well within the constraints of the options that is. I adopted a more conservative approach and selected a simple slide in and out effect. But I was tempted to incorporate an effect called “Kenburns” – slow zoom in while slight movement to one side.  Very arty I think.

The final part of this process is to create the finished WOWslider and where to store it. To do this the aptly named Publish icon is chosen:

The above panel is displayed and by selecting the ‘Publish to folder’ option you can browse to a location on your PC and insert a name of the file.

You can even create a WordPress friendly version which will sit on our blog – however when I went to do this our WordPress interface didn’t show the option to select a “Plug-in” and hence I have been unable to produce this. 

Here is a link to the one I created and you never know it may see the light of day again in a different disguise on one of our webpages.

While the creation is the first part, the real challenge starts when you try to recreate the same path structure on the web server so the feature will actual run and display all the chosen images once selected. Not a mean task as that structure has to be retained precisely. The creation of new directories on the webserver took place and once all relevant files had been uploaded to the correct location I was ready to enjoy the fruits of my labour…..not.  However nothing worked first time of testing. After a sleepless night and much hair pulling (that explains a lack of my hair coverage then) the feature worked.

The joys of formatting  the page was undertaken to ensure the feature would display properly (Alignment issues. Thanks to Lee for the testing) and I included a border round it to help make it easier on the eye. Hooray it worked and after a long three days of blood, sweat and tears…..not to mention less hair, the first WOWslider had been delivered to a proud father. Yes it was a difficult birth and the initial parenting experience with me trying to coax it to run first time was stressful to say the least. However those first few moments when it took its first tentative steps in the HTML world I had tears in my eye….or was that my bad eye watering again.

Since then I can report that father and WOWslider are doing well. Now is that a ‘twinkle’ in the eye of father again….stay tuned for further ‘off-spring’ from the daddy of the eLibrary Team.