Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A bone to pick with Oxford Reference

Dear Oxford University Press,

I am a long time consumer of your sources. As a humanities librarian with generalist responsibilities at a large academic/public library reference desk, I rely on your high quality reference sources to help students and patrons quickly identify facets of a topic and find reliable bibliographies. I have been an avid user of print reference sources and have enjoyed using the previous version of the product called Oxford Reference Online Premium. I have some thoughts on how the current Oxford Reference might recapture some of the usability of its previous incarnation, but the very first thing that needs to go is your advice under the Availability section of the Search Results: Buy with Google Wallet. Please see the picture below.

As one of my former interns would say, "This is NOT okay."

Librarians involved with instruction often include engage students in discussing criteria for evaluating the credibility of a source. One of those frequently being, "beware any source that is trying to sell you something."

Well then, how to explain the appearance of Google Wallet on the front page of a source to which my University subscribes? While I always include in my library instruction sessions the necessity of consulting our Library Catalog to see if a source is available in print, I now find that I have to give that additional emphasis so that students aren't lead to assume they are going to need to make a personal payment to you to find scholarly content. Google Wallet indeed.

As a publisher, you have a reputation of authority. Why you feel the need to direct people searching your database to purchase content with Google Wallet when accessing your site via subscription already is baffling. If you are truly supporting researchers, please investigate a link resolver solution that directs searchers back to their Library Catalog.

I hope I can look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you.


Alice Northover said...

Dear Rebecca Fiend,

Thank you for your message regarding the Google Wallet check box on our Oxford Reference site. Oxford University Press partnered with Google for an experiment with micro-payments for independent researchers. That experiment is coming to a close and we’re in the process of removing this option from the site. For any further questions, please contact your Oxford University Press representative.

Thank you,

Alice Northover
Social Media Manager
Oxford University Press

Rebecca Feind said...

Dear Ms. Northover,

I am so pleased to hear this option will no longer be part of the Oxford Reference site. Thank you very much for writing to me.

Rebecca Feind