A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

New Product News May/June 2014

by Heather Teysko and Tanya Novak on July 8, 2014

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale looked at the various acquisition models in the market and concluded that people pay attention to usage. We want to know if our purchases are being used, so in November 2013 Gale introduced a new usage-driven acquisition model for its Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). How it works: a library puts down a minimum deposit of $5,000 for six months. During those six months the library has unlimited access to all of Gale’s imprints in the GVRL. To access the titles, Gale provides the library with a link and a widget that the library puts on its website. If a library already subscribes to GVRL or has titles from GVRL, they are included in this link.

Gale will track the usage for those six months. Every couple of months Gale will check in with the library and is able to assist in promoting usage by sharing tips and best practices. The library is also able to create subcollections that can be listed in those specific areas of the library’s website. Gale defines usage as the number of retrievals. A patron would need to click on a title and open it.

After the six-month period, Gale provides the library with a list of the most used titles. The library has one week to review the list and is able to swap out titles. After one week, the funds are applied to those titles and the library owns them. They are delivered onto the GVRL platform, where they can be viewed or downloaded in HTML and PDF form. Should the library’s usage not meet the deposit amount, the funds are not returned to the library but can be used on other Gale products. Gale will work with each customer for a solution that meets their needs.

U.S. Political Stats

Finding statistics, let alone reliable sources for them, can be a challenge, making U.S. Political Stats a welcome resource. U.S. Political Stats is a new database still in beta from CQ Press that provides data on Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidency. The data is gathered from various sources making statistical research a little easier and even fun.

The interface is simple and clean. The user can search by keyword or advanced search and browse by data, people, policy, and location.

There are nineteen policy topics ranging from agriculture and nutrition to labor and employment and there are ten data categories:

  1. Biographical data on members of Congress, presidents, and Supreme Court justices
  2. Campaign finance records for federal candidates
  3. Demographics
  4. Economic indicators
  5. General, special, and primary election results from 1984 to the present
  6. Roll call tallies for all congressional floor votes from 1983 to the present
  7. Interest group scores for members of Congress
  8. Presidential performance indicators
  9. Supreme court cases from 1983 to the present
  10. Voting scores for members of Congress, analyzing legislative voting patterns

The beauty of the database is the ability to visualize and easily compare data. For example, I searched for the voting scores of Barbara Boxer. My results showed her 2012 scores in a bar graph, however I had the option to view the data as a table. There is a timeline where I can select a year to see her voting scores over time. I have the ability to compare her voting record, I can find related information if there is any, and I can find the source of the data.

Once I find my data I can choose my citation style then I can email and export my results, and exported graphics will include the citation.

The data is pulled from various sources, including governmental, non-governmental, and proprietary data sources.

The product includes data published from 1983 to present, and is updated when new data is made available. Some historic data is also available.

Following on the heels of U.S. Political Stats, CQ Press will launch Local Stats in June 2014, which will provide statistical data on U.S. counties, cities, and metropolitan areas.


There is a new resident in e-book–land: Digitalia, which provides Spanish-language materials to libraries from numerous publishers in topics including art, political science, technology, and medicine. If you’re looking to provide Spanish language e-books to your patrons, Digitalia might be a good product to consider. Founded in 2007, and featuring publishers from both Spain and Latin America, the company is now making an effort to work with U.S. public libraries. They were in attendance at PLA 2014 in Indianapolis, and have trials going on with several large public libraries.

Digitalia has more than 4,000 e-books and journals, organized into collections, and librarians can either purchase perpetual access to the content they want or subscribe yearly to the full-text content. Prices are based on population served for public libraries, and include MARC records and full usage statistics, and new content is added each month. The content is available on their platform, which is authenticated by IP address, so you may need to have a proxy server to offer remote access. Once a library signs up, the setup time is as little as twenty-four hours during the working week.

One of the subjects is art, which is then broken down to architecture and sculpture (73 titles); arts in general (85 titles); film studies (303 titles); and painting and decorative arts (29 titles). Geography and anthropology has 249 titles broken down into six sub-collections like travel; environmental studies; and folklore and popular culture. History has 1,052 titles and includes histories of Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Political science and law features sub-collections on colonization; emigration and immigration; law; and general political science.

Florida International University (FIU) Libraries recently went live with Digitalia. Digitalia also offer free trials, and have been willing to work out a consortium arrangement with Califa, so if you’re interested in this product, asking your local consortium to work out an agreement with them would probably be a good way to get started. We at Califa haven’t put the offer out to our members yet, since we are still finalizing it, so it will be interesting to see how popular this is in California.

Editorial Oceano

Another Spanish-language resource you may want to consider is the collection of databases from Editorial Oceano. Editorial Oceano is a Spanish-language publisher, and they have created online databases from their content, all of which are fully searchable. Oceano Digital was first created in 1999, and they have databases with topics ranging from health to parenting to encyclopedias. Some examples include:

  • Oceano Escolar has 73,000+ reference articles for students including math, science, arts, world maps, timelines, and study methods. Offers general reference help for students who are studying for basic exams and doing basic school work.
  • Oceano Administracion is a resource center that provides access to content on economics and business management. Designed specifically for students in economics or finance, or professionals in business and economics.
  • Oceano Aula de Padres has 20,000+ articles on parenting, including reference information on the education and well being of children. Also offers images on anatomy. Specifically designed for parents and caregivers.
  • Colegial, designed for public libraries, offers general reference information from 200,000+ articles and 40,000+ images. Includes historical documents, maps, images, news, timelines, and journal articles. It is a general reference database for Spanish-speaking patrons.
  • Medicina y Salud is designed for nursing and medical students, as well as patients, and contains more than 25,000 articles and 50,000 images. Includes a medical dictionary in Spanish, patient information for those researching treatments, and general health articles.

Pricing is by population served, and Editorial Oceano also works with Califa, so they are agreeable to consortial arrangements.