TECH NEWS--An HTML Primer for WEB Users
Staff Profile: Jim Oliver, FEDLINK Vendor Services Coordinator
FLICC/FEDLINK Educational Programs on Video
Considering outsourcing cataloging?
West Coast Training Opportunities
Please Note: The Winter 1997 FLICC Newsletter--Special Pull-Out Section on FLICC's 1996 Symposium on the Information Professional
Watch Your Mail
"Be a nexthead, not a texthead" advised keynote speaker Stephen Abram at FLICCs December symposium, "Getting the Word Out: Marketing Your Librarys Information Services." The day-long event offered panels and breakout sessions on advocating [for librarians] and libraries, measuring library productivity, and adopting corporate strategies for promoting information services.
Abram, Director of Corporate and News Information for Micromedia Ltd., spoke on "Transformational Marketing--Positioning Your Library on the Knowledge Curve." He described how the convergence of communications and research technologies, combined with economic and cultural trends, are changing consumer information access habits. "We are days away from a major global currency, a seamless way of accessing information," said Abram. "It really does not matter where the information is, as long as it is useful."
The new information climate can threaten librarians role as the keepers of the keys to information access. "We made a big mistake when we tried to stake out the information territory," said Abram. He believes machine agents will hasten the demise of formulaic cataloging and research, and renew the art of librarianship.
Instead of managing information, Abram said, librarians manage knowledge. They bring complex research and interpersonal skills to the information transaction. "This is a service economy and a technological age," he said. "Libraries offer information, service, technology and people skills. We are the only profession that provides all four of these products in a strategic way. Together, they combine to form knowledge."
Knowledge transactions transform users by teaching them how to find what they need. "Putting knowledge to work is what librarians do. They have true information literacy skills," said Abram. To convince users and managers that librarians are valuable in the information age, Abram asked the audience to consider "the boring basics--five Ps and six Cs":
Place--Information no longer has a place. Instead, it has become an "immersion environment." The information wave has become a tsunami; the librarian can act as a lifeguard.
Product--A collection of networks is not a library product. Librarians should see their skills as the product they offer.
Position--Librarians have to choose one or two strategic positions, and then sacrifice the others.
Price--People pay for using libraries and for NOT using them. They pay librarians money, or they pay in their time or prestige.
Public Relations--Create an environment for your message to be heard. Come up with an awareness strategy. Regard every interaction as a "moment of truth."
Content--Value and service are important. Ask yourself "where are you adding value?" Transform, do not point--"teach users how to fish."
Concept--Think about the library from the users' perspectives. Give them what they need, not what they request.
Creative--The world has color, sound, dimension, movement, diversity. Be a nexthead, not a texthead...the rest of the world deals with things on a multidimensional level.
Connection--People making connections with people is crucial. There is no replacement for the human filter.
Context--Go ahead and picture users in their pajamas. Use informal language and consider the changed needs of a global, desktop audience.
Community--Market to your "neighbors," the other people in your subject area. Be as friendly as the corner store, but as comprehensive as possible. Market the profession, not just the library.
Positioning knowledge is the long-term play. Practice "transformational, not transactional librarianship." Abram then referred the audience to the Special Libraries Associations document, "Competencies for Special Librarians of the 21st Century" (available at http://www.sla.org/content/SLA/professional/meaning/competency.cfm) for more suggestions.
The morning speakers panel featured four federal librarians who discussed how they have promoted themselves and their libraries. Meg Williams, FEDLINK Network Program Specialist, served as moderator.
Chuck Ralston, Director of the Library Program, HQ US Army Forces Command, quoted an essay by West Point cadet George Patton Jr. entitled "The Necessity of a Good Library at West Point." The essay suggested that the library should have books of reference, be a place of amusement, and have books about military history. Today, noted Ralston, these are called continuing education, recreation, and mission. "Customers often know exactly what they want, and librarians find it difficult to listen to customers," Ralston said. "They are most comfortable consulting with colleagues."
