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Information Technology and Libraries

Volume 31, Number 2 (June 2012)



Colleen Cuddy
Presidents Message: Year in Review–Open Everything

Mark Cyzyk
Editorial Board Thoughts: Doesnt Work


Tudor Groza, AAstrand Grimnes, Siegfried Handschuh
Reference Information Extraction and Processing Using Conditional Random Fields

Fostering both the creation and the linking of data with the scope of supporting the growth of the Linked Data Web requires us to improve the acquisition and extraction mechanisms of the underlying semantic metadata. This is particularly important for the scientific publishing domain, where currently most of the datasets are being created in an author-driven, manual manner. In addition, such datasets capture only fragments of the complete metadata, omitting usually, important elements such as the references, although they represent valuable information. In this paper we present an approach that aims at dealing with this aspect of extraction and processing of reference information. The experimental evaluation shows that, currently, our solution handles very well diverse types of reference format, thus making it usable for, or adaptableto, any area of scientific publishing.

Heather Hessel and Janet Fransen
Resource Discovery: Comparative Survey Results on Two Catalog Interfaces

Like many libraries, the University of Minnesota Libraries-Twin Cities now offers a next-generation catalog alongside a traditional online public access catalog (OPAC). One year after the launch of its new platform as the default catalog, usage data for the OPAC remained relatively high, and anecdotal comments raised questions. In response, the libraries conducted surveys that covered topics such as perceptions of success, known-item searching, preferred search environments, and desirable resourcetypes. Results show distinct differences in the behavior of faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate survey respondents, and between library staff and non-library staff respondents. Both quantitative and qualitative data inform the analysis and conclusions.

Kimberly D. Pendell and Michael S. Bowman
Usability Study of a Library’s Mobile Website: An Example from Portland State University

To discover how a newly developed library mobile website performed across a variety of devices, the authors used a hybrid field and laboratory methodology to conduct a usability test of the website. Twelve student participants were recruited and selected according to phone type. Results revealed a wide array of errors attributed to site design, wireless network connections, as well as phone hardware and software. This study provides an example methodology for testing library mobile websites, identifies issues associated with mobile websites, and provides recommendations for improving the user experience.

Mike Kastellec
Practical Limits to the Scope of Digital Preservation

This paper examines factors that limit the ability of institutions to digitally preserve the cultural heritage of the modern era. The author takes a wide-ranging approach to shed light on limitations to the scope of digital preservation.  The author finds that technological limitations to digital preservation have been addressed but still exist, and that non-technical aspects—access, selection, law, and finances—move into the foreground as technological limitations recede.  The author proposes a nested model of constraints to the scope of digital preservation and concludes that costs are digital preservation’s most pervasive limitation.

Stuart Williamson
Public Library Computer Waiting Queues: Alternatives to the First-Come-First-Served Strategy

This paper summarizes the results of a simulation of alternative queuing strategies for a public library computer sign-up system.  Using computer usage data gathered from a public library, the performance of these various queuing strategies is compared in terms of the distribution of user wait times.  The consequences of partitioning a pool of public computers are illustrated as are the potential benefits of prioritizing users in the waiting queue according to the amount of computer time they desire.

Angela Dresselhaus and Flora Shrode
Mobile Technologies: Do Students Use Mobile Technologies in Their Academic Lives and are Librarians Ready to Meet this Challenge

The authors report on two surveys and offer an introductory plan that librarians may use to begin implementing mobile access to selected library databases and services. Results from the first survey helped us to gain insight into where students at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, Utah, stand regarding their use of mobile devices for academic activities in general and their desire for access to library services and resources in particular. A second survey, conducted with librarians, gave us an idea of the extent to which responding libraries offer mobile access, their future plans for mobile implementation, and their opinions about whether and how mobile technologies may be useful to library patrons. In the last segment of the paper, we outline steps librarians can take as they “go mobile.”

Eva Dodsworth and Andrew Nicholson
Academic Uses of Google Earth and Google Maps in a Library Setting

Over the last several years, Google Earth and Google Maps have been adopted by many academic institutions as academic research and mapping tools. The authors were interested in discovering how popular the Google mapping products are in the academic library setting. A survey was conducted to establish the mapping products’ popularity, and type of use in an academic library setting. Results show that over 90 percent of the respondents use Google Earth and Google Maps either to help answer research questions, to create and access finding aids, for instructional purposes or for promotion and marketing. The authors recommend expanding the mapping product’s user base to include all reference and liaison librarians.