Frustration Trumps Utility: SORA Fails to Live Up to Potential
Contents of the following ornithological journals (and years) are available in searchable and browseable formats:
Auk (1884-1999)Contents of the following journals (and years) are available in browseable formats only:
Journal of Field Ornithology (1930-1999)
North American Bird Bander (1976-2000)
Pacific Coast Avifauna (1900-1974)
Studies in Avian Biology (1978-1999)
Wilson Bulletin (1889-1999)
California Birds/Western Birds (1970-2004)SORA is of inestimable potential value in that it promises to make available on every ornithologist’s computer desktops a healthy percentage of the published scientific literature on North American birds of the last 120 years. Thus far, however, it has failed to deliver on its promise.
Ornithological Monographs (1964-2005)
Ornitologia Neotropical (1990-2002)
In my experience, the potential utility of SORA is all-too-often trumped by the frustration experienced in trying to download literature from the database. Time after time in the past year I have tried to download PDF files (from three different PCs) only to have the browser lock up part way through the download.
I don’t recall having this problem with SORA when it initially came online. In fact, I used it successfully to search, view, download, and print literally dozens of historical documents for a project that I was working on two years ago. This download problem is something that has just cropped a little more than a year ago. The administrators at SORA are acutely aware of the problem. In fact, the Help section of their Web site notes that "Another common problem [when attempting to view Adobe Acrobat files] is for a file to begin downloading, but lock up before completing the download." (emphasis added)
I have downloaded hundreds of PDF documents from dozens of Web sites and don’t recall ever having a file lock up in the middle of downloading. In my experience, that is a circumstance unique to SORA, where it has become a frequent (even expected) occurrence. I just wish that SORA and its collaborative partners would work together to fix this problem so that SORA's potential as an invaluable online resource to ornithologists and other avian researchers could be fully realized.
Are there others out there who are experiencing the same frustrations? If you've found a solution to this problem, I'd appreciate it if you would share it with me!