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Posts Tagged ‘Pointers’

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.

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