Annual Conference, June 24, 2006

MLA IB In Academic Libraries Discussion Group Minutes
Annual Conference, June 24, 2006
New Orleans, Louisiana

Attendees: At the end

I. Designation of 2006-2007 posts

  • Discussion Group Chair — Michaelyn Burnette
  • Web Master — Faye Christenberry

II. Barbara Chen — MLA IB updates

  • The number of records indexed in 2005 set a record with over 67,500 for print/electronic. Additionally almost 20,000 JSTOR links were added to our files.
  • The retrospective 1926-1962 file was sent to vendors in mid-April. Vendors took 2-3 weeks to process and load (CSA was first.) This added another 136,000 records into our database.

Sample searches:

new Shakespeare entries – 4,700

James Joyce – 576

Emily Dickinson – 220

German literature – 17,783

  • With this file, added 11,000 searchable names not previously in the system.
  • We were really pleased with the cleanup efforts even though we realized it is not perfect. We will also be adding JSTOR links for non language and literature titles. I expect that task to be completed with the October retrospective reload.
  • The JSTOR language and literature project was completed and sent to vendors also with the April reload.
  • We started indexing their Asian studies collection. Expect to see some links in October.
  • After last ALA I started a conversation with Project Muse about the possibility of linking the Bibliography to their titles. We include about 150 on our masterlist; 50 on the non-master list. For this ALA we added links to 12 titles indexed or published in 2005-2006 but a computer glitch prevented them from appearing in the data. They will be available at the end of July. We are moving load all the links as soon as possible.

IV. David Wright — Directory of Periodicals

  • Old Directory Presentation

First published in 1970, the original Directory of Journal and Series in the Humanities included 10 fields of information on 1,524 periodicals and was published once every two years. The Directory in its current electronic form includes 75 fields of information for 4,403 periodicals and is updated twice per year. We’ve come a long way in 36 years.

  • Current Directory of Periodicals information

Current number of periodicals (as of 19 June 2006): 4,403 records (3,289 journals and 1,114 book series). This number is down from a high of about 4,500 in 2003 due to more extensive research and diligence in our checking of the current Directory.

We now also include short records for those periodicals dropped from the Directory after 1981 (these are periodicals that have ceased publication or changed titles) these abbreviated records include the periodical title, the old acronym, the scope, the languages published, the publisher, and the ISSN. We will include 1,614 of these records in the next update as well as any periodicals that cease publication from now on.

We currently include 125 periodicals that are exclusively electronic in 15 different subject areas. We continue to see these numbers rise as editors, authors, librarians, and users make us aware of new or existing e-journals within our scope. We are now working on a way to index individual articles from those e-journals that do not fit in our scope but that may have an article that falls within the scope of the Bibliography.

In March of this year we sent out questionnaires for update to all of the active journals in the Directory. We do this every two years and have so far received and updated 864 questionnaires (almost a third of the total of Directory records). While these updated questionnaires will continue to trickle in over the next few months, the deadline for the July update of the Directory is June 29th. Any questionnaires received after that date will be included in the January 2007 update of the Directory. We are currently exploring options for an e-mail or online update system that would eliminate or reduce the amount of mailing needed to update the Directory records.

  • Current projects of the Directory

We are currently looking for a new periodical tracking system for the Directory that would help us spot missing issues and lapses in subscriptions automatically. Any suggestions or recommendations from this group would be greatly appreciated.

We are also working with project MUSE to find periodical issues that may have been missed in past years for indexing in the Bibliography.

  • Future Projects of the Directory

Standardizing the subject index terms used in Directory records. Originally the subject index terms were created for the print Directory and were meant to be converted to keywords when the Directory became electronic only after 1999. This conversion has been a slow process and we hope to have completed the transition to keywords by early 2007.

V. General Discussion

Faye Christenberry discussed a project she worked on with Gale Publishers at the University of Washington. It involved English majors, most of them seniors. The gist of it was

  • most students have no idea what the MLA is.
  • when this result was brought to faculty, they did not seem to care.
  • Discussion ensued on how best to engage students. Some suggested trying to introduce the MLA to high school students, by searching a subset of the MLA database (100 or so journals) that would be pertinent to them.
  • others disagreed. Questioned the value of marketing a specialized tool such as the MLA to high school students.
  • some acknowledged difficulty of doing research due to faculty assignments — emphasize close reading over research. Contradiction noted that faculty do research, but do not require it of students. Where do the students learn then?


Barbara Chen (MLA); Liz Brown (Project MUSE); Mike Diaz (ProQuest); Mary Sauer-Gaines (ProQuest); Kathleen Kluegel (U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); Faye Christenberry (U of Wash); Jeanne Pavy (U of New Orleans); Kristine Anderson (Purdue): Laura Fuderer (Notre Dame); Mary Onorato (Thomson Gale); Bryon Rivers (EBSCO); Bethany Close (EBSCO); Tim Hackman (U of Maryland, College Park); Jane Faulkner (U of Calif, Santa Barbara); David Wright (MLA – Dir. of Periodicals); John Novak (U of Calif, Irvine)


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