July/August 2003  vol.9  no.4 issn 1082-4383  





Highlights in this Issue

NEBASE Annual Meeting-East Planning Underway

Mark your calendars for the NEBASE Annual Meeting-East on Thursday, September 18 at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.

Thirteen Things to Think About the Next Time You Look at Your Web site

If you've ever created and maintained a Web site, you know it can be a challenge. We looked at a number of library sites from neighboring states and have come up with a list of things to keep in mind when you are working on your own Web site.

Catalog This! A new section in N3 written by Nebraska Library Commission Cataloging Librarian, Devra Dragos.  This issue's subject:  Things to Consider When Choosing an Automated System for Your Library

Public Libraries Meet at WebJunction

OCLC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on May 12 launched a new, interactive Web site to help public libraries and other institutions make the most of information technology.


Table of Contents


  Exhibit at the Midwest Internet Institute
  NEBASE Annual Meeting-East Planning Underway
  Thirteen Things to Think About the Next Time You Look at Your Web site
  Database Roadshow 2003
  NEBASE Workshop Calendar
  Database Tips and Tricks: WorldCat Hot Topics
  Nebraska Statewide Databases Renewed
  Discounted Pricing for H.W. Wilson's Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 (Coming Fall 2003)
  Gale Database Pricing Available
  The Library Store, Inc. Offers Discounts to Nebraska Libraries
  WebSearch University Conference Discount
  Things to Consider When Choosing an Automated System for Your Library
  OCLC NEWS     
  OCLC Product Of The Month : ILL Policies Directory: Save Precious Time Processing Ill Requests
  OCLC Members Council Encourages Increased Participation, Cooperation at Local and Global Levels
  OCLC Web Information Sessions
  Public Libraries Meet at WebJunction
  Watch WorldCat Grow!
  OCLC FirstSearch Service Enhancements
  Custom Holdings Enhancements
  Connexion Enhancements Installed and Help Documentation Updated
  Connexion Client Field Test Comments
  Update: Change in Connexion Client and End of Life for Passport/Cataloging Dates
  Netscape 6.1 End of Life for Connexion
  Revised Connexion Browser Tutorial Released
  Current Awareness Tool: OCLC Accessions List Service
  OCLC PromptCat Opinion Poll
OCLC Ends Windows 98 and NT Support

Past issues of N3





Nebraska Library Commission staff will be on hand at the Midwest Internet Institute in Lincoln, July 28-29 to exhibit the Nebraska Statewide Database Program. Stop by the booth for updates on the statewide databases, answers to your questions, or to register for the Database Roadshow.

Staff will also be presenting three 45-minute sessions during this year's conference.

"Electronic Information @ your Library: Database Resources for Citizens" The session will be offered Monday at 12:30 p.m. and again Tuesday at 10:30 a.m..

"Schools and Libraries Can Help Parents/Community Explore Internet Resources" The session will be offered Monday at 11:30 a.m. and again Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

"Exploring Digital Nebraska History Resources on the Internet" The session will be offered Monday at 12:30 p.m. and again Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

The Midwest Internet Institute will be held at Southwest High School in Lincoln. For more information on the event visit: <http://mii.lps.org/>.

Shannon Behrhorst
Network Services/NEBASE Director
Nebraska Library Commission

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Mark your calendars for the NEBASE Annual Meeting-East on Thursday, September 18 at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. Planning for this year's meeting is underway. Marilyn Gell Mason, Program Director for the Gates Portal Project, will be featured as the keynote speaker during the morning session.

The afternoon will feature two consecutive 75-minute presentation periods, each with four consecutive sessions to choose between. Library staff, media specialists and others are invited to attend. Registration for the meeting and the final agenda will be available in August.

Shannon Behrhorst
Network Services/NEBASE Director
Nebraska Library Commission

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If you've ever created and maintained a Web site you, know it can be a challenge. It is often difficult to find the time and creativity to update the content and appearance of a site. One of the best ways to find inspiration is to look at what others are doing. We looked at a number of library sites from neighboring states and have come up with a list of things to keep in mind when you are working on your own Web site.

I know that I am biased about this one, but the databases purchased by Nebraska Library Commission are great resources and you should include links to them on your Web site! It's easy to do. Instructions on how to do this can be found online in the following Word document: </netserv/training/AddLinks.doc>. Just make sure you DO NOT PUT THE PASSWORDS ON THE WEB SITE.

2. Don't forget the basic information such as the library name, address and contact information. If your library is hard to find, you might want to include directions or a map!

3. Look at your content. Do you have enough content? If you were a patron, what type of information would you expect to find on the library's Web site?

4. Is your content current? When is the last time you have checked to make sure your links work? For example, if you provide a calendar of library activities, is it up to date? If you know that you will not be able to maintain this information, then don't put it up.

5. Does the site include a list of services that are available and who can use these services?

6. Now that you have great content, is it organized? Can you and your patrons easily find the information they want?

7. Use terms your patrons will understand. For example, if you create a link labeled Follett Catalog or Web Collection Plus, will patrons know that this is your online catalog?

8. Don't make users hunt for information and links they are going to use every day. Links to your catalog, the databases and other resources people use should be prominent on your site.

9. Now that you have this great information can your patrons read it? Is the size of the font too big or too small? Are the color combinations hard to read? Is the background so wild that you can't even read the text? I think everyone has seen a few of these sites!

10. Have you ever been on a site where you have clicked on underlined text only to have nothing happen? I'm guessing your reaction is similar to mine! Make sure you use underlining carefully.