The US Army Forces Command puts ground soldiers in the field. The librarys customers are the soldiers, their families, and retirees. He and his staff have tried to figure out how to keep the focus on the customers. Ralston said the librarians first responsibility "is to link with the customers and then to make intra-agency alliances with the commander, MIS people, educators, etc."
Librarians may need to adjust how they talk with customers. Most librarians fall into the Myers-Briggs category of INTJ--competent and quiet. The Army environment is the exact opposite, said Ralston, but the officers and soldiers look up to the librarians.
Barbara Smith, the director of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), explained that the Smithsonian Institution is quasi-federal, raising about 30 percent of its operating budget, and managers expect that the library system will help in fund raising. As a result, Smith and her staff use a variety of strategies to gain the attention of both patrons and donors to library services.
The 150-year anniversary of the Smithsonian gave the libraries an excuse for many celebratory activities. They sent out bookmarks, held an open house, and took part in the Smithsonians celebration party on the mall.
SILs are scattered from Panama City to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their user advisory committee is made up of members from many different branch libraries. This helps make users aware of information services and to discuss policies, problems, funding, and services.
SIL received a grant to build their Web site and wanted to create electronic editions They zeroed in on a series from the now-defunct Bureau of American Ethnology featuring a monograph by an ethnologist completing his fiftieth year with the Smithsonian Institution. When they finished with the electronic edition, they had a book party, filling a room full with computers. "This is a new way of sharing out-of-print materials," said Smith. "Home pages are the most important way in years to show the value of librarians work--to demonstrate value-added reference resources."
SILs have hosted well-attended open houses for various library departments. They also had a successful library fair, using space in a conference center with volunteer staff members. "We offered a welcoming environment for users to get their fingers wet," Smith said.
SIL libraries even publicized their $200,000 grant from the Getty Foundation for online projects. "People see that you are succeeding and they get curious about what you are working on," Smith explained.
SILs have created brochures, newsletters, and handouts about the information environment, and made an effort to leave the libraries and go to users at their work spaces. Smith suggested promoting libraries outside the organization, like placing an article about the SI libraries in American Libraries.
Finally, she encouraged librarians to put up their own Web site. "Do not feel that you have to be completely right the first time."
Susan English, librarian at the US Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, defined the "persona" of the librarian as "that combination of skills, traits, and attitudes developed by a librarian to advocate information within an agency successfully."
Two recent publications help define an appropriate "persona" for librarians: the SLA Competencies document noted above, and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) document, Toward a Renaissance in Law Librarianship (http://www.aallnet.org/committee/reports_renaissance.html).
Please Note: The above web site address has been updated since the printed version of FEDLINK Technical Notes January, 1997 was issued.
English noted that both groups recognize an increased emphasis on fiscal responsibility and computer technology in libraries. She explored other skills, traits, and attitudes needed for librarians to survive.
Librarians usually also need an undergraduate degree and a M.L.S., which includes training in research, organization, communication, library management, and technology. English discussed whether earning an advanced degree in the discipline of a particular client group helps a librarians career. She said she decided to get a law degree, as a "purely pragmatic decision" she made by reading the ads for legal librarians. She listed the benefits of this decision:
In some fields, like medicine, it is may not be feasible to obtain an advanced degree.
"We all have an advanced degree but we do not make that well known to client groups," English said. She encouraged other librarians to let patrons know that everyone on their staff is well educated. "You can get your point across faster if you do not have to explain that you know what you are talking about."
Formal education does not, however, cover important skill areas such as teaching, communication, hiring, and team building. How an librarians gain these skills? English suggested completing on-the-job training, working with mentors, practicing through trial and error, volunteering to speak on panels, researching, and attending continuing education seminars. She suggested librarians pay for these activities if need be.
The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills librarians can have. "To be truly effective, we must be sensitive to the fact that there are differences in the ways people perceive our words and the way we perceive the words of others," English said. She recommended Deborah Tannens 1990 book, You Just Dont Understand: Women and Men in Conversation as a good guide to communication differences, especially for women reporting to male managers.
Both the SLA and the AALL suggested important traits for librarians:
How do you know if you have these traits? "Staff members know these are good traits to have and say they are adaptable and flexible. They then will turn out to be the exact opposite," English said.
