Abstracts Vol. 50, No. 3


Exploring the Potential of a Virtual Undergraduate Library Collection Based on the Hierarchical Interface to LC Classification

Adam Chandler and Jim LeBlanc

The Hierarchical Interface to Library of Congress Classification (HILCC) is a system developed by the Columbia University Library to leverage call number data from the MARC holdings records in Columbia’s online catalog to create a structured, hierarchical menuing system that provides subject access to the library’s electronic resources. In this paper, the authors describe a research initiative at the Cornell University Library to discover if the Columbia HILCC scheme can be used as developed or in modified form to create a virtual undergraduate print collection outside the context of the traditional online catalog. Their results indicate that, with certain adjustments, an HILCC model can indeed, be used to represent the holdings of a large research library’s undergraduate collection of approximately 150,000 titles, but that such a model is not infinitely scalable and may require a new approach to browsing such a large information space.

NACO Normalization:
A Detailed Examination of the Authority File Comparison Rules

Thomas B. Hickey, Jenny Toves, and Edward T. O’Neill

Normalization rules are essential for interoperability between bibliographic systems. In the process of working with Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) authority files to match records with Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and developing the Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST) subject heading schema, the authors found inconsistencies in independently created NACO normalization implementations. Investigating these, the authors found ambiguities in the NACO standard that need resolution, and came to conclusions on how the procedure could be simplified with little impact on matching headings. To encourage others to test their software for compliance with the current rules, the authors have established a Web site that has test files and interactive services showing their current implementation.

ARL Library Catalog Department Web Sites:
An Evaluative Study

Kavita Mundle, Harvey Huie, and Nirmala S. Bangalore

User-friendly and content-rich Web sites are indispensable for any knowledge-based organization. Web site evaluation studies point to ways to improve the efficiency and usability of Web sites. Library catalog or technical services department Web sites have proliferated in the past few years, but there is no systematic and accepted method that evaluates the performance of these Web sites. An earlier study by Mundle, Zhao, and Bangalore evaluated catalog department Web sites within the consortium of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) libraries, proposed a model to assess these Web sites, and recommended desirable features for them. The present study was undertaken to test the model further and to assess the recommended features. The study evaluated the catalog department Web sites of Association of Research Libraries members. It validated the model proposed, and confirmed the use of the performance index (PI) as an objective measure to assess the usability or workability of a catalog department Web site. The model advocates using a PI of 1.5 as the benchmark for catalog department Web site evaluation by employing the study tool and scoring method suggested in this paper.

Cataloging and Digitizing Ephemera:
One Team’s Experience with Pennsylvania German Broadsides and Fraktur

Ann Copeland, Susan Hamburger, John Hamilton, and Kenneth J. Robinson

The growing interest in ephemera collections within libraries will necessitate the bibliographic control of materials that do not easily fall into traditional categories. This paper discusses the many challenges confronting catalogers when approaching a mixed collection of unique materials of an ephemeral nature. Based on their experience cataloging a collection of Pennsylvania German broadsides and Fraktur at the Pennsylvania State University, the authors describe the process of deciphering handwriting, preserving genealogical information, deciding on cataloging approaches at the format and field level, and furthering access to the materials through digitization and the Encoded Archival Description finding aid. Observations are made on expanding the skills of traditional book catalogers to include manuscript cataloging, and on project management.

The Condition of Our “Hidden” Rare Book Collections:
A Conservation Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jennifer Hain Teper and Sarah M. Erekson

In response to the Association of Research Libraries’ Special Collections Task Force’s interest in “hidden” special collection materials, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Conservation Unit undertook a conservation needs survey of the Rare Book and Special Collections Library’s backlog of uncataloged rare book materials. The survey evaluated the binding structure; physical, biological, and chemical damage; and unique features of more than 4,000 randomly sampled pieces from the collection. The information gathered would aid in planning for the integration of immediate preservation actions with future cataloging projects and to better direct future conservation efforts. This paper details the development of the survey, interprets the results, and suggests methodologies for assessing other rare collections as well as approaches to integrating the identified immediate preservation needs with cataloging and processing projects.