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Thursday, 1 October 2009

BSOL finally gets its facelift

The British Standards Online database got its well overdue upgrade last weekend and now looks a little something like this:

BSOL

I already like the look of this a lot more... mainly because the dreadful radio buttons have vanished and the search box split (unless you use the slightly unnecessary 'Quick Search' feature on the top- right of the full  browser window [not shown in image], which includes another search box with drop-down menu to switch between number and keyword).

The basic search screen now offers a much clearer either/or option when it comes to conducting your search strategy. If you're searching for a standard number use the top box, if you're searching by keywords use the bottom box - no need to select any options anymore - and simply click 'Go'.

There are extra options on the Advanced Search screen such as publication date and update type to restrict your search but these are nothing new, just clearer and more visibly pleasing than the old options. It's handy that the page includes search tips down the left-hand side of the screen too!

You'll also notice from the much improved look of the database that it is a lot easier to read your search output! The image (click to enlarge) below is a selection of a screen grab illustrating the results for a simple 'BS 9111' search. Without having to do anything else you're immediately able to review the standard's title, inclusion in our subscription, its status and publication date. From here you may want to click the 'View details' option for its full bibliographic data or instead select 'open document' to begin downloading.

BSOL - Results

Items not included in our subscription are generally older standards that have had a 'withdrawn' status for a while and so if you have any problems accessing material it's always worth dropping us a line in the library.

I also think it's much easier to refine results using the options on the left-hand navigation slide. Selecting the 'industry sector' may be a particularly useful one.

If you've a number of standards you wish to search BSOL for then make use of the 'My Documents' option. By marking the box next to the standard you're after you can 'add selected to My Documents' for safe keeping until you've finished searching. Using My Documents is a good way to collate your standards for downloading later... i.e. before ending your session but after finishing your searches.

Always remember to access BSOL via MUSE and as always if you've any problems get in touch.

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