Like Ralston, she noted that many librarians share the classifications of "Introvert" and "Intuitive" from the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. However, only about 25 percent of the population shares these traits. To provide better service, librarians may need to learn new modes of communication and action. "As introverts, we have to force ourselves to interact, and find it exhausting," said English. She suggested using the Myers-Briggs test to facilitate team-building, and recommended Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types, written by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, as a guide to interpreting the results.
The AALL document points out the need for essential shared principles, such as the conviction that access to information is a key tenet of democracy. "If we do not wholeheartedly support the central tenets of our profession, it will be hard for us to be a part of this profession," English concluded.
Carol Watts, Chief of the Library and Information Services Division at NOAA, discussed the development of NOAAs online integrated library system. "Libraries have untapped resources in collections and user resources," said Watts. "With few dollars to spend on marketing, we have all become opportunists, [making efforts] to work with other offices, libraries, and scientists while trying to get out of the library." She advised librarians to "use contractors to your best advantage, and work with vendors. There are many good choices in this city and lots of chances to work with people who have produced creative things."
Watts has worked to "beat the rugs to put together an integrated library system" to make everything available through the Web site. (www.lib.noaa.gov). "The Web is where your information can be offered democratically," Watts said. This combats the effects of having to make choices about which clients to serve face-to-face.
NOAALINC ILS attempts to integrate collections of small climatological, oceanographic, and fishery libraries. The system includes a bibliographic catalog control module; an authority control module; an enhanced public access module; an information gateway; a circulation control module; and an acquisitions control module.
NOAA wanted a system that would allow different libraries to continue to build an integrated network which will eventually allow for across-the-board ILS resource location and "end-to-end information management." Watts told the audience that "responsive and complete patron satisfaction is our goal at the NOAA Central Library."
After lunch, audience members met in groups to discuss individual skills, library collections, patron complaints, alternate sources of information, and ways to measure the impact of the services they provide. The groups--divided into national libraries, academic libraries, administrative centers, headquarters or central libraries, and one-person libraries--then reported to the whole group. Librarians in similar situations compared otes and highlighted the variety of federal libraries in the Washington area.
Annette Gohlke of Library Benchmarking International explored ways to quantify the benefits a library provides to an organization.
"Libraries have been running uphill for the last 15 years," Gohlke said. How can librarians use numbers to reverse this trend? Gohlke had concrete examples.
"Are you meeting or exceeding customer expectations?" Gohlke asked. "Which function is absorbing your budget?" She advised that 80 percent of labor should be on the front line.
Many librarians are uncomfortable with numbers, Gohlke said, but "it is hard to sell an intuition." It is important to collect good data for fact-based decisions and learn how to present data in interesting ways. Always report these results to managers. "I was naive enough to believe that if you do good things, people will recognize them and pat you on the back," Gohlke said. "I was depressed to realize that does not happen," said Gohlke.
Piggyback on the organizations strategic plan and "let them know you are on the same train, heading the same direction," said Gohlke. Show how needs match services and how the collection aligns with the organizational mission. "We need to be able--just as the private sector does--to look at operations and improve upon them," Gohlke said. "That is called benchmarking."
Celebrate success and publish. "We have to feel more self-confident and share what we know," said Gohlke. And, finally, "change your processes before you ask management for more of everything."
The afternoon panel featured speakers from commercial information services, who discussed their marketing strategies and the programs they have developed to help librarians.
Herbert White, Distinguished Professor and Dean Emeritus at Indiana University suggested strategies for negotiating with managers. "The essence of management communication is exception reporting," White said. "Tell them what is wrong and how it is their fault."
If your budget is cut, let managers know how your librarys services will be reduced as a result. "Some bad things have to happen," White said. "The police are good at exception reporting; they say go ahead and cut the police budget, but you will die."
White noted that libraries are a part of an organizations overhead. "So are generals," he said. "Generals do not 'do' anything either...but they do create an environment for 'doing.' Generals are politically more successful than librarians in persuading decision makers that they are 'comfortable to have around.' Libraries, too, bring comfort, convenience, and some cost effectiveness to an organization. "You have to show managers how libraries help them do their jobs," said White.
