An e-journal embargo can be defined as the elapsed period of time between a journal article's publication and its availability through an online interface. The presence of an embargo affects whether or not an article is accessible to the end user requesting it, so SFX keeps track of embargo periods as part of its threshold information. Sometimes SFX faces a situation in which it cannot accurately calculate whether the full text of an embargoed article will be available to the end user. It is in these ambiguous situations that SFX's embargo behavior has changed.
These uncertain thresholds are little perfect storms created when insufficient metadata in the OpenURL meets an embargo period calculated in months or days. Formerly, SFX behaved very conservatively when faced with these little storms, always assuming that full text was not available and so not offering a full text link in the Services Menu. This behavior, while safe, could and did result in false negatives - occasions when the end user was not offered a full text link for a requested article even though full text was available.
Since the application of a recent service pack, SFX has effectively loosened its tie with respect to these ambiguous situations. Now, facing an embargo period while lacking sufficient metadata, SFX will behave as if full text is available and will offer the full text link. This new behavior will inevitably result in false positives - occasions when a full text link is offered even though no full text is available. There are, however, some new tools available to mitigate users' confusion caused by false positive links.
The first tool we now have is the ability to display a message within the Services Menu when SFX is offering a full text link under these ambiguous conditions. We also have the option of displaying an icon that users can hover over for more information about embargos. I'm working on replacing the stock icon with an image that blends in better with the current look of the Get It menu. If necessary, the message and hover text also can be edited. This screenshot shows a test Get It menu displaying the message, the icon, and the hover text:
The second tool is the ability to display the interlibrary loan link in the same menu as a potentially false full text link ("We'll try to get it for you" in the test menu above). Ordinarily, this is not possible - the presence of a reliable full text link suppresses the presence of the interlibrary loan link. Since in these uncertain situations there is the possibility that the full text link will not lead to full text, the user also needs access to ILL.
While the new embargo behavior is in production, the message, icon, and ILL link are not (yet). Since we are already experiencing the potential for false positive full text article-level links it makes sense to me that we take advantage of the available tools to mitigate their effects. However, your feedback is important. Please let me know what you think of these possible additions to the Get It menu.