Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) Volume 25, Number 2 June 2006

President's Column



LITA and ITAL: Forty and Still Counting


Featured Articles

Google Scholar and 100 Percent Availability of Information


This paper discusses Google Scholar as an extension of Kilgour's goal to improve the availability of information. Kilgour was instrumental in the early development of the online library catalog, and he proposed passage retrieval to aid in information seeking. Google Scholar is a direct descendent of these technologies foreseen by Kilgour. Google Scholar holds promise as a means for libraries to expand their reach to new user communities, and to enable libraries to provide quality resources to users during their online search process.

Using AJAX to Empower Dynamic Searching


The use of Ajax, or Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, can result in Web applications that demonstrate the flexibility, responsiveness, and usability traditionally found only in desktop software. To illustrate this, a repository metasearch user interface, OJAX, has been developed. OJAX is simple, unintimidating but powerful. It attempts to minimize upfront user investment and provide immediate dynamic feedback, thus encouraging experimentation and enabling enactive learning.  This article introduces the Ajax approach to the development of interactive Web applications and discusses its implications. It then describes the OJAX user interface and illustrates how it can transform the user experience.

Digital Collection Management through the Library Catalog


Digitization has bestowed upon librarians and archivists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries the opportunity to reexamine how they access their collections. It draws these two traditional groups together with IT specialists in order to collaborate on this new great challenge. In this paper, the authors offer a strategy for adapting a library system to traditional archival practice.

A Dynamic Methodology for Improving the Search Experience


In the early years of modern information retrieval, the fundamental way in which we understood and evaluated search performance was by measuring precision and recall. In recent decades, however, models of evaluation have expanded to incorporate the information-seeking task and the quality of its outcome, as well as the value of the information to the user. We have developed a systems engineering-based methodology for improving the whole search experience. The approach focuses on understanding users' information-seeking problems, understanding who has the problems, and applying solutions that address these problems. This information is gathered through ongoing analysis of site-usage reports, satisfaction surveys, Help Desk reports, and a working relationship with the business owners.

Visualizations for Digital Libraries

GANG WAN, (88-94) [PDF]

The concept of digital libraries is familiar to both librarians and library patrons today. These new libraries have broken the limits of space and distance by delivering information in various formats via the Internet. Since most digital libraries contain a colossal amount of information, it is critical to design more user-friendly interfaces to explore, understand, and manage their content. One important technique for designing such interfaces is information visualization. Although computer-aided information visualization is a relatively new research area, numerous visualization applications already exist in various fields today. Furthermore, many library professionals are also starting to realize that combining information visualization techniques and current library technologies, such as digital libraries, can help library users find information more effectively and efficiently. This article first discusses three major tasks that most visualization for digital libraries emphasize, and then introduces several current applications of information visualization for digital libraries.

Digitizing the Non-Digital: Creating a Global Context for Events, Artifacts, Ideas, and Information


This paper discusses some of the problems associated with search and digital-rights management in the emerging age of interconnectivity. An open-source system called Context Driven Topologies (CDT) is proposed to create one global context of geography, knowledge domains, and Internet addresses, using centralized spatial databases, geometry, and maps. The same concept can be described by different words, the same image can be interpreted a thousand ways by every viewer, but mathematics is a set of rules to ensure that certain relationships or sequences will be precisely regenerated. Therefore, unlike most of today's digital records, CDTs are based on mathematics first, images second, words last. The aim is to permanently link the highest quality events, artifacts, ideas, and information into one record documenting the quickest paths to the most relevant information for specific data, users, and tasks. A model demonstration project using CDT to organize, search, and place information in new contexts while protecting the authors' intent is also introduced.


Expanding Access to Library Collections and Services Using Small-Screen Devices


This research report summarizes the challenges and solutions with using small-screen mobile computing devices to access library resources and services. These smart-devices include notebook computers, Palm/PocketPC devices, and Internet-enabled multipurpose personal communication devices like cellular phones and BlackBerry units that support voice and data services.  Two key findings are that (1) library Web sites can be adapted to the limited power, memory, small screen size, and bandwidth of mobile devices, and (2) small-screen mobile devices are acceptable for showing Web services that are easy to read, easy to navigate, and that provide timely information.


Writing your First Scholarly Article: A Guide for Budding Authors in Librarianship


This series of questions and answers is designed to help you take the first steps toward the successful production of a scholarly article in librarianship. You may find yourself in a library position that requires writing or you may have just decided that you are ready to share your findings, experiences, and knowledge with the current and future generations of librarians. While following the guidelines listed here will not guarantee that you will be successful, these steps will take you closer to discovering the thrill of seeing your name in print and making a difference in the field.

Book Review

(112) [PDF]

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