On the surface, not having a library is cheaper. But what is the price? Shifting work to end-users also costs money. "The premise that end-users are free while we cost money will kill us all," he said. Being "overhead" means that "users are not necessarily your political clients. You may be in competition with them for money. They will not save you, although they may sympathize," said White.
White said that organizations start with the conclusion that they will downsize without having analyzed efficient staff cuts. They cut out positions and then say "we do not know what those people did--presumably nothing." He warned librarians that in an atmosphere of downsizing, anyone who spends money is your rival; every dollar they get is a dollar you do not get.
White compared valid and cosmetic outsourcing. Valid outsourcing occurs when no one in the organization has the needed sklls, or an outside source can do a task just as well but more quickly or cheaply. In contrast, cosmetic outsourcing allows for downsizing. "It is not how much money you spend; it is how you look," White said. "If you outsource a library and it reports to a librarian, that is one thing. If it reports to a contracting officer, you are going to get garbage back," said White.
To defend a library against outsourcing, have in-house people who understand processes and can take part in planning. "The best reason for not being downsized or outsourced is to be personally known by senior managers. People do not fire friends," said White.
White defined marketing as "a destabilizing process of offering services that people might want." If there is a positive reaction to marketing, tell management all these people want this service and ask what should we do? "This may make managers angry, but it works," said White.
Peter Drucker, author of Managing for the Future and Post Capitalist Society, writes that "the future belongs to knowledge workers." Because new technologies bring information overload, "knowledge workers are the people who tell you what you ought to use, which requires trust," said White.
Librarians must ask whether they deal with content, or containers. "We are perceived to be in the wine bottle business," said White. "So, what business are we in, and how well do we operate in it? If it is making better buggy whips, there is no market for it, nor will there be a market for information containers," said White. "Technology provides the ability to be an excellent library," he continued. "There need no longer be such a thing as a bad library. But good libraries will require more people. Nothing can be done with nothing," said White.
Whites final advice to federal librarians was to aim high and stop focusing on the bottom line. "Your job is not to run a cheap library but to run a good one!" he said. "If you stood in the shower shredding $20 bills all day long, you could not affect the Defense Departments budget. So run the best library you know how to run. In the absence of money, there is always money. If it is worth doing, someone will find money to do it," said White.
Tamsen Dalrymple, department manager of Product Planning and Communications at OCLC, discussed the organizations history and products. OCLCs mission is to "create and enhance services that accommodate member libraries needs just as they create and enhance services to accommodate users needs," said Dalrymple. Keys to implement a successful mission include listening, observing, and providing libraries with products and tools which allow patrons access.
"Do not just be a library home page manager, but get actively involved in making agency information available online," said David Brown, director of Government Services for Knight-Ridder Information.
Brown predicted that the information center of the future will include a 24-hour virtual library, just-in-time document delivery, and an internal/external home page. Librarians will provide information synthesis--managing external search services, performing data analysis, and creating research reports. They will serve as organization knowledge managers, developing a framework for leveraging employee knowledge, building internal knowledge management systems, and facilitating internal creation of knowledge. Knight-Ridder Information offers free video seminars on knowledge management through its Quantum Program. For more information, call (703) 908-2388.
William Lindberg, manager of Educational Services for West Publishing highlighted Wests Information Innovators newsletter, which profiles law librarians who are reinventing the services offered by their libraries.
"A lawyer views a library as his or her laboratory. It behooves you to be in the face of your librarys manager," said Lindberg. As Wayne Gretsky says, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been." For more information on Information Innovators, call or email Marc Conklin at (612) 687-4768 or [email protected].
Abram and White closed the program. Abram noted that in many of the presentations, there had been an underlying assumption that librarians can manage their way out of the threats and opportunities posed by changes in technology. "Instead," he said, "you should lead your way out of it."
"Putting knowledge to work is a wonderful theme for today," said White. Like Abrams, he encouraged librarians to take a lead in confronting new technologies. "Do not be afraid to be a visionary," he said. "It is easier to get a lot of money than a little bit. Decide what ought to be done and give them that first. Do not start with the price, create the vision. That is what planning is."If you provide a vision, managers will know whatthey turned down. "Saying no should be painful for them," said White.
