Article Abstracts

Volume 51, No. 4

Exploring Categorization: Undergraduate Student Searching and the Evolution of Catalogs

By John Budd

Debate about the future of library catalogs and cataloging has been, and continues to be, featured in the literature of librarianship. Some research into the ways undergraduate students at one institution assign subjects to selected works provides insight into the cognitive elements of categorization. The design of catalogs can be informed by this research, as well as work currently being done on alternative means of organization, such as information systems ontologies.

The Roles of the Metadata Librarian in a Research Library

By John W. Chapman

The position of metadata librarian recently has been a popular addition to the staff of research libraries. The position is often created in response to the opportunities and challenges of metadata management within libraries with significant digital initiatives. Treating specifically the institutions that place such a position within a traditional cataloging or technical services department, the author examines the distinctive combination of skills and responsibilities in these positions. He identifies four roles (collaboration, research, education, and development) that define the position and its mandate in the library, and also discusses the crucial factor of librarianship in pursuing these roles.

Family Names and the Cataloger

By Laurence S. Creider

The Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, to be known as Resource Description and Access (RDA), has indicated that the replacement for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) will allow the use of family names as authors and will provide rules for their formation. This paper discusses what a family name describes; examines how information seekers look for family names and what they expect to find; describes the ways in which family names have been established in Anglo-American cataloging and archival traditions; asks how adequately the headings established under these rules help users seek such information; and suggests how revised cataloging rules might better enable users to identify resources that meet their needs.

Building Connections: A Review of the Serials Literature 2004 through 2005

By Cecilia Genereux

This review of 2004 and 2005 serials literature covers the themes of cost, management, and access. Interwoven through the serials literature of these two years are the importance of collaboration, communication, and linkages between scholars, publishers, subscription agents and other intermediaries, and librarians. The emphasis in the literature is on electronic serials and their impact on publishing, libraries, and vendors. In response to the crisis of escalating journal prices and libraries’ dissatisfaction with the Big Deal licensing agreements, Open Access journals and publishing models were promoted. Libraries subscribed to or licensed increasing numbers of electronic serials. As a result, libraries sought ways to better manage licensing and subscription data (not handled by traditional integrated library systems) by implementing electronic resources management systems. In order to provide users with better, faster, and more current information on and access to electronic serials, libraries implemented tools and services to provide A-Z title lists, title by title coverage data, MARC records, and OpenURL link resolvers.

Association for Library Collections & Technical Services Annual Report 2006–2007

By Bruce Chr. Johnson, 2006–2007 ALCTS President

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) celebrated its first fifty years during 2006–2007. This celebration took the form of looking back, assessing where we are today as an association and as a profession, and considering where we would like to see our profession in the years to come. This year was punctuated by great tumult in the collections and technical services fields, and ALCTS focused much of its energies on directive change and professional advocacy. In doing so, the most tangible achievements came in the areas of education, dialog and collaboration, publication, standards creation, and organizational renewal.

A Regression-based Approach to Library Fund Allocation

By William H. Walters

While nearly half of all academic libraries use formulas to allocate firm order funds on behalf of particular departments or subject areas, few have adopted systematic methods of selecting or weighting the variables. This paper reviews the literature on library fund allocation, then presents a statistically informed method of weighting and combining the variables in a fund allocation formula. The regression-based method of fund allocation uses current, historical, or hypothetical allocations to generate a formula that excludes the influence of non-relevant variables as well as the influence of arbitrary or non-systematic variations in funding. The resulting fund allocations are based on the principle of equity—the idea that departments with the same characteristics should receive the same allocations.

Notes on Operations

Determining the Average Cost of a Book for Allocation Formulas: Comparing Options

By Virginia Kay Williams and June Schmidt

Academic libraries that use allocation formulas to divide monographic funds among academic departments frequently include the average cost of books per discipline as a variable. Published price indices provide average costs for some subjects, but for libraries serving interdisciplinary departments, purchasing nonbook materials with monographic funds, or purchasing foreign language materials, the published price indices may prove insufficient. This study investigates methods of determining average prices to be used in allocation formulas. As part of evaluating the allocation formula at Mississippi State University, the authors reviewed literature pertinent to library use of allocation formulas, surveyed Carnegie Doctoral/Research Extensive land grant university libraries on their use of average price as a variable in allocation formulas, and calculated allocations using average price data from four sources: the Bowker Annual, previous acquisition cost data, Blackwell Price Reports, and Blackwell approval plan profiles. The pros and cons of each method of determining average price are discussed.