Midwinter Conference, January 10, 2004

Minutes of the MLA International Bibliography
in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
ALA MidWinter Meeting, San Diego, CA
January 10, 2004



    1. Introductions and Welcome
      Robert Means, Chair


    After introductions, Robert noted the article on the MLA Bibliography in the Charleston Advisor, July, 2003:Fagan, Jody Condit. “Comparative Review of the MLA International Bibliography on EBSCO, InfoTrac, and OVID.” Charleston Advisor 5.1 (2003): 12-18. 

    • Barbara Chen provided an update on the MLA Bibliography.


    The 2002 bibliography had 66,000 entries, the largest number of items in history. So far in 2003, with three quarters of the year entered, there are 42,000 items, including entries from 75 e-journals. MLA will be sending the information on ceased journals to the periodicals Master List. MLA will have a ‘peer-reviewed’ field for articles in the Bibliography and for the journal in the Directory. It will say “yes” or “no” if the status is known. If the status is unknown, the field will be absent. Subject Author names and works will have dates attached. There will be a “Table of Contents” field for monographs, contains the table of contents from the book, with lines separated by a space-slash-space. Indexing for electronic books and online bibliographies will appear in April 2004. If the resource is in electronic form only, “Electronic Resource” will be appended to the title. If it is available in both print and electronic formats, the note will read “Also available as electronic resource.” 1926-1962 retrospective files are expected late in 2004 with language codes. It will be folded into current subscriptions.OVID/SilverPlatter is having technical difficulties with records that contain JSTOR links. These records are being deleted from the database. Everyone is working to solve the problem.MLA has implemented a uniform pricing structure. All vendors will have the same basic price and it will be the 2003 price with no cost increases. There have been some database enhancements. JSTOR links were added to MLA in the April 2003 update. There were 32,000 links added by October 2003. By April 2004, 37 of the 47 journals in the JSTOR Language & Literature collections will be in MLA, including PMLA. Links to 80 journals in the other JSTOR collections have been added selectively.The MLA Bibliographer Fellowship was approved. It is a 3-year position. The fellow is expected to provide 100 citations per year in exchange for a $500 stipend and MLA Conference fees waived.PMLA and Profession are available through Ingenta for 2002 forward.In answer to a query, it was noted that the MLA Directory of Periodicals includes listings for journals which are scanned but not chosen to be included in the Bibliography.Query: Is MLA considering expanding its scope to include cultural studies? And is MLA membership pressing for this expansion? Barbara Chen will be taking this question back and considering it. It was noted that MLA members do send articles and book chapters to MLA for consideration. Most are included in the Bibliography.Query: Is there a need for more frequent updates? Consensus was that current schedule is OK.Query: Will the MLA fellowship improve speed and increase the journals covered? Yes, that is the goal. Some field bibliographers are retiring and need to be replaced.Query: If we discover items that we feel should be included in the database, can we email them? Yes, send them as discovered.Query: Is there an interest in ‘prepublication’ listing of items or continue to wait until published / distributed? – This is an issue the group will think about.Query: Is there an interest in brief records as a placeholder in the database until the fully indexed record is entered? – This is an issue the group will think about. 

    • Chuck Costakos reported from OCLC.


    Things are ‘the same’ for the MLA Bibliography on OCLC.Searches in MLA Bibliography can be set to exclude entries from Dissertation Abstracts in some search platforms, but not in the OVID platform. 

    • Peg Bessette from Gale gave an update on its implementation of the MLA Bibliography.


    The Bibliography is part of two Gale products: InfoTrac and the Literature Resource Center. The JSTOR links work on the Gale platform. Gale has implemented OpenURL in InfoTrac. Z39.50 has been implemented in MLA in InfoTrac. PMLA & Profession are in Ingenta. Limiting to peer-reviewed journals within MLA is a feature available in Gale. The assignment of peer-reviewed status is done by Gale on a title-by-title basis. 

    • Bethany Close of EBSCO provided an update on its handling of the MLA Bibliography.


