EBSCOhost Connection Records Found In-The-Wild

Posted on     3 minute read

× This article was imported from this blog's previous content management system (WordPress), and may have errors in formatting and functionality. If you find these errors are a significant barrier to understanding the article, please let me know.

EBSCOhost Connect was announced in the spring of 2006 as near as I can recall. (I can't find the press release about it on the EBSCO website. As close as I can come to a date is from an announcement at the Oregon School Library Information System.) After three years, I've finally seen an EBSCOhost Connect in Google web search results. This screencast and accompanying transcript (below) show what I've found.

Screencast Video

[flash http://media.dltj.org/ebscohost-connection.mp4 w=768 h=576]

Video Transcript with Links

This video is a screencast demonstration of EBSCO's records in the Google web index in a service known as EBSCOhost Connection. The description of this service from their website says that:

EBSCOhost Connection is designed to bridge the gap between a search of Google and other search engines and the valuable content of EBSCOhost that is available to you, courtesy of your library. EBSCOhost Connection is intended to promote and expedite access to this quality content by infusing brief citation-only records from EBSCOhost databases within result lists generated by these search engines. As such, you can click on the EBSCOhost record in these result lists, and be appropriately directed to the database pages within your library's EBSCOhost resources.

This sounds like a good idea, but until I saw a post last week from Aaron Schmidt on his Walking Paper blog, I hadn't really seen any of these EBSCOhost Connect records in Google web search results. Aaron found that a Google search for "triumph triple connection" will show an EBSCOhost Connect record. In my testing, I found it to be in either the sixth or seventh position on the first screen of results. Your experiences will, of course, vary by your geographic location and past search history, but -- in any case -- I made this screencast to show you what it looks like from both inside and outside an IP address range recognized as subscribing to EBSCOhost.

In the simplest case, your machine is using an IP address configured as part of an EBSCOhost subscription. Starting at Google, we'll do a search for "triumph triple connection" and scroll down to see the EBSCOhost Connect record. Clicking on it gives this brief citation display with a note at the top to access the complete article on EBSCOhost courtesy of my place of work. Selecting that link indeed takes you to the full record display with all of the EBSCOhost functionality.

It is a little more complicated if your machine is using an IP address that is not recognized by EBSCOhost as coming from a subscribing institution. To demonstrate this, we'll start again at Google and search for "triumph triple connection". This time when we select the search result from Google we get a page with with this heading where the link directly into EBSCOhost used to be. We need to come over to the left sidebar to find our institution -- either by institution name, by ZIP code, or by using a narrowing down browse process. I'll search for "Ohio" as part of the institution name. And indeed my place of work shows up as a choice.

It is at this point that things start to go wrong. As Aaron noted in his post, he couldn't get past this screen. I had the benefit of looking at the EBSCOadmin configuration for my place of work, and unfortunately that still didn't help. What we get is this rather unhelpful, generic EBSCOhost login. Even though our consortial configuration in EBSCOadmin is set to use our EZproxy server to authenticate users, we still get this generic login prompt. The EBSCO Support knowledge bank entry for How do I set up EBSCOhost Connection? describes an authentication setting: - "From the drop-down list, select the method of authentication you want to use: User ID/Password, CPID, or Patron ID." The problem is that I don't want to use any of those. I want to send our users through our proxy server and EBSCOhost Connect seems to be ignoring the proxy profile setting, and that option isn't even listed in the documentation.

This might be worth a call to EBSCO to clear up, but frankly if it has taken this long for me to stumble across one of these Google search hits I'm not sure how often our users actually get this far. I'll probably put that call on the "if-I-have-nothing-else-better-to-do" list, and if I ever get to it or this somehow magically gets resolved, I'll post an update on this blog post. Thanks for listening.