Abstracts

LRTS v 39, no. 2, April 1995

The Use of CD-ROM to Investigate the In-Print/Out-of-Print Subject Patterns for Books

Thomas E. Nisonger

The difficulties presented by out-of-print books along with the library profession's concern about the problem are discussed, while the literature concerning Books in Print Plus and out-of-print book patterns is reviewed. In this investigation, the Books in Print Plus and Books Out-of-Print Plus CD-ROM databases were used to analyze the subject patterns whereby books become out-of-print. On two different occasions identical searches for a range of years in 39 different subject areas were conducted in the two databases in order to calculate in-print/out-of-print proportions, resulting in four sets of data. Analysis of the results revealed, contrary to expectations, remarkably little difference in the percentage of books in-print and out-of-print among the three major branches of knowledge: the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. A number of limitations to this approach are acknowledged, while issues for future research are suggested.

After Cutter: Authority Control in the Twenty-first Century

Jennifer A. Younger

The objectives of Charles Cutter have guided the construction of library catalog and authority control since the nineteenth century. With the computerization of library catalogs, some in the field have strongly advocated the view that authority control is no longer necessary, while others have maintained that it remains necessary. This article attempts to snake a contribution to this ongoing debate by suggesting that the concept of "utility" be introduced into the value system underlying catalog objectives and authority control as complementary to the current goal of "comprehensive recall." Utility, as a concept, calls for focusing our attention on those personal names for which authority control is most likely to prove significant in effective information retrieval. Such an approach supports authority control, yet suggests that practical limits can he defined and applied. If utility became one of the fundamental building blocks underlying our system of authority control, it would serve to provide us with the much needed ability to focus our efforts for the greatest good.

An Investigation of the Use of an Online Catalog: User Characteristics and Transaction Log Analysis

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, John M. Budd, and Thomas R. Kochtanek

A total of 114 sessions on an online catalog were examined to determine what types of searches were conducted and what search modes and fields (title, author, etc.) were used. Implications for this kind of user study are also explored. Examination of transaction logs revealed that title and author searches predominated and that the opportunity to construct Boolean searches was rarely taken advantage of. The searchers themselves reported that they were, on the whole, experienced at using the system; most searched the catalog at least once a week. This experience is reflected in the relatively low instance of error and in the fact that most searches produced at least some hits. The majority of errors that were made in the process of searching were typographical.

Educators and Practitioners Reply: An Assessment of Cataloging Education

Judy MacLeod and Daren Callahan

A recent study of entry-level catalogers indicated that they did not feel sufficiently prepared for their first professional positions by the courses they took in library school. This paper reports the results of a survey of both cataloging educators and practitioners. The survey was designed to gather the opinions of these professionals about cataloging course content, the chief objectives of cataloging education. cataloging practicums, what constitutes preparation for professional cataloging, theory vs. practice, on-the-job training, and the extent of communication between cataloging educators and practitioners. While recent discussions of the status of cataloging education have indicated that course content is becoming more generalized, the results of this study support the value of expanded graduate programs and advanced courses and practicums that utilize practitioners for instruction. The combination of narrative responses and quantitative data from the two groups provides an intriguing comparison of their assessment of contemporary cataloging educational objectives and goals.

Are Title II-C Grants Worth It? The Effects of the Associated Music Library Group's Retrospective Conversion Project

Ruth A. Inman

The benefit received by a university library as a result of the Associated Music Library Group's (AMLG) Department of Education Title II-C grants while conducting a local retrospective conversion project for music scores is the focus of this study. A stratified random sample was taken from the University of Illinois at Chicago's M shelflist, and data indicating the amount of editing required of matching bibliographic records imported from the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.'s, database were collected and analyzed. The AMLG grants did indeed have a measurable impact, noted especially in enhanced bibliographic records.