News & Noteworthy

September ITAL available

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the September issue of Information Technology and Libraries.

Issue contents are listed below. To receive automatic notifications of future issues, please subscribe to ITAL.

Suggestions and feedback are always welcome, please send to:

Bob Gerrity
ITAL Editor
gerrityr (at)

Information Technology and Libraries
Volume 31, Number 3 (September 2012)


Bob Gerrity
Editor’s Comments

Cynthia Porter
Editorial Board Thoughts: Appreciation for History


Ian Chan, Pearl Ly, Yvonne Meulemans
Extending IM beyond the Reference Desk: A Case Study on the Integration of Chat Reference and Library-Wide Instant Messaging Network

Openfire is an open source IM network and a single unified application that meets the needs of chat reference and internal communications. In Fall 2009, the California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Library began use of Openfire and other Jive software instant messaging technologies, to simultaneously improve our existing IM-integrated chat reference software and implement an internal IM network. This case study describes the chat reference and internal communications environment at the CSUSM Library and the selection, implementation, and evaluation of Openfire. In addition, the authors discuss the benefits of deploying an integrated instant messaging and chat reference network.

Richard Gartner
METS as an ‘Intermediary’ Schema for a Digital Library of Complex Scientific Multimedia

The use of the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) schema as a mechanism for delivering a digital library of complex scientific multimedia is examined as an alternative to the Fedora Content Model (FCM). Using METS as an ‘intermediary’ schema, where it functions as a template which is populated with content metadata on-the-fly using an XSLT transformation, it is possible to replicate the flexibility of structure and granularity of FCM while avoiding its complexity and often substantial demands on developers.

Emily Morton-Owens and Karen Hanson
Trends at a Glance: A Management Dashboard of Library Statistics

Systems librarians at an academic medical library created a management data dashboard. Charts were designed using best practices for data visualization and dashboard layout, and include metrics on gatecount, website visits, IM reference chats, circulation, and ILL volume and turnaround time. Several charts draw on EZproxy log data that has been analyzed and linked to other databases to reveal use by different academic departments and user roles (such as faculty or student). Most charts are bar charts and include a linear regression trendline. The implementation uses Perl scripts to retrieve data from eight different sources and add it to a MySQL data warehouse, from which PHP/Javascript webpages use Google Chart Tools to create the dashboard charts.

Kate Pittsley and Sara Memmott
Improving Independent Student Navigation of Complex Educational Web Sites: An Analysis of Two Navigation Design Changes in LibGuides

Can the navigation of complex research web sites be improved so that users more often find their way without intermediation or instruction?  Librarians at Eastern Michigan University discovered that students were not recognizing navigational elements on web based research guides and tested possible solutions. In this study, two types of navigation improvements were applied to separate sets of online guides. Both sets of experimental guides showed an increase in use of navigation to secondary pages of the guides..

Bojana Dimi? Surla
Eclipse Editor for MARC Records

Editing bibliographic data is an important part of library information systems. In this paper we discuss existing approaches in developing user interfaces for editing MARC records. There are two basic approaches: screen forms that support entering bibliographic data without knowledge of the MARC structure, and direct editing of MARC records that is shown on the screen. The main result presented in the paper is the Eclipse editor for MARC records that fully supports editing of MARC records. It is written in Java as Eclipse plug-in so it is platform-independent. It can be extended for use with any data store. The paper also presents a Rich Client Platform application made of a MARC editor plug-in which can be used outside of Eclipse. The practical application of the results is integration of the Rich Client Platform application in the BISIS library information system

Yongming Wang and Trevor Dawes
The Next Generation Integrated Library System: A Promise Fulfilled

The adoption of Integrated Library Systems (ILS) became prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s as libraries began or continued to automate their processes.  These systems enabled library staff to work, in many cases, more efficiently than they had been in the past.  However, these systems were also restrictive – especially as the nature of the work began to change, largely in response to the growth of electronic and digital resources – for which these systems were not intended to manage.  New library systems – the second (or next) generation library systems are needed in order to effectively manage the processes of acquiring, describing and making available all library resources.  This article examines the state of library systems today and describes the features needed in a next generation library system.  The authors also examine some of the next generation library systems currently in development that purport to fill the changing needs of libraries.

Melanie Schlosser and Brian Stamper
Learning to Share: Measuring Use of a Digitized Collection of Flickr and in the IR

There is very little public data on usage of digitized library collections. New methods for promoting and sharing digitized collections are created all the time, but very little investigation has been done on the effect of those efforts on usage of the collections on library websites. This study attempts to measure the effects of reposting a collection on Flickr on use of the collection in a library-run institutional repository. The results are inconclusive, but the paper provides background on the topic and guidance for future efforts.


  1. jrochkind

    Great issue, keep up the good work!

  2. jrochkind

    I don’t think there’s any commenting features on the articles themselves, so I’ll leave another comment here:

    Wang and Dawes’ “The Next Generation Integrated Library System: A Promise Fulfilled” is an interesting article, but I think it omits some other serious contenders in “next generation ILS” — both OCLC’s WMS and Serial Solutions Inota are being marketted, and (as far as we can tell) designed in quite similar ways as Ex Libris’s ALMA with regard to including electronic resources in integrated workflows.

    Options are certainly good. It’s noteworthy that the community-driven Kuali OLE is the only one of these products that will be runnable on a library’s own servers (as opposed to being proprietary closed-source software running as a service on a commercial company’s servers), but it’s also unclear how big the market is for software you run yourself. There are undeniable advantages to software that runs as a service (both not having to run it yourself, and certain ‘network effects’ of design, which Alma, WMS, and Innota all mean to take advantage of) — it would certainly be nice if you could have these without locking yourself into a closed-source black-box proprietary solution… but that option does not seem to be on the table.

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