How do you Catalog a Subscription Database?

That is the question.  Background – Kelly Fann, the new Director of Tonganoxie Public Library, shared a Reference-is-so-much-fun story with me about how she found a Police Officers Selection test  using her mad Web-searching skills after the patron couldn’t find what he needed in the stacks.  Next, I’m weeding at a library and have to pull all of their GED, GRE, SAT, and ACT tests because they are 10+ years old and not worth the paper they’re printed on anymore.  This library is strapped for cash and can’t afford to buy new guides.  My solution?  Show your patrons how to access these tests and more at LearningExpress!  

The State Library of Kansas provides access to LearningExpress Library (a re-packaged version of learnatest.com).  At LearningExpress Library, once you register, you can get access to HUNDREDS of full-text online tests, study guides and ebooks on everything from 4th grade math to Algebra to Adobe Photoshop to GED prep in English or Spanish to Plumber’s License Test Preparation to U.S. Citizenship Preparation to Social Networks and Online Communities.  So, nothing of interest to library patrons or the staff who may need to help them.

We raved about LearningExpress at NEST and wrote a few Posts about it and brainstormed ways to market this service (my favorite is to create a fake book full of how-to book marks and put it in the stacks).  I just wrote another one because I wanted to share our plan to catalog the online Tests in NExpress.

At first, I did things the hard way and tried to create my own brief record for the GED Preparation resources, but then I got smart and went to WorldCat.  Guess what I found there?  MARC Records!  Woot.  Too bad we don’t subscribe to WorldCat.  However, Heather was able to get sample records from the great folks at Northwest Missouri State Univ in Maryville, MO.  I’ve also contacted the marketing department at LearningExpress LLC to see if they can just send me some MARC records.  I’m hoping they’re free.  I can see in WorldCat that they exist….and I WANT THEM.

So, now the question is – can we count ‘use’ via these Koha records?  Maybe using Google Analytics?  Not sure about that.  It would be nice to know if our hard work is going to pay off.  A bit off topic, but I did have Heather add props to the State Library in the records, since it’s their budget that’s providing this great service.

The sample records are:

One complication with our pilot is that you have to register to access the site content and you are not re-directed or ‘further directed'(?) to the exact/correct page within LearningExpress from the Koha OPAC unless you are already logged in!  So, you find the perfect test in Koha, you click on the link, it takes you to the LE site, you register, and then it spits you out on the Home page…not to the exact page you want (and we so carefully embedded in the MARC record).  We’ve added a path finder into the record as a work-around.  The other is to log into LearningExpress first, then use Koha…but if you’re already in LE, why go back to Koha?  We want to use the ILS to advertise LE, not the other way around.

So, I’m waiting impatiently to hear back from LearningExpress about MARC records and until then, we’ve sent our sample records out to the NExpress list for feedback.  I hope they find it useful.

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