Information, Technology and Libraries (ITAL), Volume 23, Number 1, March 2004
DIRECT: A Decentralized Image Retrieval System for the National STEM Digital Library
Jinshan Tang, Sridhar R. Avula, and Scott T. Acton
Designing for Experts: How Scholars Approach an Academic Library Web Site
Thura Mack, Maribeth Manoff, Tamara J. Miller, and Anthony D. Smith
Thermal-Transfer Printing: A Better Way to Print Library Labels
Cheryl D. Walters
The Internet was first created as a communications network, but it has produced myriad effects in many sectors of technology, business, and society. Among these important changes are the growth of electronic publishing and the increasing use of the Internet as a medium for disseminating diverse documents, literature, art, journalism, commentary, and miscellaneous expressions of information and thought. Digital media, and the rise of Internet distribution of it, has caused profound changes in librarianship as well .
Eli Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an MLIS student at the School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University.
This paper describes the Decentralized Image Retrieval for Education (DIRECT) service for the National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Digital Library (NSDL). DIRECT augments NSDL by providing content-based image-retrieval (CBIR) functionality. CBIR allows the user to designate a query image so that the service can search the library for images of similar content. DIRECT matches images not by text metadata but by the color or texture of the image objects; the matching process does not depend on a match between the cataloger description and the user description. DIRECT is a peer-to-peer service built for decentralized digital libraries. The content-based image-retrieval service is available to all collections in NSDL without imposing new standards or protocols. With DIRECT, NSDL can support images that have yet to be cataloged or have incomplete metadata without adding overhead (expenditure of additional resources) to the collections.
Editor's note: The full text of this article is available.
Jinshan Tang (email@example.com) is a Research Scientist, Sridhar R. Avula (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Research Assistant, and Scott T. Acton (email@example.com) is the Walter N. Munster Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
This study examines the use of an academic library Web site by experienced researchers and active scholars. It is part of a larger effort to understand how experienced users approach online information resources and how fully the library’s Web site meets their needs. Subjects were asked to complete eight online tasks, beginning each task at the library’s home page. Data were gathered by means of screen- and audio-capture software, and human observers as study participants worked through sets of tasks. Results were analyzed in terms of the experience and expertise of the participants, success rate, and the first click indicating the chosen path to the information requested. Subjects had high success rates for most tasks. Searching for information about journals and locating journal articles proved to be the most difficult tasks to successfully complete. Analysis of session recordings revealed some traits of expert users that can be used to improve Web site design, and indicated a correlation between success in searching and the double-expertise of subject knowledge combined with frequent use of the library’s Web site.
Editor's note: The full text of this article is available.
Thura Mack (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Reference and Training Librarian, Maribeth Manoff (email@example.com) is Coordinator for Networked Services Integration, and Anthony D. Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Digital Initiatives Coordinator at the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville. Tamara Miller (email@example.com) is Associate Dean of Libraries at Montana State University, Bozeman.
Watzek Library at Lewis and Clark College uses a dual strategy to manage the content of its Web site. Informational pages are created with a template system based on the following tools: Macromedia Dreamweaver and Contribute, PHP, server-side includes, and cascading style sheets (CSS). This system allows the site to be updated easily by several staff members and permits all pages to be presented with a graphical banner and sidebar or in a text-only fashion. Pages are presented that organize electronic and other research resources using the aforementioned system; a relational database is used to drive the content. This database is populated using locally developed PHP software that allows the building of pathfinders of resources organized by subject and category. Overall, this system provides for collaborative content upkeep, flexible presentation options, structured data, and reuse of data.
Mark Dahl (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Library Technology Coordinator at Lewis and Clark College Library, Portland, Oregon.
Thermal-transfer printing, a technology borrowed from the manufacturing sector, offers libraries a flexible method for printing durable, accurate, legible, and attractive labels that reliably adhere to most book surfaces. When guided by an electronic program customized to meet a library’s particular needs, a thermal-transfer printing system offers virtually limitless variations in font, format, and functionality. It can print labels directly from the online catalog, thereby guaranteeing that call numbers on labels match what patrons see in the catalog. This article explains thermal-transfer printing and how it compares with other printing technologies, briefly explores applications in both the manufacturing and library environments, and describes in detail how Utah State University Libraries and a few other libraries use it to improve the accuracy, appearance, and durability of their spine labels.
Cheryl D. Walters (email@example.com) is Head of Cataloging at Utah State University, Logan. Graphics for this article were created by Nathan Walker, Systems Administrator, Utah State University Libraries.
Designing with Web Standards
Jeffrey Zeldman. Indianapolis, Ind.: New Riders, 2003.
About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design
Alan Cooper and Robert Reimann. Indianapolis, Ind.: New Wiley Pub., 2003.
Editor's note: The full text of these reviews are available.