Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) Volume 23, Number 4 December 2004

Feature Articles

The Impact of Information Technology on Library Anxiety: The Role of Computer Attitudes


Over the past two decades, computer-based technologies have become dominant forces to shape and reshape the products and services the academic library has to offer. The application of library technologies has had a profound impact on the way library resources are being used. Although many students continue to experience high levels of library anxiety, it is likely that the new technologies in the library have led to them experiencing other forms of negative affective states that may be, in part, a function of their attitude towards computers. This study investigates whether students’ computer attitudes predict levels of library anxiety.

Beyond Information Architecture: A Systems Integration Approach to Web-site Design


Users’ needs and expectations regarding access to information have fundamentally changed, creating a disconnect between how users expect to use a library Web site and how the site was designed. At the same time, library technical infrastructures include legacy systems that were not designed for the Web environment. The authors propose a framework that combines elements of information architecture with approaches to incremental system design and implementation. The framework allows for the development of a Web site that is responsive to changing user needs, while recognizing the need for libraries to adopt a cost-effective approach to implementation and maintenance.

Policies Governing Use of Computing Technology in Academic Libraries

JASON VAUGHAN, (153-167) [PDF]

The networked computing environment is a vital resource for academic libraries. Ever-increasing use dictates the prudence of having a comprehensive computer-use policy in force. Universities often have an overarching policy or policies governing the general use of computing technology that helps to safeguard the university equipment, software, and network against inappropriate use. Libraries often benefit from having an adjunct policy that works to emphasize the existence and important points of higher-level policies, while also providing a local context for systems and policies pertinent to the library in particular. Having computer-use policies at the university and library level helps provide a comprehensive, encompassing guide for the effective and appropriate use of this vital resource.

The Impact of Web Search Engines on Subject Searching in OPAC


This paper analyzes the results of transaction logs at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and studies the effects of implementing a Web-based OPAC along with interface changes. The authors find that user success in subject searching remains problematic. A major increase in the frequency of searches that would have been more successful in resources other than the library catalog is noted over the time period 2000–2002. The authors attribute this increase to the prevalence of Web search engines and suggest that metasearching, relevance-ranked results, and relevance feedback (“more like this”) are now expected in user searching and should be integrated into online catalogs as search options.



Using a Native XML Database for Encoded Archival Description Search and Retrieval

ALAN CORNISH, (181-184)

The Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) is a National Endowment for the Humanities–funded effort by fifteen institutions in the Pacific Northwest to create a finding-aids repository. Approximately 2,300 finding aids that follow the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard are being contributed to a union catalog by academic and archival institutions in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This paper provides some information on the EAD standard and on search and retrieval issues for EAD XML documents. It describes native XML technology and the issues that were considered in the selection of a native XML database, Ixiasoft’s TextML, to support the NWDA project.

Using GIS to Measure In-Library Book-Use Behavior

JINGFENG XIA, (184-191)

This article is an attempt to develop Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology into an analytical tool for examining the relationships between the height of the bookshelves and the behavior of library readers in utilizing books within a library. The tool would contain a database to store book-use information and some GIS maps to represent bookshelves. Upon analyzing the data stored in the database, different frequencies of book use across bookshelf layers are displayed on the maps. The tool would provide a wonderful means of visualization through which analysts can quickly realize the spatial distribution of books used in a library. This article reveals that readers tend to pull books out of the bookshelf layers that are easily reachable by human eyes and hands, and thus opens some issues for librarians to reconsider the management of library collections.


Using Server-Side Include Commands for Subject Web-Page Management: An Alternative to Database-Driven Technologies for the Smaller Academic Library


Frustrated by the time-consuming process of updating subject Web pages, librarians at Samford University Library (SUL) developed a process for streamlining updates using Server-Side Include (SSI) commands. They created text files on the library server that corresponded to each of 143 online resources. Include commands within the HTML document for each subject page refer to these text files, which are pulled into the page as it loads on the user’s browser. For the user, the process is seamless. For librarians, time spent in updating Web pages is greatly reduced; changes to text files on the server result in simultaneous changes to the edited resources across the library’s Web site. For small libraries with limited online resources, this process may provide an elegant solution to an ongoing problem.

Index to Advertisers


Book Review

(198-199) [PDF]

Index to Volume 23

(201-204) [PDF]