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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year


Current Contents, Agricola, ERIC Networked

By John Stemmer, University Libraries

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 26 - April 4, 1996

Faculty and staff members and students are now able to access the Current Contents Search (CC Search), Agricola, and ERIC databases from across campus or, if a slip connection is established, from home. The University Libraries are implementing the use of a new client/server to provide networked access to bibliographic databases. The ERL (electronic reference library) system was developed by Silverplatter, a vendor of electronic databases.

Access to the ERL databases is done through clients loaded onto the user's computer. Clients are available in both Mac and Windows versions. To retrieve the clients, connect to the library support page at http://www.lib.vt.edu/support/library/.

Download the appropriate client and install it on your machine. When the program is started it will automatically connect to the servers and display a menu of available databases.

Current Contents Search on Silverplatter allows researchers to review the tables of contents from the current issues of leading scholarly research journals in the sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. More than 7,000 scholarly and scientific journals are indexed from cover to cover, including articles, reviews, editorials, and even letters to the editor. In addition, author keywords and abstracts are frequently included providing more information and better searching. Any item listed in CC Search will have full bibliographic data provided.

With the configured client, a user will be able to set up and store a search or multiple searches which can then be run periodically to keep research up to date. CC Search provides access to the last two quarters of journal contents; in addition, it has weekly updates.

All seven Current Contents editions are available through the ERL system. The seven versions are: Life Sciences; Clinical Medicine; Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences; Agriculture, Biology and Environmental Sciences; Engineering, Computing and Technology; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts and Humanities.

In addition to Current Contents Search, two of our busiest databases, Agricola and ERIC, are being made available through the ERL system. Agricola is a comprehensive indexing source for material covering U.S. agricultural and life sciences. It is compiled by the U.S. National Agricultural Library and coverage includes journal articles, theses, books, and government publications related to all aspects of agriculture. Its coverage runs from 1970 to the present. ERIC is a national bibliographic database covering the literature of education. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, it covers more than 775 periodicals and also indexes selected documents. Its coverage starts in 1966.

An added benefit of the ERL system is the ability to search more than one database at a time. For example, it is possible to search both Agricola and CC Search at the same time and retrieve both retrospective and current materials.

While Agricola, ERIC, and CC Search are the only databases available now, it is planned to move many of the databases currently available on the library's internal CD-ROM network to the ERL system. This will greatly expand access for the faculty, staff, and students to a wide range of information sources.

If you have any questions about how to install or use these databases please contact your library liaison.