This post was contributed by Jeanne Hoover at East Carolina University.
What is the ACI Scholarly Blog Index?
The Scholarly Blog Index is a new tool developed by the ACI Information Group which is a company that gathers social media and blog information. The Scholarly Blog Index is exactly as its name suggests: an index of curated blogs written by scholars in their field. The blogs that are indexed in the database are reviewed for content prior to being added. The blogs are a combination of full-text and abstracts. In order for ACI to add the full-text of the blog, they require that the author give permission. The blogs that are not full-text will have an abstract with a link to the blog website. Blog entries also have a copyright notice within the record. Users can save, export, and cite articles of interest in their searching. The ACI Scholarly Blog Index can be added to discovery tools like Summon, Worldcat, Primo, and EBSCO. Institutions will get a personalized domain for the database (ex. YourInstitutionName.aci.info).
A few features of interest included in author profiles are RSS feed for new posts, a mobile app, and the ability to recommend blogs. Author profiles can be verified by authors and contain information like job title, education, employer, ORCID ID, and recent journal articles. Authors included in the database will receive an email asking them to review their author profile and verify that the information is correct. Additionally, author profiles can be tied to social media accounts, like Twitter and LinkedIn. The profiles are linked to the author’s blog and it updates the blog links as they are harvested. Currently, there are blogs covering most subject areas, with the highest concentrations in medicine, business/economics, and law.
How can librarians and researchers use the Index?
Libraries are including the database in both their instruction and research. A librarian at Northeastern is using it in an intensive writing course to review communication across disciplines (for example, communication in the sciences). This is a great way to utilize the database and it could easily be incorporated in subject-related communication or English courses. Additionally, a researcher used the index to locate researchers in other countries who were researching similar topics. These are just a few examples of how it is being used.
This is a unique resource that could be helpful for various classes and researchers. It may be challenging to make it clear to students that the blog articles are not research articles, especially if they show up in discovery tools. However, this situation could be remedied by introducing the database to freshman through an intro to college course and/or English compostion.
Interested in trying the Index at your institution?
Subscriptions are for one or two years and they are based on FTE student enrollment. There is an ASERL consortium discount currently being offered. Additionally, there is a 10% discount for new subscribers that can be used in addition to the ASERL discount. These discounts will expire in December so please contact the company soon if you are interested in a trial.