Annual Conference, June 16, 2001

Minutes of the MLAIB International Bibliography
in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
ALA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA
June 16, 2001


  1. Welcome and Introductions: 

    Chair William Gargan, Brooklyn College, convened the meeting. The 21 persons in attendance introduced themselves. Reba Leiding, James Madison University, agreed to serve as temporary recorder. 

  2. Election of Chair: 

    Susanna Van Sant, University of Maryland, was elected as the incoming chair of the discussion group. 

  3. Update from MLA Headquarters:  

    Barbara Chen, editor of the MLAIB, and Albert Mobilio, Senior Index Editor, were present from the organization. Ms. Chen reported that MLA had just finished compiling the 2000 bibliography with over 61,000 entries. MLA hired 3 new staff members to do more extensive indexing in the areas of Teaching of Language, Teaching of Literature, and Rhetoric and Composition. She also reported that MLA will be handling publications for the Conference on College Composition and Communication, however, it wasn’t known if this will be an ongoing arrangement. 

  4. Program: MLAIB Platforms on the Web 

    Four vendor representatives were on hand to demo their MLA interfaces.

    • Gale Group: Peg Bessette-Schusterbauer showed the new Gale Literature Resource Center (LRC) interface which has added MLA to its list of Gale resources including Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism (selected), Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature, a Literary Historical Timeline, and even an Authors on the Highway database with information on current author tours, readings, etc. The interface, not yet finalized, is due for release in late July 2001. Users can search across databases or isolate the search within MLA. Gale will also offer MLA as a stand-alone database. Users can search the MLA database by author, subject, or title fields as well as a keyword search; can limit by language, document type, range of years, or recent updates. An advanced search allows searches on up to three fields using Boolean operators. The MLA database includes a searchable thesaurus. Full-text linking with LRC and MLA: if the library subscribes to the Scribners’ Writers or Twayne Writers online modules from Gale, links to that full text would be available in LRC and MLA. Also, libraries that subscribe to Literature Online (LION) through Proquest/Chadwyck-Healey, could also integrate links to full-text in LION within LRC and MLA. The added value of Gale’s interface is its integration with Gale’s other literature resource tools.
    • OCLC FirstSearch: Sonya Oliver gave an overview of the FirstSearch interface. MLA has been available via FirstSearch for almost ten years; upcoming enhancements include the addition of a library holdings limit, MLA Directory of Periodicals, and the MLA Thesaurus. Search features include the ability to search multiple indexes, limit searches by date, document type, and language, browse indexes to determine the most appropriate search terms, and to limit to full-text. The interface also provides author hotlinks in the results, a search history, and the ability to search across other FirstSearch databases. Current links to full-text are available to Periodical Abstracts, Wilson Select and Select Plus, and OCLC’s Electronic Collections Online (ECO). ECO now contains 208 titles in the language/literature area. OCLC is about to introduce delivery of per-article purchase of articles from ECO. This would expand the access to e-journals without the cost of annual subscriptions. Libraries will be able to control the number of articles purchased by journal title, set a maximum price per article as well as a monthly maximum. OCLC is also working on an implementation with SFX for linking that is planned for completion this summer.The following two representatives from Ovid and Silver Platter talked to the group about the merger of the two companies, which became official only the day before. They emphasized that the two companies plan to remain as separate operations with distinctive brands and interfaces.
    • Ovid: Timothy Roberts showed the Ovid interface, and demonstrated its graphical thesaurus with permuted index, the mapping to subject heading function and saved search function. He explained that the mapping function uses a statistical algorithm to map terms based on the number of times a term is associated with the keyword. The interface has the capability to search across other Ovid databases with de-duped results. Ovid’s OpenLinks feature allows users to access full-text articles when they are available. As in FirstSearch, when the reader goes to the linked article, the database’s navigation bar and logo are maintained across the top of the screen, along with a timer. The permuted index and thesaurus are accessed via the Tools icon. As a result of the merger with Silver Platter, the MLA Directory of Periodicals will soon be available from Ovid (at this time, Silver Platter is the sole source for the Directory of Periodicals.)
    • Silver Platter: Bonnie Alpert and Gerry Hurley demonstrated Silver Platter version 5, which is in beta testing and scheduled for release in August 2001. The database is updated ten times/year, and incorporates the MLA Thesaurus. The MLA Directory of Periodicals is fully searchable with over 50 fields of information and can be searched simultaneously with MLAIB. The SilverLinker function provides access to full-text when available, and there are plans use the Books@Ovid service as a means to link to full-text books (currently no language/literature books are available from Books@Ovid, only medical texts). Another SilverPlatter feature is LinkWizard, templates with some pre-configured links. Libraries can also add to these links to include Web resources such as full-text sites, literature portals, biographies, etc. The Silver Platter interface also has some customizable features; for example, libraries can display links to document delivery suppliers or ILL to request articles, or limit to ILL, and can include library holdings if the OPAC uses static urls.


  5. Adjournment: 

    The meeting adjourned at about 12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Reba Leiding
James Madison University


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