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By Jessica Clark
The technology of the World Wide Web is developing rapidly, but most Web sites still use a simple coding system called Hypertext Markup Language, often called HTML. Web users do not need to know HTML to browse the Web, but a basic understanding of HTML codes can make using the Web easier.
There are many books, online tutorials, and files of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to teach beginners about how to use HTML. The Library of Congress Home Page, (http://www.loc.gov/global/explore.html), provides a gateway to resources for both beginners and seasoned Web users. Another great resource for HTML information is the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C (http://www.w3.org). This international organization, founded in 1994 to develop common standards for the evolution of the Web, provides a cornucopia of online information about HTML codes and standards.
Designers can create HTML documents in several ways. Some choose simple text editing or word processing software, while others prefer text-based HTML editors, which provide coding shortcuts and checking. Some even use What You See Is What You Get editors (WYSIWYG, pronounced "wizzywig"), where users create Web pages with icons and visual formats instead of just text-based codes. HTML purists prefer to write with codes that reveal each command and allow separate changes. Freeware versions of various HTML editors are available online; two commonly used editors are HTML Assistant Pro and BBEdit.
There are many additional bells and whistles designers can use: JAVA scripts, frames, and animations, but the basic HTML document must still have a beginning, middle, and end. Below is a sample template:
The HTML user types codes or tags:
1, 2, 3...
The browser begins the displays with the word template at the top of the window. Then it completes the coding instructions:
1, 2, 3...
The user then completes the <HTML> tag by providing a brief, descriptive title between the <head><title> and </head></title> tags in the browser window. The document is then ready to print.
What the browser displays is the middle of the document, bracketed by the <body> and <\body> tags. The user can also format and emphasize text, with specialized tags such as header denotations <H1> style <strong>, or paragraph breaks <p>. Finally, the designer closes each HTML document with the </body> and </HTML> tags and saves the file with an .htm or .HTML file extension.
Often, HTML documents contain links to other Web sites or other ages. By revising the previous template, it is easy to add a link:
The user types:
1, 2, 3...
<a href="loc.www.gov">Link to FLICC/FEDLINK Home Page<
The browser then displays:
[The word template at the top of the browser window]
1, 2, 3...
Link to FLICC/FEDLINK Home Page
Many browsers underline hypertext, or text that links the browser to another Web site. By viewing this template in a browser and then clicking on the underlined text, Link to the FLICC/FEDLINK Home Page, the browser would retrieve the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or address that is embedded in the link. A similar HTML code creates links within documents, such as a table of contents or a set of linked footnotes.
Why should librarians know the basics of HTML, even if they do not intend to create WWW documents? With a basic understanding of HTML, librarians can:
The Web can seem daunting, but with translation of its acronyms and explanations about the working of the Internet, it can become a valuable resource. FEDLINK Technical Notes plans to continue to provide regular insight into HTML and other Internet technologies. If you have suggestions or questions for future articles, please send them to [email protected].
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Jim Oliver, FEDLINKs Vendor Services Coordinator since 1990, describes himself as "the liaison--and lightening rod--between the vendors and the member community."
He knows vendors and their concerns first hand, after working as a contracts consultant for two federal governmentvendors: Recognition Equipment, Inc. in 1989 and Control Data Corporation from 1970-89. "Having been on the other side of the fence helps me understand the vendors viewpoint and their dealings with the government," said Oliver.
His retail experience has also contributed to his work at FEDLINK. "One of my pet peeves is customer service," he said. "I hated seeing someone walk into the store and not be approached by salespeople. Even if they are only looking, customers should know that someone is there to help them. Over time, I think I have established a good rapport with our vendors, and I think they know I am there if they need help or answers."
Oliver informs and educates members about vendor services, keeps vendors up-to-date on the FEDLINK program, and helps to resolve billing quandaries. A major benefit that FEDLINK provides to vendors is prompt payment of invoices.
"We try to make working with the government easier," Oliver said, "and I think they are very appreciative of that."
