21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Mountains, Valleys and Pathways: Serials Users’ Needs

August 31, 2006 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Strategy Sessions | Leave a comment


Mountains, Valleys and Pathways: Serials Users’ Needs

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., Consulting Research Scientist, OCLC Office of Research; and Regina Romano Reynolds, Head of the National Serials Data Program at LC
Reported by Janet Arcand

Lynn Silipigni Connaway gave a presentation on the outcomes of a project, “Sense-Making the Information Confluence: The Whys and Hows of College and University User Satisficing of Information Needs”, which was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Ohio State University, and OCLC.  The term “satisficing” comes from the writings of Herbert Alexander Simon on human behavior.  The project was designed to gain insight into the research-gathering activities of three groups of researchers: undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty.  Once the information is assessed, there will be a need to develop catalogs that meet user needs more closely. Ms. Connaway’s presentation focused upon the project’s focus group interviews and semi-structured discussions.  The library was not the first resource that came to mind of any of the researchers, who tended to use human resources (their parents, roommates, professors, colleagues), their personal library, or to search on the Internet.  When questioned about use of library services, undergraduates indicated the library homepage was difficult to use, but graduate students and faculty did utilize the library’s homepage and electronic resources.  However, this was often after familiarizing themselves with the topic first on Google.  Patrons wanted fast, full-text results and indicated the library catalog could use a recommender service like Amazon to enhance the discovery service.

Ms. Reynolds gave the second presentation, on the user-focused nature of both the Access Level Record for Serials and the revised ISSN standard.  Both projects deal with conflicting needs: in the case of the access level record, it was serials catalogers versus patrons, and in the case of the ISSN standard it was subscription agents versus OpenURL needs.   

The Access Level Record is sponsored by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging and CONSER.  The objectives are to develop a single CONSER standard record, to favor access over description, to have it applicable to all serials in all formats, and to have it function in current and future environments.  It should cost less to train catalogers for this work and to create and maintain records based on this standard.  Core FRBR elements were identified by their ability to meet needs (find, identify, select, obtain), and a mandatory element set was created.  All access point fields but few descriptive fields were designated as mandatory.  The resulting cataloging guidelines are intended to be a floor, not a ceiling, for descriptive work, and judgment is left to individual catalogers to decide what is important.  The hidden issue is that users want the displayed information to be clearer and understandable.  The next step is to obtain approval from CONSER and the PCC.

ISO 3297 Revision Working Group worked on the ISSN standard.  The primary conflict is between identification at product level versus manifestation and title level.  Since the suffix solution is incompatible with EAN 13 and would be hard to implement, the Working Group decided to mimic Coca Cola and return to the Classic ISSN but to add the linking ISSN (ISSN-L).  The ISSN-L is the ISSN that enables collocation for linking among different media versions of a continuing serial.  It is a function or mechanism, not a new identifier.  The first assigned media-specific ISSN will also be designated as the ISSN-L.  It will retain its separate role as the ISSN for its manifestation, but add the role as the linking ISSN for all manifestations of a title.  All versions will have both an ISSN and an ISSN-L (it will be one and the same for one version of the title).  ISSN International Center will retrospectively designate the ISSN-L for existing serials.  Future designation of the new ISSN-Ls for new titles is to be determined, as is the MARC field.  If this proposal receives a positive vote, it should be published in the first half of 2007.


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