Wednesday, January 6, 2010

December 2009 issue now online

The index and linked articles for the December issue are at

Issue Introduction: What Do You Mean by “Discovery”?, by Judith Carter

Mwuah  ha  ha  ha  haaa!  Finally  it’s  my  turn.  I hold  the  power  of  the  editorial.  (Can  you  tell
I’m  writing  this  around  Halloween?)  Seriously now, I’ve been intimately and extensively involved with Information  Technology  and  Libraries  for  eleven  years,  yet this is the first time I’ve escaped from behind the editing scenes  to  address  the  readership  directly.  As  managing editor for seven of the eleven volumes (18–22 and 27–28) and  an  editorial  board  member  reviewing  manuscripts (vols. 23–26), I am honored Marc agreed to let me be guest editor for this theme issue.

“Discovery” Focus as Impetus for Organizational Learning, by Jennifer L. Fabbi

The  University  of  Nevada  Las  Vegas  Libraries’  focus on  the  concept  of  discovery  and  the  tools  and  processes that enable our users to find information began with an organizational review of the Libraries’ Technical Services Division.  This  article  outlines  the  phases  of  this  review  and  subsequent  planning  and  organizational  commitment to discovery. Using the theoretical lens of organizational learning, it highlights how the emerging focus on discovery has provided an impetus for genuine learning and change.

Information Discovery Insights Gained from MultiPAC, a Prototype Library Discovery System, by Alex A. Dolski

At the University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries, as in most libraries, resources are dispersed into a number of closed  “silos”  with  an organization-centric,  rather  than patron-centric,  layout.  Patrons  frequently  have  trouble navigating  and  discovering  the  dozens  of  disparate interfaces,  and  any  attempt  at  a  global  overview  of  our information  offerings  is  at  the  same  time  incomplete and highly complex. While consolidation of interfaces is widely considered to be desirable, certain challenges have made it elusive in practice.

Usability as a Method for Assessing Discovery, by Tom Ipri, Michael Yunkin, and Jeanne M. Brown

The  University  of  Nevada  Las  Vegas  Libraries  engaged in three projects that helped identify areas of its website that  had  inhibited  discovery  of  services  and  resources. These  projects  also  helped  generate  staff  interest  in  the Usability  Working  Group,  which  led  these  endeavors. The first project studied student responses to the site. The second focused on a usability test with the Libraries’ peer research  coaches  and  resulted  in  a  presentation  of  those findings to the Libraries staff. The final project involved a specialized test, the results of which also were presented to staff. All three of these projects led to improvements to the website and will inform a larger redesign.

UNLV Special Collections in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Sommer

University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Special Collections is consistently striving to provide several avenues of discovery to its diverse range of patrons. Specifically, UNLV Special  Collections  has  planned  and  implemented  several online tools to facilitate unearthing treasures in the collections.  These  online  tools  incorporate  Web  2.0  features as well as searchable interfaces to collections.

Smartphones: A Potential Discovery Tool, by Wendy Starkweather and Eva Stowers

The anticipated wide adoption of smartphones by researchers  is  viewed  by  the  authors  as  a  basis  for  developing mobile-based services. In response to the UNLV Libraries’ strategic plan’s focus on experimentation and outreach, the authors investigate the current and potential role of smartphones as a valuable discovery tool for library users.

Building Pathfinders with Free Screen Capture Tools, by Patrick Griffis

This article outlines freely available screen capturing tools, covering  their  benefits  and  drawbacks  as  well  as  their potential applications. In discussing these tools, the author illustrates how they can be used to build pathfinding tutorials for users and how these tutorials can be shared with users. The author notes that the availability of these screen capturing tools at no cost, coupled with their ease of use, provides  ample  opportunity  for  low-stakes  experimentation from library staff in building dynamic pathfinders to promote the discovery of library resources.

Enhancing OPAC Records for Discovery, by Patrick Griffis and Cyrus Ford

This article proposes adding keywords and descriptors to the catalog records of electronic databases and media items to enhance their discovery. The authors contend that subject liaisons can add value to OPAC records and enhance discovery  of  electronic  databases  and  media  items  by providing searchable keywords and resource descriptions. The authors provide an examination of OPAC records at their  own  library,  which  illustrates  the  disparity  of  useful  keywords  and  descriptions  within  the  notes  field  for media item records versus electronic database records. The authors  outline  methods  for  identifying  useful  keywords for  indexing  OPAC  records  of  electronic  databases.  Also included is an analysis of the advantages of using Encore’s Community Tag and Community Review features to allow subject liaisons to work directly in the catalog instead of collaborating with cataloging staff.