databases represent a great benefit and convenience to libraries and their
patrons. Through a single
a library can take advantage of a vendor’s having worked out licensing arrangements with multiple publishers. Hundreds or thousands of titles in full text can come in a single package. A carefully considered expenditure of funds might bring to the patrons access to a great number of titles the library never had before, in any format. For other titles, already owned in hard-copy versions, the user gains a second chance to obtain full text when the original version is not on the shelf or otherwise conveniently accessible. An important part of making this windfall known and available to patrons is its inclusion in the catalog.
strategies for dealing with aggregator databases represent a microcosm of what
we should already be doing in our cataloging and technical services work.
In order to know if we are meeting the needs of our public services and
collection development colleagues, we need to be talking with them.
Their ideas must enter into our thinking if the solutions we devise for
aggregator database access are to be on target.
Our partnership with vendors must begin with obtaining accurate lists of
titles covered in aggregators, and it must extend to ongoing information on
holdings and content relative to other versions.
In between must come understanding of the factors affecting the
assemblage of the vendor’s database and our communicating our indexing needs.
We must come up with flexible, imaginative ways of doing things and
accomplish them quickly. For the
part of the work libraries must do themselves, cooperative efforts based on
mutually-agreed standards are a practical necessity.
sole topic of the Association for Libraries Collections & Technical Services
Technical Services Administrators of Medium-sized Research Libraries Discussion
Group at the 1999 ALA Annual Meeting in New Orleans was “Aggravating or
Aggregating? Providing Effective
Access to Contents of Aggregator Databases.”
Riemer, chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Task Group on Journals
in Aggregator Databases, presented the results of the recent CONSER survey on
the desirability and feasibility of providing title access to aggregator
database content. Scott Dennis, of
the University of Michigan, articulated the perspective of reference and
collection development librarians on this issue.
Diane Smith, Senior Director of Marketing, CIS/Lexis-Nexis, pointed out
an array of factors that affect the title composition and data content of an
aggregator database. Dilys Morris,
Assistant Director for Technical Services at Iowa State University, outlined the
management issues relating to these databases in a technical services
environment. Charles Hamaker, Head
of Technical Services, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, spoke on the
philosophical justification for selectively making catalog links to sources that
are important rather than linking to everything possible.
were available from the first two speakers and are presented in this issue.
If we cataloging and technical services librarians can meet the
bibliographic access challenge of aggregators, then everyone will be able to see
these new resources for the bonanza they are rather than the burden they
currently appear to be.
John J. Riemer
John J. Riemer, BA, MLS, is Assistant Head of Cataloging, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, GA 30602 (E-mail: email@example.com)