Information Update - Fall 1998

From the Library Director

Two major projects face the Weinberg Library as we open the 1998/99 academic year: the implementation of the Journal Use Study and the implementation of DRA Web2.
Nationally the rise in the cost of journals has exceeded the amount of funding available for their acquisition. The dilemma faced by the Weinberg Library is to provide the journals our users need without diverting all acquisition funds to the maintenance of journal subscriptions. This year the Journal Use Subcommittee of the Library Advisory Committee will begin a study of the use of journals in the Weinberg Library beginning on September 1, 1998, and continuing until May 31,1999. The purpose of the study is to determine the frequency of use and cost-per-use of journals. This study will prove extremely valuable in helping academic departments and the Library decide whether or not to maintain a subscription in print format or in full-text electronic format.
Look for a new version of the Library's web version of its Online Public Catalog (OPC) in time for the Spring 1999 semester. DRA Web2 is the next generation of Data Research Associates' web-based OPC. As a highly effective, fully functional World Wide Web OPC, it allows simultaneous transparent searches of multiple bibliographic databases and merging of the results. To help users find exactly what they are looking for, searches may be limited a number of ways including material type and language. Users may also request titles, view/edit patron information, submit suggestions to the library, and view information about the library. This product is designed to enhance both the patron and library staff's use of the OPC by making it easy to navigate and user-friendly.
What makes Web2 stand out above every other OPC is that it provides the library the complete control of its interface down to the smallest detail. Total customization is available because the graphical and textual appearance of the OPC is specified through standard HTML - the language of all web sites - while its behavior is managed through specialized DRA Web2 commands and macros embedded in the HTML. This allows each library to change simple aspects such as graphics and text, or completely change the workflow of the system without the need to change the underlying program that performs the actual work. All levels of customization can be easily modified at any time.
This versatility in customizing Web2 permits each library complete decision-making autonomy over its catalog display. Items such as how a search is displayed, which fields will display from the MARC record and how and what holdings will be displayed are all determined by the library. A library can also determine its own search keys for Z39.50 connections. Let us know what you think of this new product.
Charles Kratz, Library Director
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