There has been a 25 percent increase in the FEDLINK vendor community since Oliver began in 1990. In FY96, the number of FEDLINK book vendors increased by 40 percent when bidding was opened up to publishers and specialty book jobbers. "We try to be sensitive to member requests," Oliver said. Many new vendors, as a result of member recommendation, have been recruited in the past year to continue to improve services.
"One of my bigger challenges is keeping up with the technology," Oliver said. "But that is to be expected." As his B.S. in Industrial Education at the University of Maryland taught him, "things are always bound to change. To keep up with technological advances I attend as many of the national and regional online library conferences as time allows"
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The National Library of Education is helping FLICC/FEDLINK extend educational opportunities to FEDLINK members outside the DC Area. Through a special cooperative agreement with FLICC, the National Library of Education (NLE) has cataloged the video recordings of many FLICC/FEDLINK educational programs and will lend these programs to FEDLINK members through the OCLC Interlibrary Loan Subsystem. NLE will also enclose a copy of the printed resources furnished to participants in the live programs.
The following FLICC/FEDLINK programs are presently available for Interlibrary Loan through the National Library of Education (OCLC symbol NIE):
|35827076||1||1995 Information Technology Update: "Understanding Information Technology Regulations and Standards and Putting them to Work" (09/12/95): 3 videotapes and handouts (6 hours)--presents actors and thinkers involved in the development and implementation of information technology regulations and standards that apply to libraries.|
|35827082||2||FLICC Federal Library Collection Management Series: "Preserving Federal Depository Library Materials for Todays User and Users in the 21st Century." (4/19/96): 2 videotapes (4 hours)--focuses on the implications and issues affecting the preservation of digital formats in Federal and Depository Libraries. Speakers clarify who has responsibility for these materials and explain how to preserve electronic information for the public.|
|35827073||3||1995 FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies, "The Life Cycle of Government Information: Challenges of Electronic Innovation" (03/24/95): 4 videotapes (6½ hours)--examines the effects of technology on government information and suggests innovative ways to respond to the new opportunities. Renowned author and futurist, Alvin Toffler, shares his vision on this multifaceted shift in society and the information industry.|
|35827084||4||Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. (12/4/95): 1 videotape (2½ hours)--discusses pros, cons, cost considerations, and alternatives to using OCLC ILL Fee Management. It also reviews OCLCs Custom Holdings and how to identify favored lending partners. It highlights experiences using FirstSearch and other online methods to obtain documents.|
|35827089||5||Internet Brownbag Discussion Series: "Reference Service by Email: Part II." (5/9/96): 1 videotape (2½ hours)--covers a broad array of topics, including email reference service, reference policies, patron "interviews" by email, management and workload issues, referrals, and patron expectations.|
|35827203||6||Internet Brownbag Discussion Series: "Internet-Accessible Resources for Library Technical Services: A Tour of the Library of Congress MARVEL Gopher." (4/12/96): 1 videotape (2½ hours)--leads a tour of LC MARVEL menus, with stops at Cataloging, Acquisitions & Serials, Interlibrary Loan at LC, Z39.50, and FLICC. Susan Morris, assistant to the director for cataloging and Internet coordinator for the Cataloging Directorate at LC, guides the tour which includes excursions to other libraries online catalogs and a vast array of resources on the Internet.|
|35827085||7||Internet Brownbag Discussion Series: "Internet Resources at the Reference Desk" (08/02/95): 3 videotapes and handouts (6 hours)--examines browsing on the Internet, with an overview of Internet materials and tips on staying current. The audience discusses how the Internet answers questions best in an electronic format.|
|35827080||8||FEDLINK 1995 Fall Membership Meeting (11/08/95): 2 videotapes (3½ hours)--discusses how the National Archives and Records Administration implements the Government Information Locator System (GILS) and reports on the Government Printing Office and its ACCESS Program to GILS. The agenda includes updates from FLICC, its working groups, and LCs Contracts and Logistics Services.|
This list of videotapes continues to grow. In early 1997 FEDLINK will finish updating catalog records and related OCLC Authority Records, and then review and revise bibliographic records to align access points with the OCLC Authorities and descriptive data. Meanwhile, users can search on the OCLC control numbers above. For the current list of the entire cataloged series, users can enter the derived search: vid,ta,of,f<F11>
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As telecommunication technology continues to develop, OCLC telecommunications methods will most likely need updating. To maintain minimum levels of OCLC access and functions, users will need to prepare for these changes whether they have TCP/IP via dial access or dedicated, leased telecommunication lines.
