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The Alternatives feature: What does it do?
The Alternatives feature: What does it do?

Learn about what The Alternatives feature is and what it does for you

Daniel Horvath avatar
Written by Daniel Horvath
Updated over a week ago

What is The Alternatives feature?

The Alternatives feature helps patrons to access digital resources easily in alternative ways. This feature consists of three ways of accessing resources:

Article Alternatives

When a patron wants to open an article on a publisher's website, it might be that the library does not have a license with this publisher. However, if the library has the license to access this article at a different publisher website, Lean Library extension will notify the user of the location of the licensed article.

For example, when a user is trying to read an article at Jstor, but the library only has the license for this article at Wiley, the library can notify the user with a direct link to the licensed article at Wiley.

In this case, the patron would see a pop-up similar to this:

eBook Alternatives

Similar to Article Alternatives, when you are trying to access an eBook but it is not available at the publisher website, Lean Library extension will identify one or multiple ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) on the page and notify if the patron can access the full-text at an alternative location.

For example, when a patron is looking for a specific book on Amazon for which their institution has license to it at EBSCO, the extension will display a pop up with a direct link to the location in license. 

In this case, the patron would see a pop up similar to this:

Print book Alternatives

If your library has been set up to look for print books, then you will also see Check for Print in the pop-up (see the image below).

This means, that if you would like to look for a print copy at your library, please click the link, and you will then be taken to your library discovery to search for an available print copy of the book.

Open Access Article Alternatives

When a user wants to open an article that is not licensed by the library, the extension will then look for a possible legal Open Access version for that article, then notify the user of the location of the Open Access article.

For example, when a user is on an article at Elsevier, which is not licensed by the library, the library can notify the user with a direct link to an Open Access version on ESR Journal.

In this case, the end user would see a pop up similar to this:

Open Access eBooks Alternatives

Lean Library has integrated with the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), which is managed by the OAPEN Foundation. This is one of the largest open access data repositories for open access book content.

When researching and arriving at a print book website, the extension will run a search of the ISBN against DOAB database. If there is an open access version of the book with DOAB, the extension will show a pop-up like below.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) / Document Delivery System (DDS)

This is an optional setting and is managed by the library. If the library has ILL service available to their patrons, this will be the last step in the Alternatives feature.

When a patron is on an article that is not available in either the library holdings or Open Access database, an Interlibrary Loan system/Document Delivery System (DDS) pop-up will appear where the patron can click the direct link and submit the request.

In this case, the end user would see a pop up similar to this:

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