Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) Volume 25, Number 1 March 2006

President’s Column

Patrick J. Mullin, (2) [PDF]


I Keep My Eyes Wide Open All the Time


Feature Articles

Enriching Traditional Cataloging for Improved Access to Information: Library of Congress Tables of Contents Projects


Traditionally, standard catalog records have provided bibliographic data that mostly address the basic features of library resources. At the same time, catalogs have offered access to these records through a limited array of names, titles, series, subject headings, class numbers, and a relatively small number of keywords contained within descriptions. Today’s catalog users expect access to information well beyond what can be offered by traditional approaches to bibliographic description and access. By pursuing a suite of projects, the Library of Congress (LC) has responded to the challenge of enticing patrons to continue to include the online catalog among the tools they use for information retrieval. Drawing extensively on the power of automation, staff of LC’s Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (BEAT) have created and implemented a variety of initiatives to link researchers, catalogs, and Web resources; increase the content of the catalog record; and link the catalog to electronic resources. BEAT’s ongoing work demonstrates how, in the electronic era, it is possible to provide new and improved ways to capitalize on traditional services in the digital age. This paper will illustrate these points by focusing on BEAT’s tables of contents projects to demonstrate how library automation can make significant bibliographic enhancement efforts quick, easy, and affordable to achieve.

Medium-sized Universities Connect to Their Libraries: Links on University Home Pages and User Group Pages


From major tasks—such as recruitment of new students and staff—to the more mundane but equally important tasks—such as providing directions to campus—college and university Web sites perform a wide range of tasks for a varied assortment of users. Overlapping functions and user needs meld to create the need for a Web site with three major functions: promotion and marketing, access to online services, and providing a means of communication between individuals and groups. In turn, college and university Web sites that provide links to their library home page can be valuable assets for recruitment, public relations, and for helping users locate online services.

The State of RFID Applications in Libraries


The adoption of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology by libraries promises a solution that could make it possible to inventory hundreds of thousands of items in their collections in days instead of months. In addition, it would allow patrons to check out and return library property automatically at any time of the day. Besides speeding up checkouts, keeping collections in better order, and alleviating repetitive strain injuries among librarians, RFID promises to provide a better control on theft, nonreturns, and misfiling of a library’s assets. With an estimated 35 million library items tagged worldwide in more than three hundred libraries, this technology is generating ever-increasing interest. In October and November 2004, the industrial technology department and the Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, surveyed participating libraries, RFID electronic discussion groups, and Library and Information Technology Association (LITA-L) electronic discussion group subscribers to collect information with regards to the implementation of RFID systems in libraries. Opinions were gathered regarding such topics, actual or estimated, as RFID implementation costs and time; the impact of the technology on operations such as handling of volumes and security; and RFID system features adopted such as conversion stations, self-checkout units, and security systems. Information on the various RFID library components and the results from the survey are presented in this paper.


WikiWikiWebs: New Ways to Communicate in a Web Environment


This paper introduces WikiWikiWeb software, also known as Wiki, for use in library and information management contexts. Wikis provide an environment for Web-based collaboration and can also be used for Web site content management. The article includes an overview of the history and development of Wiki, as well as discussing basic and advanced Wiki features. It compares three Wiki engines and describes seven case studies of real-world library and library-related Wiki applications. The paper concludes with a discussion of factors that can contribute to a successful Wiki project.

Graphical Table of Contents for Library Collections: The Application of Universal Decimal Classification Codes to Subject Maps


The representation of information content by graphical maps is an extended ongoing research topic. The objective of this article consists in verifying whether it is possible to create map displays using Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) codes (using co-classification analysis) for the purpose of creating a graphical table of contents for a library collection. The application of UDC codes was introduced to subject maps development using the following graphic representation methods: (1) multidimensional scaling; (2) cluster analysis; and (3) neural networks (self-organizing maps). Finally, the authors conclude that the different kinds of maps have slightly different degrees of viability and types of application.

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