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Springer Protocols

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Springer Protocols is an online database of protocols (methods) for scientists to use in the laboratory. Each new protocol is a chapter from one of the books in the popular Methods in Molecular Biology, Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Neuromethods series. While Springer Protocols is a collection of electronic book content, Springer Nature emphasizes this product as a working and searchable protocols database. The content is high-quality and written by experts in their fields, but the inclusion of all editions of each book means that some of the protocols date back as far as 1984.

There are multiple ways to access the content of Springer Protocols. It has its own interface, which has not been updated since 2008, and a new Springer Nature Experiments interface that lets one search the content along with content from a free protocols exchange and from two journals, Nature Methods and Nature Protocols. The new search interface is more contemporary and uses some newer indexing and an ontology designed to return more relevant search results. Libraries that don’t subscribe to all three products, however, will have users returning results for which they cannot get to full text. While the newer interface performs better in some ways, it still lacks some functionality to help users identify the most relevant and most up-to-date protocols out of the huge number of protocols included. Concerns about this were pointed out in both my 2008 and 2017 reviews of this product on its older platform. Even on the newer platform the product suffers from simultaneously trying to be an e-book archive as well as a current working tool. Librarians will appreciate the option of being able to own the content, and scientists will successfully find useful protocols using this product, but, as a functional tool for finding current laboratory protocols, it could be better.

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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