Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) Volume 26, Number 1 March 2007

President’s Column


Editorial: Reflections on Forty

JOHN WEBB, (3,34) [PDF]

Featured Articles

Information Seeking in Academic Research: A Study of the Sociology Faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

YI SHEN, (4-13) [PDF]

This study examines how social scientists arrive at and utilize information in the course of their research. Results are drawn about the use of information resources and channels to address information inquiry, the strategies for information seeking, and the difficulties encountered in information seeking for academic research in today’s information environment. These findings refine the understanding of the dynamic relationship between information systems and services and their users within social-scientific research practice and provide implications for scholarly information-system development.

Assessing Sufficiency and Quality of Bandwidth for Public Libraries


Based on data collected as part of the 2006 Public Libraries and the Internet study, the authors assess the degree to which public libraries provide sufficient and quality bandwidth to support the library’s networked services and resources. The topic is complex due to the arbitrary assignment of a number of kilobytes per second (kbps) used to define bandwidth. Such arbitrary definitions to describe bandwidth sufficiency and quality are not useful. Public libraries are indeed connected to the Internet and do provide public-access services and resources. It is, however, time to move beyond connectivity type and speed questions and consider issues of bandwidth sufficiency, quality, and the range of networked services that should be available to the public from public libraries. A secondary, but important issue is the extent to which libraries, particularly in rural areas, have access to broadband telecommunications services.

Checking Out The Impact of a Digital Trend on Academic Libraries


While the burgeoning trend in online social networks has gained much attention from the media, few studies in library science have yet to address the topic in depth. This article reports on a survey of 126 academic librarians concerning their perspectives toward, an online network for students. Findings suggest that librarians are overwhelmingly aware of the “Facebook phenomenon.” Those who are most enthusiastic about the potential of online social networking suggested ideas for using Facebook to promote library services and events. Few individuals reported problems or distractions as a result of patrons accessing Facebook in the library. When problems have arisen, strict regulation of access to the site seems unfavorable. While some librarians were excited about the possibilities of Facebook, the majority surveyed appeared to consider Facebook outside the purview of professional librarianship.

OPAC Design Enhancements and Their Effects on Circulation and Resource Sharing within the Library Consortium Environment


A longitudinal study of three discrete online public access catalog (OPAC) design enhancements examined the possible effects such changes may have on circulation and resource sharing within the automated library consortium environment. Statistical comparisons were made of both circulation and interlibrary loan (ILL) figures from the year before enhancement to the year after implementation. Data from sixteen libraries covering a seven-year period were studied in order to determine the degree to which patrons may or may not utilize increasingly broader OPAC ILL options over time. Results indicated that while ILL totals increased significantly after each OPAC enhancement, such gains did not result in significant corresponding changes in total circulation.

TUTORIAL: Introducing Zoomify Image

ADAM SMITH, (48-51) [PDF]

Zoomify Image is a mature product for easily publishing large, high-resolution images on the Web. End users view these images with existing Webbrowser software as quickly as they do normal, downsampled images. A Flash-based Zoomifyer client asynchronously streams image data to the Web browser as needed, resulting in response times approaching those of desktop applications using minimal bandwidth. The author, a librarian at Cornell University and the principal architect of a small, open-source company, worked closely with Zoomify to produce a cross-platform, opensource implementation of that company’s image-processing software and discusses how to easily deploy the product into a widely used Webpublishing environment. Limitations are also discussed as are areas of improvement and alternatives.

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Instructions to Authors