    EBSCO has created links from MLA to the full-text articles in Academic Search Premier. EBSCO’s links to JSTOR work. It is pursuing other linking initiatives. The MLA Directory of Periodicals entries are included as a link from the articles under “journal details” and as a separately searchable database. With “My EBSCOHost” the user can create own login, etc. EBSCO provides “Index Browse” which will browse index fields and shows hits. E.g. Can browse journal titles and find number of entries from each. It allows the searcher to limit to full-text and to exclude Dissertation Abstract entries. The table of contents can be searched as a specific field code or included in the default search. 

    • Query: How are links to full text working? Proprietary or OpenURL?


    SFX linker works well with the OVID platform. But, the URL to the e-journal includes the page number, so if there is an error in the page number, it produces NO link. If there are entries in the database with incorrect pagination resulting in no link please send them to Barbara Chen.In the retrospective linking to full-text sources, the ISSN & journal name standards are critical. MLA is working with Project MUSE. IIPA Full-Text (Chadwyck-Healey) is a possible partner.

    • DOI (Digital Object Identifier).


    PMLA has to join DOI before the DOI-based links will work. And the Library needs to be a member of DOI as well. EBSCO likes DOI as the basis for links because it can overcome platform/source and EBSCO uses it as one of the ways they link. There was much support for DOI among the members. 

    • Topics for Annual:


    • Comparison of Vendors of MLA Bibliography:
    • Would the group prefer to see an “expert” push the limits of the systems, with more formal presentations on issues and concerns? Usability studies with students might be of interest. The group could look at user guides created by the members. If members have user guides, please send information and links about them to Barbara Chen and she’ll put them up on the website. Also send links to user guides to Susanna Van Sant. Perhaps Jim Harner would be willing to have a conversation with the group about his article, “Some Suggestions for the Future of the MLA International Bibliography” which was published in Bibliography in Literature, Folklore, Language and Linguistics: Essays on the Status of the Field

      • The question was raised about the length of the meeting.

      At one time this was two meetings with over-lapping membership and the three-hour timeslot was needed to accommodate these two groups. We will be thinking about this issue and have it as a discussion item during our three-hour meeting in Orlando.

    The MLA International Bibliography Discussion Group will meet at Annual, on Saturday, June 26, 2004 at 9:30. Robert Means will schedule the meeting. Kathleen Kluegel will be co-chair at Annual.

    Because the MLAIB Discussion Group is a unit within ALA, members of other units such as WESS may not be as aware of the meeting as we would like. So, when the room assignment is made for ALA Annual, the co-chairs will let the other interested groups know.


Respectfully submitted by Kathleen Kluegel


Attendance List:

Robert Means, BYU, robert_means@byu.edu
Kevin Gunn, Catholic University of America, gunn@cua.edu
Sara Seten Berglausen, Duke, sara@duke.edu
James Vroom, Carnegie Mellon, jvroom@cmu.edu
Brian Hickam, Ohio State, brianhickam@yahoo.com
Joy Pile, Middlebury College, pile@middlebury.edu
Barbara Chen, MLA, bchen@mla.org
Meg Meiman, American University, meg.meiman@american.edu
Juliet Kerico, Indiana State University, jkerico@indstate.edu
Gail Hueting, UIUC, ghueting@uiuc.edu
Bethany Close, EBSCO Publishing, bclose@epnet.com
Peg Bessette, Gale/Thomson, peg.bessette@thomson.com
Chuck Costakos, OCLC, Chuck_Costakos@oclc.org
Kristine Anderson, Purdue, kja@purdue.edu
Kathleen Kluegel, University of Illinois, kkluegel@uiuc.edu
Madeline Copp, Johns Hopkins University, mcopp@jhu.edu
Michael Macan, U.S. Naval Academy, macan@usna.edu
Rob Melton, UC-San Diego, rmelton@ucsd.edu
Joseph Thomas, East Carolina University, thomasw@mail.ecu.edu
Judith Olsen, Villanova University, judith.olsen@villanova.edu
Laura Fuderer, University of Notre Dame, lfuderer@nd.edu
Dan Coffey, Iowa State University, dcoffey@iastate.edu
Charlotte Droll, Wright State University, charlotte.droll@wright.edu
Kathy Johnson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, kjohnson6@unl.edu
Helen Williams, Harvard, helene_williams@harvard.edu
Michaelyn Burnette, Univ of Cal-Berkeley, mburnett@library.berkeley.edu
Susanna Van Sant, Univ of Maryland, svansant@umd.edu


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