Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FW: When is a new serial record best for patrons?

Posting to Autocat

On Tue, 12 Jan 2010 09:35:30 -0800, Steven C Shadle wrote:


Thanks so much for the clarifications. You make some excellent points. I'd like to make some further clarifications myself.

>>With virtual materials, more and more systems are being built with a link from the article metadata straight to the journal article and the user needs to know practically nothing about the serial as a whole.

>What metadata are you talking about? SICIs never really caught on. DOIs only get a user to the version that *publisher* has registered. At this point, I know of literally no publishers who submit to CrossRef not only their own online version, but also all of the providers that they have licensed the electronic rights to.
Right now, it works from only from within a specific database, e.g. within Lexis-Nexis or Ebsco. It breaks down quite a bit once we get outside a database. So, if someone finds an article in Google Scholar, you still have to search different databases much as before computers (only you use a computer!). There are some workarounds for this, since I have seen some Firefox plugins that do some quite wondrous linking.

In my own opinion, linking to an item that is already in an online database should not be such a terrible problem from the technical viewpoint. It is a problem that can be fixed when publishers want it badly enough. Many publishers are finding themselves in dire straits today and I believe they will find the additional incentive to create tools for reliable linking so that when someone finds an article he or she wants, it should be very easy to get to it so that they can decide whether or not to buy it. Various options exist right now that can achieve this. I would say that most of these efforts will happen through Google Scholar since publishers are looking for the biggest bang for the buck. After all, it's the publishers' bread and butter.

It also demonstrates the absolute importance of metadata--so long that as metadata can be shared in all kinds of ways so that as many people as possible can become aware of materials they may want, and--in my opinion--why high quality standards are also important, which all lead to the importance of cataloging and catalogers.

>However, latest entry is not the panacea for users that you portray as it really depends on the implementation (ie, what does the user see. Regina Reynolds & Cindy Hepfer recently did a piece for Information Standards Quarterly "In Search of Best Practices for Presentation of E-Journals" Spring 2009, Volume 21, Issue 2, 18-24) where they describe a scenario of a student with an older citation trying to find an article. Former journal titles exist in citations and unless the discovery system clearly meets the user's title expectations/assumptions early on the process, discovery will fail. Or put another way, a latest entry record in my III WebPAC won't help the user with an earlier title because our above the fold display is typically 1XX, 245, local holdings. Mention of any earlier titles happens towards the bottom of the detailed display.
This is really an excellent point and is yet another example of how the current OPAC fails in comparison with the old card catalog in terms of display. For those out there who haven't seen this in action before, here's an example from the Princeton catalog. There are lots of more complex and better examples out there but of course, I can't find any right now (I just hope the links work):

Title for earliest entry: Monthly review (London, England : 1749),8&Search_Arg=monthly%20review&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=50&REC=0&RD=0&RC=0&&SID=6

The earlier/later links are not implemented in Princeton's catalog so you have to search manually. But in the card catalog, it is:

When searching in the OPAC, the multiple display of all the various entries is rather incoherent.

My own opinion of all of this is we are still thinking in terms of making separate records, which equals making a catalog card, or the unit card. The display of a computer is much more powerful than only showing a single record. With relational databases, it can take bits and pieces of information from all over the place and off of the web as well. We see this now in OPACs that use separate authority and circulation modules, and maybe import tags from LibraryThing with book covers from Amazon, but they can do far more than that. Other formats are still more powerful. And if there would be at least some level of cooperation, the possibilities are almost

This leads to my arguments that I have made several times against viewing the "manifestation record" as something that is separately created and hand-made (i.e. the catalog card) instead of a dynamic entity created from an entire host of different bits and pieces. (That's why I say that there is no such thing as a "manifestation") This is the way any webpage works, by taking all kinds of files from all over and displaying them on your machine.

When looked at in this way, the catalog record (i.e. the public display) becomes far more interestingâ€"at least I think so!

Somehow it seems that I can always turn the argument into an anti-FRBR rant! :-)

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