OCLC recommends planning for the next generation of OCLC access and communications and offers the following advice:
OCLC urges all members with dedicated lines to reassess their access options. Members with low-use dedicated lines and/or fewer than eight ports should plan to switch from dedicated lines to Internet access. OCLC has waived any fee for uninstalling multidrop modems (OCLC Product Code NRC7256). For more information, call the FEDLINK OCLC team at (202) 707-4848.
A test file of 82 different kinds of records (OCLC MARC and PromptCat data records) is available by ftp (OCLC EDX). PromptCat data exist when no matching OCLC record is found, or when the library has profiled not to receive matching bib records. OCLC has not provided local fields (910 etc.) in the test file, and OCLC cannot furnish customized test files. To access the file, request a password and instructions from Scott Carpenter (OCLC) email: [email protected], or phone (800) 848-5800. For more information, contact FEDLINKs OCLC team at (202) 707-4848.
FirstSearchs new enhancement, which arrived on September 22, offers highly visible changes to its Web version. The new version improves full-text accessibility and strengthens OCLCs access to Internet resources through NetFirst. This latest upgrade consists of three major enhancements:
"These three enhancements extend FirstSearchs competitive edge," said Rick Noble, vice president, OCLC Marketing and Reference Services Division. "They also leverage user-requested investments we have made in ASCII full-text and Internet navigation by making both easier to use and administer."
Full-text is easier to access with new links from the citation level to the full-text of articles. Users can find full-text directly from the brief records list in ABI/INFORM, Business Dateline, Business & Industry, EBSCO MasterFILE, The New York Times, and Periodical Abstracts. An icon for "full-text online" appears in the results list and, when they are selected, the records appear in full-text display.
To activate the full-text onlineicon, users turn on full-text from the FirstSearch Administrative Module and the online icon appears. If needed, users will be prompted for a password before the full-text display appears. To display the full-text, users click on the icon.
All current full-text functionality remains available, including navigation and email. From bibliographic records, users access full-text through the Document Ordering Module by clicking on the "Get/Display Item" button. Web users viewing records with the full-text online field will see an icon to view the full-text immediately without navigating additional screens.
FirstSearch and EPIC services both offer NetFirst, an authoritative directory of Internet-accessible resources. The database contains more than 60,000 records and covers World Wide Web sites, listservs and other discussion lists, Usenet newsgroups, and anonymous FTP sites. With monthly updates, the database may gain more than 2,500 records per month. As it grows, the database will add other important Internet resources, such as electronic journals, newsletters, gopher sites, and library catalogs.
NetFirst records contain bibliographic information, complete with summary descriptions and subject headings, describing Internet accessible resources. They also contain "live" addresses--URLs, email addresses, IP addresses, newsgroup names--formatted as hypertext links, available when users access NetFirst via FirstSearch Web.
NetFirst gives users a new way to search for Internet-accessible resources through a subject hierarchy based on the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). Users can also exploit the power of NetFirsts subject indexing and classification information without a prior understanding of the DDC.
Users simply enter a search term and then click on "Browse" to go as many as three levels deep into the subject hierarchy. The NetFirst browser presents lists in a "stepped" process. Users choose from a list of 10 broad subject categories that correspond to the 10 main classes of the DDC. Users make a selection, then a list of 10 topics (corresponding to the Dewey Second Summary) appears. Again, users select, and a list of 10 subtopics (corresponding to the Dewey Third Summary) appears. All three lists appear on the page together so that users can choose the category, topic, and subtopics they need.
