The other day a result from EBSCOhost Connection appeared in one of my searches. This was a first for me. I was initially very excited (Library resources! On the open web!) but this feeling soon faded into that special Yeah-I’m-using-library-resources malaise.


First, I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of EBSCOhost Connection. Attempting to learn more, a Google search returned 15 results including a Web4lib post from 2006.

I wasn’t particularly interested in the article returned to me but wanted to look at it as a proof of concept so I clicked though. As expected I was presented with the article’s abstract and further action was needed to get to the full text. I assume that if I was in a library and my IP was authenticated the article would have been right there, but since I wasn’t I needed to search for my library to log in.

Problem. My library, Multnomah County, wasn’t listed even though it provides me with access to EBSCOhost through their website.

EBSCOhost Connection-2Note the “Library Sponsored Research Content” seal of approval

Having worked in an Oregon library I happen to know that the state library provides this particular database to libraries in Oregon and that’s probably why MCL wasn’t listed. No one outside of the library field would know this. Would they think to click on the “Oregon State Library?”

Since I did I eventually got to a login box. I tried to use my MCL credentials to login but they didn’t work. I had been defeated by the system and had no other options.

Here’s where we could start assigning blame. Who is responsible for this situation? Our profession for giving money to vendors providing stuff like this? EBSCOhost for not conducting effective user testing or even heuristic evaluations? I dunno. Both? Whatever the case it boils down to this:

We should be ashamed for putting (potential) library users through these experiences.


P.S. I found the article quite easily searching EBSCOHost’s MasterFILE Premier through the Multonomah County Library website. Here’s the permalink they provided. Can you login and see the article with your barcode and PIN? I could not.