Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Fall 1998

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Conference Reports

Online World Conference and Expo, October 12-14, 1998 Washington, D.C.

Flora Shrode
Science and Technology Coordinator
University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries

Online, Inc. sponsors the annual Online World conference where librarians, Internet researchers, managers, and information professionals from all types of organizations gather to share their expertise and to learn about new products and services from vendors.  Major themes at Online World '98 were web search engines, making electronic information sources available to users, and intranets.

This year all speakers were asked to prepare PowerPoint presentations to accompany their talks.  The PowerPoint files are accessible at the conference web site ({http://www.onlineinc.com/olworld/}) along with a downloadable PowerPoint viewer.

A panoply of speakers explored both theoretical and practical aspects of using the web and developing information management services in a variety of organizations including corporate, academic, and government environments.  Presentation and discussion sessions were offered in six tracks:

      · Practical Searching
      · Intranet Development
      · Trends & Technologies
      · Resource Management
      · Content Reviews
      · Roundtable Discussions


David Stern
Director of Science Libraries & Information Services
Kline Science Library
Yale University
New Haven, CT

Although the Sci-Tech content review session does not have a PowerPoint file available from the Online World web site, some notes and URLs from that session follow.

David Stern used Yale Science Libraries' web pages as an outline for his review of current electronic products and as one example of how to help users find resources. He confirmed the fact that uncertainties regarding electronic products' continuity, vendor stability, and pricing present challenges for librarians attempting to choose among titles the products to purchase.  Libraries' traditional division of materials which supply content--books and journals-- from those which serve as pointers to the content-- indexes and abstracts-- becomes less logical in this era of proliferating full-text resources. Package deals for acquisition of both bibliographic databases and full-text electronic sources are resulting in multiple purchase of single titles.  Customization is limited by the fact of having to accept packaged contents.  This complicates users' options for access to the full-text they ultimately need to see and read.  Hoping to clarify users' experience, Mr. Stern concentrates on system design in an effort to integrate users' options seamlessly.

Rapid change in the market makes signing license and purchase agreements difficult. Product names, like Web of Science, are confusing and often, like ProQuest, do not mean anything in relation to products' contents and purposes.  Consortial arrangements can make important tools affordable and have resulted in some good deals for Yale University's Science Libraries.  Access to Gmelin and Beilstein via the Crossfire system is one example.  Difficulties may arise in defining a consortium, and hidden costs for service and support can sometimes make participation in a consortium contradictory for an individual institution's library.

In the area of web page design, Yale University's Kline Science Library has developed a system they call Navigator ({http://www.library.yale.edu/science/help/}) to assist users in determining how to get access to Yale's online catalog, bibliographic databases, and Internet resources in scientific disciplines.  Electronic journals available to the Yale community are presented on a web page in an alphabetical list as well as cataloged in the online catalog with live links to titles or to aggregators.  Navigator's subject-oriented web pages give regular users a quick route to get to the resources they need.  Yale science librarians provide links to some web-based help files created at other institutions to minimize duplicating effort.  Menu labels throughout Navigator feature important words to try to help users know where they are in the system.  The web pages contain many reminders about alternatives regarding access to databases and materials they index.  Password systems for user authentication is often preferable to i.p.-based methods because of users' mobility.  Stern points to a web service called Urania (http://www.aas.org/Urania/) developed by Peter B. Boyce of the American Astronomical Society as an example of an effort to integrate electronic information resources for researchers in one discipline into a seamless delivery system.  [Note: Broken link removed 1/2/03 by aduda@istl.org] Mr. Stern is hopeful that xml will solve some problems of varied formats such as html, text, PDF, and TeX to simplify steps users must take to get to full-text documents.



Moderator: Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services
Washington, DC

Impact of Electronic Subscriptions
Kimberly Allen
Senior Manager
networkMCI Library
MCI Communications Corporation
Washington, DC

Integrating Electronic Journals
Frances Knudson
Technical Information Specialist
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM


Susan Klopper
Arthur Andersen LLP/Andersen Consulting LLP
Atlanta, GA


Greg Notess
Reference Librarian
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT


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