Whoa! New L’Annee Interface

April 13, 2010

Forgive me for channeling Keanu Reeves in the header, but that was, verbatim, my response when I clicked into L’Annee Philologique (link for UGA users only) on Friday for the first time in a couple of weeks, and found they had implemented a new user interface. (The Classics bibliographer at UGA was also unaware a change was coming, and I haven’t seen discussion of the change on my Classics librarian list-servs, but even so I was left feeling a bit “why didn’t I know? I should know these things!”)

When I regained my powers of speech, I explored a bit and found it is a greatly improved new user interface; hurrah!  The intro page features a Quick Search box, with a drop-down menu offering the choices of Modern Author, Full Text (still equaling ‘full text of the citation’), Ancient Authors and Texts, Subjects and Disciplines Prior to Volume 67, and Subjects and Disciplines After Volume 67.  As the options show, the fundamental searchable categories are unchanged.  New is the option to change the sort order of results – by Author, Title, Date (both ways), and Relevance (not clearly defined.) The main page also invites the user to create a free login, which allows some limited customization of search preferences, and the ability to save both searches and records. (Click image to enlarge.)

l'annee philologique main page

The Advanced Search page is even better, with multiple search boxes allowing the easy creation of a complex search using Boolean (AND/OR/NOT) language, a process that took multiple, painful steps in the old interface.  Also streamlined is the ability to filter the search by language and date, a boon for undergraduates daunted by languages other than English.  A minor quibble: it is a bit annoying that entering a keyword in one of the boxes, and then realizing the field name needs to be changed from the default to “Full Text” makes the keyword entered disappear. (Click image to enlarge.)

l'annee philologique advanced search

There are still hurdles for novices seeking to learn how to use L’Annee, such as the complex structure of the Subjects and Disciplines fields, and the hidden button (labeled, inscrutably to most users, “SFX”) to search the UGA e-journals for full text of an article online.  But the learning curve is substantially lessened with this step forward.  I only wish the changeover had occurred at a slightly different time; at UGA we are in the final rush to the end of the spring semester, and many students are deeply into term papers, and I showed them all how to use  the old L’Annee interface when I visited classes earlier in the semester! (Click image to enlarge).

l'annee philologique results


  1. Thanks for pointing this out. Not too long ago I was cursing the clunkiness of the old site — hopefully this will be an improvement!

  2. “Classics Librarian list-serves”? Which ones do you listen in on?

    As far as I know the first public notice of the new L’Année interface was on Wednesday of this week


  3. Hi Chuck, your post was the first official announcement I saw, but the actual interface was live for us (at UGA, at least) on April 9!

    My ‘Classics librarian’ list-servs – I do mean to write a post on this – are currently:
    -Consortium of Hellenic Studies Librarians (http://lists.fas.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/cohsl-list)
    -WESSlist and WESS-CML (http://wess.lib.byu.edu/index.php/WESS_Discussion_Groups#WESSList)
    -Forum for Classics, Libraries, and Scholarly Communication (http://library.nyu.edu/fclsc/)

    None are very high-traffic!

  4. […] June 4, 2010 Here’s a link to a first draft of a tutorial for the new interface to L’Annee.  I’ll be teaching the interface to a class (UGA’s Summer Classics Institute students) […]

  5. I am the Classics Librarian at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Angus Smith, one of our Classics faculty, referred me to your site.

    Perhaps I am missing something but, as far as I can see, L’Annee STILL is unable to handle a “complex” search incorporating both AND and OR e.g. Women and (Greece or Greek). Page 11 of thier new User Guide would seem to confirm this. In other words we still have to do Q1 and Q2 ….

    And thanks for being there! I am somewhat new to Classics and there have been times that I have been desperate to get a second opinion or to learn more about what other Classics Librarians were doing! I now plan to spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the Classics listserves.

  6. Nice to meet you, Daryl Ann. I think you are right, the new Advanced Search in L’Annee cannot handle nested Boolean searching, so Q1 and Q2 are still there waiting for us for that. But it’s a step forward be able to do Homer AND Aphrodite in one search…

    • The challenge will be how to alert students to the problem. With the old interface the student KNEW before they even started that they had a problem. The new Advanced Search interface LOOKS deceptively like all other search interfaces such as Academic Search Premier so they are lulled into complacency … and then have no idea why they are getting such odd results. I wish that they had at least pointed more clearly to the necessity of going to “History.” Not too many students are going to make it to Page 11 of the User Guide 🙂

  7. […] used, and by whom.  I was rather surprised when the new interface debuted a couple of springs ago, and nobody seemed to notice for several weeks, suggesting that the average Classics scholar does not use L’Annee every day, or even every […]

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