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Documents missing from the ERIC database

September 25, 2012

Please note, before you read further, that ERIC contains citations to both documents and journals. This post concerns only the documents.

In August the Department of Education, which is responsible for the ERIC database, disabled access to the fulltext content of ERIC documents. The fulltext icon remains in the citation, it just doesn’t work. This is a temporary move. Their concern was that some of the documents contained information that has potential for abuse.

Let us explain. ERIC includes locally produced guidelines, handbooks and case studies going back to 1966. At that time laws regarding privacy were less stringent. Furthermore the documents were published on microfiche which limited access to the information. However, the Department is digitizing the documents, making the content search-able and increasing the risk that the personally identifiable information might be abused.

Each document is being examined and access restored whenever possible. We have received word that about 20,000 documents out of 340,000 are now available online.

This is likely to be a long process! To be responsive to the needs of students and researchers, the Department of Education has established a “request line” — ERICRequests@ed.gov. If you need a particular document, email the document number (it looks like ED######) to this address and it will be put in the priority queue for early release. We don’t know how quickly a requested item can be reviewed and returned to the database.

If you are experiencing any difficulty with this or just have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Baker Library staff by phone, email, chat or text. See the library website for details.

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