A couple of interesting items for discussion have come across various listservs lately. So, while many of you may have seen the following items, I thought I’d post them for those who haven’t.
Article of Interest
After losing users in catalogs, libraries find better search software
This is an article by Marc Parry in the Chronicle of High Education.
Here’s a sampling of what’s discussed:
The problem is that traditional online library catalogs don’t tend to order search results by ranked relevance, and they can befuddle users with clunky interfaces…
…That’s changing because of two technology trends. First, a growing number of universities are shelling out serious money for sophisticated software that makes exploring their collections more like the easy-to-filter experience you might find in an online Sears catalog.
Second, Virginia and several other colleges, including Villanova University and the University of Rochester, are producing free open-source programs that tackle the same problems with no licensing fees.
A key feature of this software genre is that it helps you make sense of data through “faceted” searching, common when you shop online for a new jacket or a stereo system. Say you type in “Susan B. Anthony.” The new system will ask if you want books by her or about her, said Susan L. Gibbons, vice provost and dean of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries. Users can also sort by media type, language, and date.
Discussion Paper addressing the subject access treatment for cooking and cookbooks
This came across several listservs, but as they are asking for feedback, I’m reposting the announcement in its entirety.
In response to a long-standing and generally recognized need to modernize the subject headings treatment for cooking and cookbooks, the ABA Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress is in the initial planning stages of a project to revise the headings used in this area. A discussion paper has been posted. Tentative decisions have been made about some aspects of the project; for other aspects, various options are under consideration and no decisions have yet been made. PSD invites public comment on the plans described in the discussion paper.
In recognition of public interest in this topic and of the enormous number of subject heading revisions involved, as well as the volume of materials affected by this policy decision, comment is encouraged. Interested parties are invited to send comments on these plans to Libby Dechman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for comment is December 1, 2009.