Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) Volume 27, Number 1 March 2008

President’s Column (2)  PDF]

Editorial: Beginnings (3-4) [PDF]

Revitalizing the Library OPAC: Interface, Searching, and Display Challenges (5-22) [PDF]

The behavior of academic library users has drastically changed in recent years. Internet search engines have become the preferred tool over the library online public access catalog (OPAC) for finding information. Libraries are losing ground to online search engines. In this paper, two aspects of OPAC use are studied: (1) the current OPAC interface and searching capabilities, and (2) the OPAC bibliographic display. The purpose of the study is to find answers to the following questions: Why is the current OPAC ineffective? What can libraries and librarians do to deliver an OPAC that is as good as search engines to better serve our users? Revitalizing the library OPAC is one of the pressing issues that has to be accomplished.

FRBRization of a Library Catalog: Better Collocation of Records, Leading to Enhanced Search, Retrieval, and Display (23-32) [PDF]
Timothy J. Dickey

The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)’s hierarchical system defines families of bibliographic relationship between records and collocates them better than most extant bibliographic systems. Certain library materials (especially audio-visual formats) pose notable challenges to search and retrieval; the first benefits of a FRBRized system would be felt in music libraries, but research already has proven its advantages for fine arts, theology, and literature—the bulk of the non-science, technology, and mathematics collections. This report will summarize the benefits of FRBR to nextgeneration library catalogs and OPACs, and will review the handful of ILS and catalog systems currently operating with its theoretical structure. Editor’s note: This article is the winner of the LITA/ Ex Libris Writing Award, 2007.

Online Workplace Training in Libraries (33-40) [PDF]

This study was designed to explore and describe the relationships between preference for online training and traditional face-to-face training. Included were variables of race, gender, age, education, experience of library employees, training providers, training locations, and institutional professional development policies, etc. in the library context. The author used a bivariate test, Kruskal- Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U test to examine the relationship between preference for online training and related variables.

Content-Based Information Retrieval and Digital Libraries (41-47) [PDF]

This paper discusses the applications and importance of content-based information retrieval technology in digital libraries. It generalizes the process and analyzes current examples in four areas of the technology. Content-based information retrieval has been shown to be an effective way to search for the type of multimedia documents that are increasingly stored in digital libraries. As a good complement to traditional textbased information retrieval technology, content-based information retrieval will be a significant trend for the development of digital libraries.


Touchable Online Braille Generator (48-52) [PDF]

A prototype of a touchable online Braille generator has been developed for the visually impaired or blind using force feedback technology, which has been used in video games for years. Without expensive devices, this prototype allows blind people to access information on the Web by touching output Braille displays with a force feedback mouse. The data collected from user studies conducted with blind participants has provided valuable information about the optimal conditions for the use of the prototype. The end product of this research will enable visually impaired people to enjoy information on the Web more freely.

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