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December issue of ITAL Available

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Please note the the first volume of the Journal of Library Automation (JOLA), first published in 1968, is also now available online. JOLA was the predecessor to Information Technology and Libraries. Additional volumes will be published shortly.

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Information Technology and Libraries

Volume 31, Number 4 (December 2012)




Bob Gerrity

Editor’s Comments


Ed Tallent

Editorial Board Thoughts: Technology and Mission: Reflections of a First-Year Library Director




David Ward, Jim Hahn, Kirsten Feist

Autocomplete as a Research Tool: A Study on Providing Search Suggestions

As the library website and on its online searching tools become the primary “branch” many users visit for their research, methods for providing automated, context-sensitive research assistance need to be developed to guide unmediated searching towards the most relevant results. This study examines one such method, the use of autocompletion in search interfaces, by conducting usability tests on its use in typical academic research scenarios. The study reports notable findings on user preference for autocomplete features, and suggests best practices for their implementation.


Susan Thompson

Student Use of Library Computers: Are Desktop Computers Still Relevant in Today’s Libraries?

Academic libraries have traditionally provided computers for students to access their collections and, more recently, facilitate all aspects of studying. Recent changes in technology, particularly the increased presence of mobile devices, calls into question how libraries can best provide technology support and how it might impact the use of other library services. A two-year study conducted at California State University San Marcos library analyzed student use of the computers in the library, both the library’s own desktop computers and laptops owned by students. The results found that, despite the increased ownership of mobile technology by students, they still clearly preferred to use desktop computers in the library. It also showed that students who used computers in the library were more likely to use other library services and physical collections.


Victor Jesús Sosa-Sosa and Emigdio M. Hernandez-Ramirez

A File Storage Service on a Cloud Computing Environment for Digital Libraries

This paper introduces a file storage service that is implemented on a private/hybrid cloud computing environment. The entire system was implemented using open source software. The characteristic of elasticity is supported by virtualization technologies allowing to increase and to decrease the computing and storage resources based on their demand. An evaluation of performance and resource consumption was made using several levels of data availability and fault tolerance. The set of modules included in this storage environment can be taken as a reference guide for IT staff that wants to have some experience building a modest cloud storage infrastructure.


Eun G. Park and Sam Oh

Examining Attributes of Open Standard File Formats for Long-term Preservation and Open Access

This study examines the attributes that have been used to assess file formats in literature and compiles the most frequently used attributes of file formats in order to establish open standard file format selection criteria. A comprehensive review was undertaken to identify the current knowledge regarding file format selection criteria. The findings indicate that the most common criteria can be categorized into five major groups: functionality, metadata, openness, interoperability, and independence. These attributes appear to be closely related. Additional attributes include presentation, authenticity, adoption, protection, preservation, reference, and others.