Users can retrieve records for any category, topic, or subtopic that appears. Searches count only when users ask to see records. If no NetFirst records exist in a particular category, topic, or subtopic, the category, topic, or subtopic will not appear on the browse list. Users can select all of the items in a category, topic, or subtopic, and can search in combination with a selected category, topic, or subtopic.
Consolidation of Copyright and Search Screens
In the new FirstSearch Web release, the copyright screen for each database is consolidated with the database search screen to streamline searching. When users select a database, the search screen includes the database copyright statement and logo with coverage information. Users can begin searching directly from that screen.
Electronic Journals Online (EJO)
The OCLC Electronic Journals Online Service currently provides access to 48 online journals via the Internet and dial access. A growing number of these journals are available via the EJO World Wide Web interface.
Electronic journals offer information with unprecedented speed, eliminating the long wait for print journal delivery. Also, users have effective searching capabilities. Every article is searchable by subject, title, author, keyword, date, and a full range of Boolean and proximity operators.
OCLC has renamed this service Electronic Collections Online (ECO). To reach the demo version of ECO try the following URL: http://www.oclc.org/electroniccollections/
On December 5, 1996, OCLC began shipping the Inter Library Loan Micro Enhancer (ILL ME) for Windows to members who hav ordered this product.
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Last year FEDLINK issued RFP95-27 to establish a BOA for cataloging and physical processing services. Several members have requested access to this document to support developing their requirements or learning more about the FEDLINK agreement. Although not accessible from the FLICC/FEDLINK home page, you may download it from a Library of Congress file server via anonymous ftp at the following location: ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/flicc/rfp/95-27/wp. It is available in both WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. If you prefer the latter, substitute msw for wp at the end of the location. It is divided into several files, such as "rfp95-27.c"--the Statement of Work. A future Fedlink Technical Notes will discuss the growing number of cataloging options available through FEDLINK agreements with the utilities, the Technical Processing Services BOAs, and the FEDLINKBooks vendors.
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FEDLINK will be in the Seattle area June 7--12, 1997, for the Special Libraries Association Convention.
Would you like hands-on training designed for your program?
Do you or your staff need more information on:
For more information or to start planning your training now call Milton MeGee at (202) 707-4873 or email [email protected]
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Dangerous Liaisons? Partnering With Computer Professionals to Create Digital Information Services
The 1996 FLICC Symposium on the Information Professional
More and more often, federal librarians are creating digital reference products related to the special collections of their libraries. In order to produce web pages, CD-ROMs or database systems, librarians must combine their subject, reference, and cataloging expertise with the skills of their agencys Information Resource Management (IRM) staff.
Such partnerships can be difficult to negotiate. On September 24, the 1996 FLICC Symposium on the Information Professional--entitled "Dangerous Liaisons? Partnering With Computer Professionals to Create Digital Information Services"--brought representatives from libraries and IRM departments together to share partnership strategies. The FLICC Newsletter covered the symposium in depth in a special, 8-page section.
Download it or, if you are interested in obtaining a copy of the Winter 1997 FLICC Newsletter, call the Federal Library and Information Center Committee at: (202) 707-4800.
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for the following FLICC/FEDLINK materials:
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FEDLINK Technical Notes is published by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee.
Send suggestions of areas for FLICC attention or for inclusion in FEDLINK Technical Notes to:
FEDLINK Technical Notes Federal Library and Information Center Committee Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540-4935
FLICC/FEDLINK: Phone (202) 707-4800 Fax (202) 707-4818
FEDLINK Fiscal Operations: Phone (202) 707-4900 Fax (202) 707-4999
Executive Director: Susan Tarr
Editor-In-Chief: Robin Hatziyannis
Editor/Writer: Jessica Clark
Editorial Assistant: Mitchell Harrison
FLICC was established in 1965 (as the Federal Library Committee) by the Library of Congress and the Bureau of the Budget for the purpose of concentrating the intellectual resources of the federal library and related information community. FLICC's goals are: To achieve better utilization of library and information center resources and facilities; to provide more effective planning, development, and operation of federal libraries and information centers; to promote an optimum exchange of experience, skill, and resources; to promote more effective service to the nation at large and to foster relevant educational opportunities.
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