The vast print and online resources of the Princeton University Library can overwhelm even seasoned scholars. Most researchers are so busy with their daily responsibilities that there’s little opportunity for exploration and staying current with new technologies and resources. Fortunately, new tools are significantly improving access to relevant scholarly material and easing the entire process of research.
At the September 17 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Steven Adams, the Biological and Life Sciences Librarian and Interim Psychology Librarian, officially launched the LibX PUL toolbar, an amazing browser plug-in that amalgamates several databases and library systems to make the research process more efficient. With LibX, your internet browser becomes an effective portal to the entire library experience.
Members of the University community should download the LibX PUL toolbar. There are options for using the research tool with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. For use of the toolbar, Adams recommended use of Firefox 3. Once downloaded, you will see the following toolbar within your browser window.
The left portion of the toolbar contains a pull-down menu with more convenient access to the most popular Princeton University Library links:
The utility also offers the powerful ability to search the Princeton University Library Catalog, as well as other key databases, quickly from your web browser. The list currently includes WorldCat, a global catalog of library collections, EBSCO, a premier platform for full text online research, ProQuest, a collection of more than 125 billion digital pages of the world’s scholarship, JSTOR, an online archive of academic journals, Scopus, a large archive of science abstracts and citations, and Google Scholar, a honed online archive assembled by Google and several academic libraries.
From the toolbar’s right pull-down menu, select the database you want to search and then enter your query. By pressing the button to the right of the search window, you can obtain additional search fields (including author, title, subject, ISBN number, and call number) for the submission of more complex or advanced searches. The different databases have different fields available, but the toolbar understands those limitations.
Thanks to the toolbar, when you receive results within your browser, you will often see a Find it @ PUL image if the displayed reference is available within the University’s library system:
By clicking on the Find it @ PUL button, you will receive an interesting range of additional and useful options. You can locate the item in Princeton’s print or online collections, search in Google Scholar or if Princeton does not have access to the item, make an Interlibrary Loan request, or you can easily incorporate the citation into your bibliography via RefWorks.
On the internet, you will find many web pages that are coded such that they will not bring up the Find it @PUL image. Thanks to the LibX toolbar, you are still able to highlight the text and use the right mouse button to obtain the same nice range of library options. The toolbar will even permit you to drag highlighted text to the Google Scholar “magic button” or any of the other databases within the toolbar for automatic searching.
LibX also recognizes ISBN numbers within internet web sites and provides an autolink to the catalog. There, for example, you will receive information about the many different editions of that book. This feature also works with ISSNs, PubMed IDs, DOIs; clicking on any of these will execute a search for that journal via Find It @ PUL.
Steven also briefly covered two other Firefox add-ons that can be used in conjunction with LibX. The first was CoolPreviews, which adds “picture-in-picture” browsing, a click-less feature that allows you to preview any link on a web page. This can be helpful for quickly browsing through a list search results. Many scholars are already saving search results in bibliographic managers such as EndNote and RefWorks. Adams demonstrated a similar utility, Zotero, a Firefox extension that places the bibliographic manager within your browser. Like EndNote and Refworks, Zotero helps you to collect, manage and cite your resource materials. But for those of you who are comfortable in a browser based research environment, Zotero may be the right choice. You may download Zotero free and view a tour and demo.
A podcast is available.