By ELIZABETH MILLER
In addition to the vast contributions Library Services staff are making to National Digital Library Program efforts, there are a wide variety of other "digital" efforts going on in the Library Services area of the Library.
Although the World Wide Web is a major development tool at present, there are still many other important efforts going on using other Internet tools like LISTSERVs, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), TELNET and Gopher (via the LC MARVEL service).
Public Access to Files (Anonymous FTP). The earliest Internet service, an anonymous FTP site, was made available to the public during the summer of 1992 as a host for the first online Internet exhibit, "Revelations from the Russian Archives." Library Services staff now mount information such as Internet guides, LOCIS guides, finding aids for manuscript collections, exhibits images, newsletters, MARC records and utility programs, demonstration software from the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) and much more, in 19 directories on the Public Anonymous FTP Site.
The documents and files on the FTP site are also accessed via LC MARVEL and LC Web in addition to direct FTP access. Monthly, an average of 80,000 files are transferred to the public from this tool. The address of the public FTP site is: ftp.loc.gov.
Public Internet Access to LOCIS (telnet). Working with Information Technology Services (ITS), staff from the Humanities and Social Sciences Division (HSS) prepared for the release of the Library of Congress Information System (LOCIS) to the public over the Internet on April 30, 1993. Reference staff provided help screens and documentation and tested the service before it was released. Currently allowing 90 simultaneous external connections, public Internet access to LOCIS is still one of the Library's most popular services, averaging 3.9 million transactions per month. Accessible using telnet or tn3270, the address of LOCIS on the Internet is: locis.loc.gov.
LISTSERVs (Mailing Lists). Staff of the Network Development and MARC Standards Office (NDMSO) were the first in the Library to set up and operate a LISTSERV-based electronic discussion group (USMARC-L), now renamed USMARC) in June 1991. Although the Library did not have in-house software capable of this service, the University of Maine was the interim host. Later, when the Library acquired and installed LISTSERV software, USMARC was the first LISTSERV to be available on site. NDMSO staff then created documentation and mentored other interested staff in the set-up and management of a LISTSERV. Now, of the current 34 LISTSERVs hosted by the Library, Library Services staff own and moderate 27. These LISTSERVs are used to distribute newsletters (LC Cataloging Newsline and CONSERline), generate discussion (USMARC, Z39.50 development, issues for federal librarians, reference and cataloging, etc.), and allow committees to communicate (Program for Cooperative Cataloging, Network Advisory Committee, National Digital Library Federation, etc.). To receive a listing of all LISTSERVs hosted by the Library of Congress, send an e-mail message to the address [email protected] with the message text lists and no other information (a "subject" is not needed).
LC MARVEL (Campus-Wide Information System). LC MARVEL, the Library's Internet Gopher service, was conceived of and created by a group composed mainly of Library Services staff in cooperation with other units of the Library. Working closely with ITS, which supplied the technology and still maintains the service, the initial group of nine staff members created LC MARVEL in eight weeks. It debuted at the American Library Association's (ALA) conference in June 1993 and was announced to the general public in July.
Answering Public Inquiries. The staff of the National Reference Service (NRS) are now the first point through which all Internet mail queries are directed. NRS receives an average of 850 mail messages per month directing about half to other mail accounts for individual Internet services (LC Web, MARVEL, public LOCIS, etc.) or specific reading rooms or offices.
HSS staff, with the assistance of several other reading rooms, answer a vast number of LOCIS search questions for public users. In addition, many reference questions are answered within each individual reading room. Comments, corrections, and suggestions on the improvement and enhancement of our services go to special accounts for each tool (i.e., LC MARVEL, LC Web, etc.)
World Wide Web. The Library's World Wide Web site is experiencing a major growth spurt due to the effort and knowledge of a large number of Library Services staff members. Coordinated by NDMSO, Library Services Web pages are designed, tested and then added to the current homepage structure. NDMSO also teaches a regular course on Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) - the coding used to create documents for the Web. These courses are now and available to all staff throughout the Library. NDMSO also maintains the guidelines and standards for the Library's use of HTML, assuring the Library's adherence to internationally accepted standards.
Some of the first big projects on the Web were led by Library Services staff who continue to oversee these services. The Interpretive Programs Office, with technical assistance from ITS, has mounted all of the major exhibits of the Library on the Web. This includes a recent retrospective conversion of the first four exhibits: "Revelations from the Russian Archives," "1492, Rome Reborn," and "The Dead Sea Scrolls" (NDMSO staff provided guidance and significant assistance). The exhibits home page can be found at: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/.
Staff from Collections Policy office (CPO), Science and Technology Division (S&T), and Geography and Map Division (G&M) worked together to create a hypertext version of a portion of Annette Melville's text Special Collections of the Library of Congress. Although initially limited to "Americana" collections, the work is now being expanded by the inclusion of sample images, clips or sound bites from each collection. This enhancement effort is being led by NDMSO and the Automated Planning and Liaison Office (APLO) in cooperation with the reading rooms. The special collections homepage is found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/rarebook/.
A Z39.50 gateway page was another of the first big efforts by Library Services using the Web. Initially, a fill-in form interface was designed to search the MUMS Books and Name Authority Files. Later, individual search forms were created for many other Z39.50-based online catalogs and databases worldwide. Beginning with access to approximately 15 institutions, the Z39.50 Gateway Home Page now provides forms-based search access to more than 150 institutions. Maintained by NDMSO, this page is found at http://www.loc.gov/z3950/.
All documentation related to the Z39.50 standard is maintained by NDMSO at http://www.loc.gov/z3950/agency/
Currently, an effort is under way to create homepages for each reading room in Library Services. Already several reading rooms have completed homepages, and many more will follow. Most of the reading rooms will rely heavily on LC MARVEL informational files as the basis of their Web page content. The first reading room to create a Web home page was the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room and can be found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/. Other reading rooms that have home pages are: American Folklife Center http://www.loc.gov/folklife/; Prints and Photographs http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/; Motion Picture and Television http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/.
The Cataloging Directorate also has a home page for its information located at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/. In addition, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (CONSER) has its own homepages: PCC -http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/CONSER-http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/. Soon, the Preservation Directorate will have a new homepage.
Many special programs and publications have also been placed on the Library's Web by library Services staff. NDMSO and staff from the Publishing Office have put a series of Illustrated Guides to the Library's collections on the Web. The Library of Congress Illustrated Guides for Prints and Photographs, Manuscripts, Music, Theater, Dance, and Rare Books and Special Collections are now available on the Library's Web site: http://www.loc.gov/loc/pub/.
Two other significant publications, both written by Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, were recently added to the Library's Web site: On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in the Buildings of the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/loc/walls/; Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/loc/legacy/.
The Federal Research Division (FRD) has also been looking to the Web as an information delivery tool for its "country studies" series. Ethiopia was the first handbook to be done using the Web. Soon, all of the other handbooks will be available from: http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html.
The Network Advisory Committee (NAC) has published its last three "planning papers" using the Web. These planning papers were previously available via CDS in print form. CDS also has a Web version of its 1996 catalog of services at http://www.loc.gov/cds/.
Other special programs and services having Web homepages are:
The National Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at http://lcweb.loc.gov/nls/; Center for the Book at http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/; National Film Preservation Board at http://www.loc.gov/film/; Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) at http://www.loc.gov/; National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) at http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/; Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms at http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/; Junior Fellows Program.
There are many more Web home-pages planned and in progress. In addition, Library Services staff are maintaining the "Explore the Internet" pages for government information, Internet resources, World Wide Web and many other subject areas (library science, publishing, classics, film resources, etc.)
Elizabeth Miller is in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office.