Working on Your Behalf—A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the APA–Vendor Relationship
The PsycINFO Product Development Group supports a variety of roles at APA. Most people know Product Development as the team responsible for delivering new features and functionality to the APA databases. One of the roles involves acting as APA's liaison with the delivery platform providers (vendors) of APA databases.
APA's Vendor Relationship
The Product Development Group collaborates with the vendors to ensure the functionality, quality, and appearance of the APA databases on all of the current delivery platforms: DataStar, Dialog, DIMDI, EBSCOhost, Elsevier Science/Science Direct, Hogrefe Publishing Group, OCLC, OvidSP, and ProQuest/CSA Illumina. The services they provide include ongoing support and annual reloads.
At every stage of the record production process, from acquisition and accessioning to transfer and release, PsycINFO staff and our programmatic tools are working to ensure the quality of the data captured in records and released to customers. Continuous communication and collaboration with vendors and customers is part of the way that APA databases are effectively delivered and enhanced.
Those tasks include
- coordinating delivery of the metadata records and corresponding full text
- posting XML files to vendor FTP sites
- corresponding with vendor partners about data delivery
- ensuring that updates and corrections to APA databases are delivered and uploaded
- responding to user feedback about database content and quality
The Product Development Group also works year round toward the annual reload, which is a key part of improving the quality of PsycINFO.
Tasks required to produce the reload are
- providing technical specifications to the vendors about display
- upgrading, including new data fields
- expanding field values
- providing formatting changes
- incorporating changes to improve search functionality
In addition, because the metadata from PsycINFO® are used for PsycARTICLES®, PsycBOOKS®, and PsycCRITIQUES®, a change in the PsycINFO record structure also can affect these databases. Upgrades to APA PsycNET, APA's own platform, are also sometimes carried out at the time of the reload.
After the vendors reload the databases, part of the Product Development Group's ongoing responsibility is to test and evaluate reload data and provide feedback to the vendors to ensure that the new enhancements are fully accessible to users.
Product Development and Your Role
As the Product Development Group's name indicates, product development is an ongoing and essential part of its mission. We turn to you for your thoughts on what you'd like to see from APA.
For example, last year at the request of a number of librarians, we introduced the APA Books® E-Collections, scholarly and professional books that are available for purchase by copyright year.
One of the products that has been requested that is currently in development is a PsycTESTS® database.
If you have a problem, a question, or a suggestion, please let us know so we can work together toward improving our information resources.
Meet Your Vendor Relations Specialist
Last spring the Product Development Team welcomed Clara Ruttenberg as the new Vendor Relations Specialist.
She received her MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin and brings to APA over thirteen years of experience as a librarian in both federal and academic libraries. Clara has spent much of that time working with integrated library systems, link resolvers, and electronic resources.
She is currently a member of NISO's Working Group for the CORE Protocol (Cost of Research Exchange) and also an active member of LITA (Library and Information Technology Association), which is a division of the American Library Association.