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veritas Harvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1325 May 2005

Harvard University Library Notes / November 2005 / No. 1328

E-Research Update:
Beta Site for Screen Readers Goes Live

E-Research @ Harvard Libraries will be enhanced by the first of December to include a new beta site that is "screen-reader enabled." This new site more closely replicates the functionality of MetaLib for users of screen-reader software and will be easily accessible from the E-Research homepage located at http://e-research.lib.harvard.edu and from the Harvard Libraries web site at http://lib.harvard.edu. Functionality in the screen-reader interface will include: "Quick Search," "Find E-Resources," "Find E-Journals," and the "My Research" basket.

In addition to the new beta site, Harvard Libraries will continue to offer access to the temporary screen-reader site based on the portal's former e-resources menu at http://lib.harvard.edu/screen_reader through the end of the fall semester. Provided that the new beta site is as successful as tests indicate, it will replace the old portal e-resources menu at the beginning of the spring semester, providing screen-reader users with much-improved tools for conducting e-research.

One important feature of the new site is that the screen-reader interface to E-Research can be set up as a display preference for users with a visual impairment so that, following initial setup, users will always be sent to the screen-reader interface after logging in. Both the E-Research site and the new beta screen-reader site provide access to the constantly updated database of e-resources and e-journals available to the Harvard community. On the new beta site, users of screen readers will require assistance in creating personal sets of e-resources and moving citations to various folders. Once these folders and e-resource sets are established, users will then be able to access citations in the folders and search the personal sets of e-resources along with library sets in the Quick Search function. Some of the cross-search functionality and the Search History/Saved Searches features of E-Research will initially not be provided through the screen-reader interface.

According to the Ex Libris company, the next release of the MetaLib software, which is scheduled to be available at Harvard in the summer of 2006, will be fully compatible with screen-reading software. In the interim, OIS staff have worked independently of Ex Libris to ensure screen-reader-enabled access to E-Research tools.

Members of the Public Services Committee, along with the MetaLib Working Group, have been working closely with OIS to make continuous improvements to the E-Research web site and to ensure that E-Research tools are available to all library users. The Harvard Libraries web site includes a list of library staff members who can assist users with both screen-reader alternatives, at http://lib.harvard.edu/screen_reader.

For questions on the new interface, contact Amira Aaron in OIS at 5-3724 or amira_aaron@harvard.edu.

 

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