A catalyst to usage

As an information professional, your mission is to ensure that your patrons are accessing and using the most accurate and reliable resources to enable them to succeed in their research.

You also want them to find the answers they need in the most seamless and direct routes possible. Frustrated researchers, professors and students likely take their aggravation out on you…so keeping them happy with their research experience is fundamental to their satisfaction and success – and yours.

A new feature in Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform called Topics, gives you a state-of-the-art solution to streamline the research workflow for your patrons.

Whether researching in search engines such as Google or reading in ScienceDirect, it allows them to quickly and efficiently access authoritative, reliable and citable foundational content from Elsevier books and reference works that previously was buried and not easily discovered.

They gain critical comprehensive and contextually relevant knowledge not available in search engines or journal articles previously. This is where ScienceDirect Topics makes the difference in the usage of your collection.

The topic pages contain key contextual information taken from reference books, including definitions, snippets and related terms to provide a reliable overview of a topic.

Structure of a topic page

Click on the image above to see the detail or:
View example topic page on ScienceDirect

Journals + Books = The Best of Both Worlds

Books are an essential part of the research journey. While the most up to date and primary starting point of scientific research is often a journal article, journals are not able to provide the breadth or depth found in books. Books can offer contextual, broad overviews and comprehensive coverage of theories or approaches that aren’t available in the more intensely focused format of journal articles. However, because current search tools and workflows are restricted, book content does not easily enter the conscious research process. The contextual information that researchers need from books is buried. Empowered by the enhancement of ScienceDirect through the Topics feature, researchers can now seamlessly receive the most relevant foundational content from books right within their active research journey alongside the latest results in journals to improve reading comprehension and data interpretation. By ensuring that book and journal assets can be used together - co-used - ScienceDirect Topics increases the value of both offerings.

If your patrons have been using ScienceDirect to access both journals and books, they may not realize that they are moving back and forth between journal articles and book content as they conduct their research. They aren’t necessarily paying attention to where the information they need is located; they just want to get to it and move on through the process. This co-usage may be unintentional or unnoticed on their part, but as a librarian, it is something you both recognize and want to facilitate to improve their experience and leverage the value of your investment.

Now when a user accesses a journal article in the latest version of ScienceDirect, he or she will immediately see hyperlinks from complex terms to the new topic pages containing related book or reference content. The valuable but hidden benefit of books is finally revealed. A topic page and the journal article are both viewable at the same time, allowing the researcher to easily find the contextual overview they need. With the new options available via ScienceDirect Topics, your patrons will be seeing previously undiscovered information right when and where it’s needed in their research workflow.

Extracted from book chapters and surfaced for relevancy, the short snippets on the topic pages – with citations included - save time for users wanting a quick definition or a bit of extra clarification. But that’s only the beginning. Links at the end of the snippets take subscribers to full book chapters, leading them to even more complete co-usage. This is where your patrons will delve deeper into the books and reference works in your collection, for content related to their own specialty or to that in other disciplines. Topic pages also feature related terms, linking to additional topic pages, to drive serendipity in the research process.

ScienceDirect Topics Reveals True Demand – And a Better Path to Discovery

Accessing book and reference content using ScienceDirect Topics enhances journal workflow fulfills user needs and increases the return on your investment. In addition, by revealing essential content that was previously untapped due to functionality limitations, this new tool provides you with a more thorough understanding of user behavior – and the true demand for books and reference works. Many available literature search tools often don’t give you that understanding. They don’t reveal the paths researchers want to take, the topics that might expand their understanding, or the vital, but often hidden, contextual sources necessary to foster and speed up learning. These tools don’t create paths that guide researchers to the sources they need, when they need them. And when researchers don’t arrive at those necessary sources, you never receive data on what those sources might be.

The technology employed in ScienceDirect Topics uncovers the masked demand, demonstrating that your patrons need a specific mix of resources – journals, books and reference works – to successfully conduct research, teach or master their coursework. It anticipates relevant key topics that act as bridges between journal articles and credible interdisciplinary contextual literature. Meanwhile, you receive data on researcher behavior—such as the popularity of a given topic, chapter or book—so you can curate your knowledge base to fill the connective gaps your patrons need. ScienceDirect Topics enables you to set your users on a better path to discovery.

Driving Smarter Decision-Making

As a librarian, you are the researcher’s guide. You help those who seek knowledge navigate through the tangled mass of literature search. But traditional search workflows are weak  in their ability to guide researchers to the necessary sources, especially the fundamental, comprehensive knowledge provided by books. When every decision you make can expand or limit a researcher’s opportunities, ScienceDirect Topics can ensure you have the most complete picture of researchers’ needs in order to make the right choices. The value of books has never been more evident to you – or your patrons.