Midwinter Conference, January 10, 1998

Minutes of the MLAIB International Bibliography
in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
Midwinter Meeting, ALA Conference, January 10, 1998
New Orleans, Louisiana

1. Welcome and Introduction:

Attendees (23 total) of the session introduced themselves and stated why they were interested in the Discussion Group. Elaine Franco, founder, gave a brief account of the history of the group and announced that the original report created by the Scope and Overlap Committee had been sent to ERIC. At the request of the Chair, Reinhart S., Elaine then gave a brief history of the formation of the Advisory Committee to the MLA IB, of which she was a member, as well as James Kelly, who was present and added comments to Elaine’s account.

2. Appointment of a Recorder:

Faye Christenberry, Chair-Elect of the DG was appointed recorder of the meeting.

3. News and Updates from the MLA Staff:

a) Danielle Uchitelle:

– Danielle took a quick survey of the attendees to see which versions of MLAIB were being used most: approximately half reported that their institutions accessed MLAIB through FirstSearch, the other half, through SilverPlatter. No one uses the tapeload leasing or OVID. In addition, many maintain current subscriptions to both the electronic and print versions of the bibliography.

– A discussion ensued over the following issues: the slowness of MLAIB through FirstSearch; why people are keeping print versions of the MLAIB; how the MLAIB ranks among other popular electronic databases at various institutions; whether or not there will be an electronic version of the Directory of Periodicals (*yes, there will be soon, according to T.Ford).

– Danielle also reported that currently MLA is negotiating a contract with the entire United Kingdom to have access to a tape lease of the bibliography. European coverage is continuing to increase, particularly through SilverPlatter.

b) Terry Ford:

Terry gave the group an update on the following items:

– the system conversion to ORACLE (Lotus Notes) is taking a great deal of time but will make the process of gathering and inputing information much quicker and easier in the future (For example, bibliographers will be able to input materials through a Web-based form.)

– the 1996 bibliography was 5% larger than the year before and to accommodate the increasing size, it is likely the 1997 bibliography will be published in 3 volumes instead of 2

– through the MLA Web site (www.mla.org), we will soon have access to the complete classified listings

– In response to a question about the inclusion of books in the MLA IB, Terry described the success of “Books for the Bibliography,” a project which involves 80 university presses donating copies of all appropriate books to MLA for inclusion into the bibliography.

– Questions to Terry: are there plans to make the thesaurus available through FirstSearch? (answer: no); who proposes new subject terminology for the bibliography? (answer: the bibliographers); how can one become a field bibliographer for MLA? (please contact Terry at: ford@mla.org).

4. Role of field bibliographers (Bill Gargan, Brooklyn College & Faye Christenberry, U of Kansas) Both Bill and Faye gave a brief account of their experiences as bibliographers for MLA: how they became bibliographers; what the workload is like; benefits involved; qualifications (if any) required; problems/issues encountered.

5. MLAIB and its European Competition (Reinhart Sonnenburg):

Reinhart motioned that this discussion be postponed until Annual Conference. Rob Melton (U of Kansas) will look at ABELL and compare its coverage to that of the MLAIB.

6. Motion to shorten the time slot for the discussion group to 1 &1/2 hours:

Reinhart suggested we shorten the meeting time from 3 hours to 1 & ½ . After a brief discussion, it was decided to continue reserving the 3-hour slot, although the meetings may only take 2 hours.

Respectfully submitted,
Faye Christenberry
University of Kansas


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