LRTS v 42, no. 1, January 1998

Managing Traditional Materials in an Online Environment: Some Definitions and Distinctions for a Future Collection Management

Ross Atkinson

Collection management (as opposed to collection development) should be understood as the activity of adding value to -- or deleting value from -- objects of information subsequent to their selection. The management of materials in traditional formats will become increasingly problematic the more we move into an online environment. Although digital resources will sooner or later come to dominate scholarly communication, the effective management of traditional materials will remain essential. While a central goal of libraries must be to manage traditional and digital resources as two aspects of a single service, we must also recognize that all information services will eventually be conditioned by a digital mentality. In order to start planning now for collection management to play a more prominent role in the future of information services, we must begin to define with as much precision as possible the abstract values collection management adds to and deletes from selected information objects.

Gauging the Reception of Choice Reviews through Online Union Catalog Holdings

John C. Calhoun

The reviews in Choice are known to influence book selection, particularly for academic library collections. An investigation was made of how many books that were reviewed over a seven-year period in Choice Reviews (the CD-ROM version of Choice) were subsequently received or purchased at Cain Library of California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), as well as by a large number of other libraries across the country. All of the books mentioned in Choice Reviews were purchased by one or more libraries, while the majority of books were purchased by several hundred libraries. These findings were further tested to determine the extent to which they could be incorporated into an academic approval program. Two notification-slip approval plans were created for new titles from the presses and publishers of the best-received books. Notification-slip titles were searched shortly after they appeared or were profiled by the vendors, and a correlation was found between the later review holdings and these early approval holdings.

Toward a Computer-Generated Subject Validation File: Feasibility and Usefulness

Lois Mai Chan and Diane Vizine-Goetz

Responding to the fact that the library community has long recognized the need for improved efficiency and reliability in subject authority control, we explored the feasibility of automatically creating a subject heading validation file by scanning the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Online Union Catalog (OLUC). The premises were, first, that although the file would not be exhaustive, it would contain the majority of frequently used headings, and second, the predicted level of accuracy in the file would be high. In approach, we focused on finding the density and distribution of assigned headings and the relationship, if any, between density and error rate. We analyzed a sample file of Library of Congress-assigned headings from the OCLC Subject Headings Corrections database The results of the study showed that (1) frequency of use and number of headings at a given rate of use are in inverse relratiexaship; (2) a small number of headings with high frequencies of use accounts for a majority of total use, while a large proportion shows very low frequency of use; (3) topical headings account for about two-thirds of assigned headings; and (4) error and obsolescence rates are both low, and both are in inverse relationship to the frequency of heading use. We concluded that an automatically generated subject heading file is indeed feasible. Such a file would be useful for various purposes: to verify subject heading strings constructed by catalogers, to update subject headings in catalog maintenance, and to validate subject headings during retrospective conversion.

Redundancy and Uniqueness of Subject Access Points in Online Catalogs

Hong Xu and F. W. Lancaster

An analysis of 205 records selected at random from the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Online Union Catalog showed considerable overlap (duplication) among the subject access points provided by the title, subject heading, and classification number fields. Little more than four unique (unduplicated) access points were found, on average, per record. While title and class number fields do add some access points not provided by subject headings, the in-crease is less than many librarians might have expected. It is suggested that the online catalog might outperform the card catalog more in precision than in recall.