Midwinter Conference, January 20, 2007

MLA IB in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
ALA Midwinter
Saturday, January 20, 2007
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Hotel Andra: Ballroom
Seattle, WA

Agenda Item 1: What’s New at the MLA International Bibliography:
Barbara Chen, Director of Bibliographic Services & Editor, MLA IB

  • As you may know, there is an MLA-member Bibliography advisory committee. At their meeting in October, after much consultation with the MLA Committee on Information Technology, they determined we should start indexing scholarly web sites. The CIT submitted a list of about 100 sites which we will use to begin a pilot project. I am hoping to include at least 100 sites with the April retro load. The records will be placed on a new (website) record type.
  • Linking JSTOR non-language and literature articles continues as does indexing relevant articles in JSTOR’s Asian studies collection. We hired a Chinese scholar to assist us in this effort, due to be completed in May 2007. The language and literature collection indexing project had been finished in December 2006.
  • We continue adding links to Project Muse full text material to our citations. We are still in the process of exporting the retrospective metadata and filling in gaps in coverage. This will be an ongoing initiative with much to be seen (the majority of retrospective material) in the April reload.
  • Speaking of retro reloads, we’re continuing to work on subject headings and series in our 1963-1980 cleanup. It will definitely take a while.
  • At the Charleston Conference this past November the question of whether indexing services included Open Access journals, specifically mentioning the Bibliography, was raised. Upon my return, I asked David Wright, Directory of Periodicals editor. We are indexing over 150 Open Access titles and have now noted Open Access status in the Directory Of Periodicals.
  • The 10 recipients for our 2006 MLA Bibliography fellowships were announced in late May. Included are two librarians:
    • Kathryn M. Brooks, Indiana University (German, Germanic Studies, French,Yiddish)
    • Dr. Mildred L. Jackson, Librarian, Grand Valley State University (rhetoric & composition, history of reading, British literature)
  • If anyone is interested in doing some fieldwork for us, please let me know. The 2006 deadline for submission was January 19. Any indexing received after that time will be automatically included in the 2007database which will be opened in about 2 weeks.
  • Record numbers for 2006 are on a par with 2005.

Agenda Item 2: ABES vs. ABELL vs. MLAIB:
Laura Fuderer & Michaelyn Burnette

Fuderer interwove her demonstrations of ABES and ABELL with information that she gives students during library instruction. She tells them there are three “big indexes” for researching literatures in English: ABES, ABELL, and MLAIB. Fuderer explains to students the distinction between primary and secondary sources because this can help them figure out which database they might want to use, and it determines what sort of search operators to use (Boolean for citations, proximity for full-text).

Coverage of publications in literary studies, film studies, cultural studies and language and linguistics. ABES does not attempt to be comprehensive in coverage–rather, it specifically selects items the editors believe are core or most appropriate (“the best”) for an undergraduate audience. Each entry contains an annotation which helps the student determine if the item might be pertinent to their needs. Dates covered for each source varies, but the earliest noted is 1902. Fuderer points to the ability of limiting searches either to the Primary and Secondary indices, which is a unique feature in searching ABES. The option of linking to local holdings is not possible. ABES has not been updated since 2004, so the material covered is not current. The interface is outdated and contains none of the bells or whistles available through those provided by the major vendors. ABES exists only in electronic format. It currently has over 31,000 entries. [post meeting update: ABES is moving to Routledge this year and will narrow its scope to the literary]

ABELL (ProQuest):
Default search is for full-text of nearly 200 journals–it’s recommended when showing ABELL to undergraduates that the search full text option be deselected with an explanation of the difference between searching an index and searching full-text. She explains that ABELL and MLAIB overlap to an extent (an older study shows at least 60%), and ABELL picks up book reviews which MLAIB does not. The MLAIB tries to cover all modern languages (she calls it “the mother of all literary bibliographies”), while ABELL covers language and literatures originally written in English. The annual paper version began in 1920, but there are 240 items published between 1884 and 1919. ABELL has over 880,000 records. ABELL contains reviews of scholarly books, which MLAIB includes very selectively. Links to holdings are available. Only covers literature originally written in English, though there are references to other writers if they are included in a publication about a writer in English.

Good tip for convincing students to search MLAIB over JSTOR or Project Muse–note the number of journals covered in each to point out the limitations of JSTOR or PM over MLAIB. Over two million entries. For thorough coverage of scholarship, use both MLAIB and ABELL, especially since MLAIB coverage, at least until 1956, tended to be of works written by U. S. scholars.

Agenda Item 3: Vendor Updates:

Thomson-Gale: Peg Knight (formerly Bessette)

The presentation focused on our new user interface, slated for Summer 2007, along with new features coming with our Summer 2007 platform migration. If anyone would like further information, please contact Product Manager Mary Onorato: mary.onorato@thomson.com.

  • Updated, more intuitive interface
  • Comprehensive search options & limiters
  • Search within results
  • Narrow results by subject, article author, source, document type
  • How-to-cite feature, including support for bibliographic citation tools
  • Enhanced support for link resolvers
  • Linked author, source and subject terms
  • Cross-searchable with most Gale databases
  • Alerts

EBSCO: Beth Wright

Domain change; new features link; ability to add local “ask a librarian” link; “auto complete”–which helps with spelling issues; basic interface changes; new literature service–”LRC” to add to Humanities International Complete.

ProQuest: Mary Saur Gaines

Adding more terms to browse lists; addition of the 13-digit ISBNs; JSTOR links and PM links enabled.

CSA: Allan Golden

Major re-vamping of the interface since last year; refining searching within searching via a left-hand menu option; CSA Illustrata–images of journals with tables & figures; these will be indexed and searchable within the arts & humanities databases.

Minutes taken by Faye Christenberry, University of Washington


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