From your 1997-98 OCLC Users' Council Delegates:
Benard Strong Marcia Talley
[log in to unmask] [log in to unmask]
ph: 202-287-9463 ph: 410-293-6905
NOTES OF THE OCLC USERS COUNCIL
REFERENCE SERVICES INTEREST GROUP
MAY 19-20, 1998
Barbara Gubbin, Leader
Kathleen Gunning, Recorder
Tuesday, May 19, 1998
Barbara Gubbin called the meeting to order. Phil Schieber of the
Communications Division reported on a survey of user readership of OCLC
publications. The OCLC Newsletter has outstanding penetration and use
of the Web site is increasing. Thirty-two per cent of those surveyed
indicated that they would be interested in receiving an electronic
update. As a result, Phil announced the launch of OCLC Abstracts on
June 1. This electronic newsletter will be sent weekly to subscribers
using push technology. He invited members of the group to subscribe and
send comments and suggestions. It was suggested that the newsletter
have brief reports with hot links to more detailed stories on the OCLC
Chip Nilges gave a report on current developments and future plans for
FirstSearch and ECO. More than 150 institutions have subscribed to ECO
journals. The online collection will reach 890 journals by the end of
May. Of the ECO journals, 87% include the 1997 backfile. There are
115,000 records in the database. Page-at-a-time display is now
available to improve response time; the first page displays as soon as
it is downloaded rather than waiting for the entire article to download
The integration of FirstSearch and ECO has begun. Goals of integration
* Help libraries integrate ECO journals with existing collections.
* Provide single interface for online reference sources and
* Link from reference databases to ECO content.
* Evolve ECO into an online document delivery resource. Libraries
will be able to purchase individual documents from ECO journals to which
they do not subscribe.
* Make ECO accessible from local online catalog system.
As of June 1997, all ECO journals were cataloged in WorldCat. In early
1998, ECO became a FirstSearch database. Links are now being created
from citations in the FirstSearch databases to articles in ECO. The
goal is to link all databases by the end of 1998.
He then gave a demonstration of ECO's web interface. The user can limit
by topic or by the journals that the library owns in full text. There
are also advanced search features. The user can type in a word and
get a list of journals with that word in the title.
ECO pricing has also been modified to work with the FirstSearch model.
Charges for ECO have been simplified. A library would pay a $300 access
fee (this would be eliminated if the library has a base package
subscription) plus a $35 archiving and updating fee per title. The
archiving fee is to cover the cost of acquiring the content, develop the
interface, and migrate the product as needed. This year OCLC is
offering a Print Subscriber Program. Some group members commented that
libraries need to pay no more (and preferably less) for electronic
versions than they do for print versions of journals. Chip replied that
he expected electronic publishers to unbundle print and electronic
pricing gradually. He gives feedback to publishers on pricing content.
It was asked whether there was a possibility of bundling journal titles
by the databases in which they are indexed. OCLC is interested in that
Over time, the notion of an "issue" may go away; publishers may move to
article-based pricing schemes. ECO will provide use data for journals
in the collection. If article-based pricing occurs, some libraries will
want to provide deposit accounts while others will want users to be able
to charge articles to their own credit cards.
Eric Jul, Associate Director of the OCLC Institute, reported on
Institute activities. The current curriculum has mainly cataloging and
technology management courses. The Institute wants to offer courses to
meet the needs of reference librarians. Eric requested input regarding
process and content.
Group members suggested modules to support OCLC products; perhaps models
for training to be put in place by networks. Consideration should be
given to a distance learning model. The management of new products is a
major reference problem. The library has difficulty in evaluating
resources. Libraries usually belong to several different consortia and
make decisions based upon various consortial pricing options. A major
issue is how to provide reference service when we are no longer building
bound and people no longer have to come to the library to use the
collection. How should staffing be configured to deal with these
issues? A related issue is the development of Reference Web pages by
individual institutions; the situation is similar to the state of
cataloging prior to WorldCat with much duplication of effort among
Tam Dalrymple asked about ways that libraries offer or want to offer Web
resources. NetFirst currently has about 100,000 records in the database
and accounts for about 1.5% of all FirstSearch use.
The following comments were made:
* Librarians are a text-oriented group and it is hard for us to
think graphically. How do we structure Web pages so that people can see
choices easily? How do we display and arrange things? Can OCLC develop
templates with good graphic design?
* Problem of being bound by alphabets and lists; need more
* Problem of authentication of users for subscription databases,
especially for users not at a library or campus site.
* Possibility of using NetFirst as a selection tool.
* When sets of items are retrieved in a search, problem of getting
the most relevant items at the top of the list.
Reference Services/Resource Sharing Joint Meeting
Wednesday, May 20, 1998
Charles Whiting chaired the combined meeting to address the following
In the future (five years? ten years?) how will your library keep track
of who can access online materials, order documents, borrow stuff?
Who can access online materials?
>From desktop, the user might want to go to a huge body of material.
Libraries want core electronic collections to be free to the users.
Some academic institutions don't want to administer costs for individual
use. If have contractors, can use debit cards. There is the possibility
of a multi-tiered system. The standard "core" items would be free, but
there may be with payments for more specialized or lesser-used items.
But the system needs to be simple to monitor and authenticate. Distance
learning situations present authentication problems that must be
addressed. One vendor can authenticate statewide by phone number. One
possibility might be a national library card or state library card.
Libraries could possibly take Web products with an authentication model
and set up tiered access with different privileges and payments for
different categories of users.
Libraries will make more use of commercial delivery services. Will
libraries offer mediated or unmediated ordering? Perhaps libraries can
offer some unmediated ordering by certain categories of users, or if
vendor have flat rates for articles. There is a need for an automatic
catalog search on any search - if in the library's catalog then the user
cannot order. May need more sophisticated software to assist users.
Concern for privacy issues arises if information on use by individuals
A university in NY has had a semester of unmediated ordering for faculty
and is analyzing the experience. There was a similar experience in
Washington but with $30 limit per transaction. In Australia, 2
universities gave faculty unlimited access to FS documents and blew the
One Director reported that 50% of what is needed by his faculty is in
other libraries only. Data on requests for material should inform what
we need to be digitizing.
* Micrometered digital object identifiers will be implemented,
perhaps as detailed as at the paragraph level - we will pay per use
* Library will have to decide what to purchase. The Library's
budget goes to support fewer and fewer resources.
* Rights management is a major issue. Currently, faculty publish
for tenure and give material to commercial publishers. ARL is trying to
find a way to create another market, to work with learned societies and
retain rights to scholarly material - to unbundle tenure credentialing
from "commercial publishing". The bottom line is who owns the rights.
There is a serious problem of achieving cooperation among universities
while universities also compete for scholars. There is a strong
influence of community of scholars in a particular discipline. If they
feel university policies are detrimental to their discipline, their
loyalty is to their discipline. Research scholars need education
regarding copyright issues. They don't realize what they are signing