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Posts Tagged ‘OPAC’

Reference and the New Library

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 23, 2011

You know some say reference is dead. They should come sit at the reference desk with me. Not that every second is busy, but people still need to discover resources. That is my job when I sit at the desk!

I show them ways to find what they are hunting. Sometimes I show them the library databases and the library catalog. I show them how to search to find “on topic” information. I show them subject searching in the library catalog. For example, if someone needs a book about William Shakespeare, they need to use the name as a subject, otherwise they will get all the books that contain his writings. If we use his name as a subject, then they get what other people had to say about his writing.

How is this related to digital resources? Some of the methods that I use to teach people lead them to digital resources. Databases contain digital resources. Library catalogs do, too.

I think we over-estimate people’s abilities to locate what they need. Most of the time, they do a quick look at Google and then think that is all there is. Google works for its purpose, but not to find specific information for a topic.

Oh yes, Wikipedia! It is a great starting point for many topics. Besides the encyclopedic materials, there are citations that can get people started toward the “right stuff.”

Reference is not dead, but those who want to kill it don’t appreciate what reference is all about! They do not understand or want to understand the “information needs” of the people who come into the library.

Posted in Libraries and librarians, Library catalogs, technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Digital projects

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 8, 2011

Since I started this blog, I have been adding digital records to our library catalog (OPAC for all you librarians out there). When I was a library assistant, or technical worker, I added batches of e-documents that I got from Dataminer. I would filter records that were created in a previous month and then process them into our OPAC.

In our department, we tried several methods to upload them. Student workers checked to see if they were already cataloged and adding 856 fields with URLs. We tried dumping in the entire batch filtered for our library. We tried variations on the same idea. We still weren’t satisfied.

When I got to be in charge of the department, I experimented some more and now have a different variation. I filter the records at Dataminer by our depository number and then download the batch. Since some of the links include records to the GPO catalog, but not to the digital item, I don’t want to include those records. I use MarcEdit to make batch changes to the entire bunch and then upload them into our OPAC. It is not quite that simple, but it is not that difficult either. It takes some tweeking of the records and of the holdings codes, and I am done.

I used a similar process to batch load e-journals and ERIC records. I may write about them another day. Hope this jogs someone into thinking about a better way than I am now using and that they let me know. Until then, it is the best that I have come up with.

Posted in Digital Collections, Libraries and librarians, Library catalogs, technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Dummies in an OPAC?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on October 12, 2008

A recurring theme in information circles is how to provide access to the archival collection of the library. Brenner, Larsen and Weston (2006) explain their process of using Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) software to include links to digitized resources. As I read through their process, I thought about the libraries that are struggling to integrate digital collections within their own library software.

Many libraries use separate lists or software to identify digital collections. Some of these collections are direct links to images of varying sorts and the descriptions may not be concise. While MARC records work very well for monographs and other tangible products, they are not as precise as other methods. However, they made a good point that letting users know that these records exist is important. The details in MARC may not give the same levels as EAD, but they do serve as pointers.

In our library, we have pointers on the shelves, called “book dummies.” These pointers explain to library users where an expected item is actually located, rather than where they are looking. For example, we may shelve older volumes, in a series, in another location. The pointer gives the call number and location for the older volumes. The records that Brenner, Larsen and Weston describe serve as “book dummies.” Whether this is the best method of provision to digital collection, or if something else would be better, it does, at least, point the way.

Brenner, Michaela, Tom Larsen, and Claudia Weston. 2006. Digital collection management through the library catalog. Information Technology and Libraries 25(2): 65-77.

Posted in Digital Collections | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »