IP Australia is the government regulator of intellectual property rights in Australia, specifically of patents, trademarks, designs, and plant breeders’ rights. The IP Australia Library supports the intellectual property examination processes, as well as policy development, by providing employees with access to relevant books, journals, and online resources—including several EBSCOhost Research Databases. In 2011, the Library began subscribing to EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), a robust research platform that provides fast, streamlined access to library resources through a single search box. Now IP Australia’s 400 patent and trademark examiners can more quickly acquire the journal articles and prior art information they need in order to research and process intellectual property rights applications.
Prior to purchasing EDS, the IP Australia Library had a catalog, a small handful of dedicated e-journal titles, and a limited number of electronic legal subscriptions. According to Library Manager Amanda Magnussen, librarians also spent a great deal of time photocopying and scanning materials, turning them into Adobe PDF files, and providing links to users. In addition, the library website on the corporate intranet featured too many points of entry: the catalog on one page, a journal list on another page, and links to databases on still another.
“There was no one-stop shop, and people didn’t realize the tools were there because they were too hard to find,” Magnussen said, adding that it has been difficult to convince the technology department to prioritize the library’s needs. “It took a lot of doing on the part of library staff to get anything done and out there.”
In 2010, in an effort to boost access to the library’s resources and increase its return on investment, Magnussen began evaluating discovery tools. While some of the products she examined did not provide her with the flexibility and the ease of implementation she was seeking, EDS did.
First, EDS was able to integrate SNIPER, the library’s bibliographic database of more than 25,000 journal articles, conference papers, and other documents supporting intellectual property research.
“It was critically important to make our SNIPER abstracting and indexing database work,” Magnussen said, adding that librarians tweaked the database’s MARC record fields to ensure that the content displayed properly in EDS. They were also able to include IP Australia’s new case law tool, an index of individual legal cases that are important to the work of the trademark examination division. “We’re bending the cataloguing rules, but EDS has given us the flexibility to do that.”
Second, to augment its electronic collection, the library added several EBSCOhost Research Databases to its subscription. This content seamlessly integrates with EDS and is presented in a consistent, easy-to-use interface. “It gives us access to much more full text than we had before,” Magnussen said, adding that IP Australia registered its VPN in EBSCOadmin to provide users with remote access. “It was important for employees working from home offices to have access to full text from their desktops, wherever they are.”
Finally, library staff members are able to make changes to EDS without having to involve IP Australia’s busy technology department. Initial customization and branding decisions were made working with EBSCO’s Discovery Solutions Team, and subsequent changes and updates can be made by library staff in EBSCOadmin.
“We’re in a very technology- and security-constrained environment, so things we can take out of the hands of the internal services and do ourselves get us a lot further forward,” Magnussen said, adding that EBSCO has been very responsive to support requests. “What sold us on EDS was the fact that the rep listened really hard to what we had to say about our organization and how the product was to be used. From the very beginning, EDS was much more tailored to meet our needs.”
IP Australia officially launched EDS in May of 2011 during Australian Library and Information Week. “It was a convenient time to tie it in,” Magnussen said. “We did some training sessions. We did a presentation for our executives and senior management. They were all really excited about it, and some of them have become real champions of [our] services.”
Benefits & Results
Since implementing EDS, the Library has been able to better support the organization’s patent and trademark examiners in accessing full text, assembling citation lists, and fulfilling document delivery requests. EBSCO A-to-Z, a web tool that comes with EDS and organizes links to all of a library’s e-resources, has made the document supply process a lot more efficient, Magnussen said.
EDS has also been helpful in prior art searching. “The non-patent literature, the scientific and technical material that the patent examiners are looking at, will tell them what the state of the art was in the field,” Magnussen said. “That’s critically important.”
In addition, by enabling users to run saved searches, set up journal alerts, and share personal folder contents, EDS has improved workflow efficiency and encouraged collaboration among employees. “We now have a one-stop shop instead of bits of stuff scattered all over our Intranet that nobody knew was there,” Magnussen said. “The people who are using EDS are finding it to be a great leap forward from what they had before.”
Finally, the arrival of EDS has helped raise employee awareness about the library and how library staff can help employees complete their work. “We are embedded more within the corporate functions of the organization,” Magnussen said. “[EDS] has been an immeasurable help in terms of raising the library’s profile.”
To learn more about EBSCO Discovery Service, or to request a free trial, click here.
"From the very beginning, EDS was much more tailored to meet our needs."