11. What about all of those great images on your site, can you legally use them? For example, do you have any images of Charlie Brown and the gang or Snoopy Web site? If you do, you might want to read the FAQ's on the official Snoopy Web site at: <http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/contact_us/index.html>. It tells you what graphics are permissible.

12. Can you have too many animated images on a Web site? The answer is yes, at least that's the answer I got when I asked some of my coworkers. Moving images can add interest but they can also distract a user from the content of the page.

13. If you use icons as links will people know to click on them? I've had to hunt for links before because I didn't realize the bullets in the bulleted list were the links.

The next time you are out surfing the We,  think about the items I've listed. Do you agree with them? Are there changes that you can make to your Web site that will improve it, such as adding a link to the databases? (As I said before, I'm biased on this issue and had to make sure I mentioned it one more time!)

A list of Nebraska libraries that have Web sites can be found at:
</nelib/nelib.html> If your Web site is not included on this page you can use the link at the top of the page to e-mail Julie Pinnell your URL.

Finally, here is a list of other library Web sites you might want to take a look at. A number of these pages highlight both the good and bad examples that I've included on my list.

Library Web sites:

Lists of Libraries by State:
South Dakota - <http://www.sdstatelibrary.com/books/librariesSD.htm>
Kansas - <http://skyways2.lib.ks.us/kld/>
Iowa - <http://directory.silo.lib.ia.us/cgi-bin/web_lib.CGI>

Allana Novotny
Network Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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The Database Roadshows are filling up fast. The Norfolk, West Point and Omaha locations are already full and the Beatrice and Alliance locations each have two spaces open as of July 2! We have started waiting lists for each of the full sessions. Please use the registration form to be placed on the waiting list. If you have registered to attend a session but will not be able to make it please, e-mail us at Network Services. We usually have people that are willing to attend even at the last minute.

You will want to attend the Database Roadshow if you have questions or would like to learn more about the statewide databases funded through the Nebraska Library Commission. This fifth annual Roadshow will cover WorldCat (available via OCLC FirstSearch), Books in Print with Reviews, Wilson OmniFile and Biographies Plus and bigchalk eLibrary (formerly Electric Library). Each session will be divided into four segments, with each focusing on a particular database. During each segment we will discuss and demonstrate a database, and then the class will have hand-on time to practice what they learned. Please bring any questions you may have and we will help you work through them during the hands on time. Continuing Education credits of 4.5 hours can be earned by attending the Roadshow.

Database Roadshows are provided at no cost to participants. Library staff and school media specialists are welcome to attend. There will be a one hour lunch break at approximately 11:30. Lunch is on your own.

A minimum of five registered participants are required to hold a Database Roadshow. If the minimum registration is not met five business days before the scheduled date of the Roadshow, that session can be canceled and those who have registered will be notified via e-mail.

Register for the Roadshow at: </netserv/roadshowreg.html>.


Alliance - July 30, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Alliance Public Library, 1750 Sweetwater, Alliance

Beatrice - August 5, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Beatrice Public Library, 100 North 16th Street, Beatrice

Holdrege - October 2, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Holdrege Public Library, 604 East Avenue, Holdrege

Kearney - September 10, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Meridian System Office, 3519 Second Avenue, Suite B, Kearney

Lincoln - October 7, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Nebraska Library Commission, Heron Room, 1200 N Street, Lincoln

Norfolk - August 12, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - This class is FULL.
Northeast Community College - Lifelong Learning Center, 801 East Benjamin Avenue, Norfolk

Omaha - August 19, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - This class is FULL.
Omaha Public Library, W. Dale Clark Library, Gates Computer Lab, 215 South 15th Street, Omaha (Attendees may find it convenient to park in Omaha Park 2 at 14th and Harney, one block south of the library.)

West Point - September 24, 2003 - 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - This class is FULL.
John A Stahl Library, 330 North Colfax, West Point

For more information on the Nebraska Statewide Database Program please visit: /netserv/databaseprogram.html

Allana Novotny
Network Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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NEBASE workshops have been scheduled for Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha, Hastings and Kearney.

For a quick glance at what workshops are scheduled and where,m see the NEBASE Training Calendar at </netserv/TrainingCal.html>.

The location and date, as well as a description of each of the workshops below, can be found at </netserv/nebase/oclcworkshopsdesc.html>. To register for any of the workshops, please complete the online registration form at </netserv/nebase/oclcworkshops.html#reg>. The workshop fee for NEBASE libraries is $10. If you are not a NEBASE library*, please check the registration form for your workshop fee. If you have any questions, please contact Jeannette Powell at 402-471-7740 or 800-307-2665 or e-mail Jeannette Powell for registration fee.

*NEBASE libraries are Nebraska libraries who use OCLC cataloging or interlibrary loan services or who subscribe to FirstSearch. Although libraries who subscribe only to FirstSearch are eligible to pay the $10 workshop fee, they must pay by check.


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If you've logged on to the WorldCat database in the past month, you may have noticed a new feature: WorldCat Hot Topics. WorldCat Hot Topics appears as a drop-down menu at the top of the Basic and Advanced search screens. Patrons and librarians can use the Hot Topics menu to launch pre-formatted searches on current and popular topics-with guaranteed results.

Search results retrieved using the Hot Topics menu tend to be highly relevant and focused, because the OCLC staff who create the pre-formatted searches use recognized subject headings, genre/form phrases, and date limits as appropriate. For example, if you select "Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco" from the drop-down menu, the system searches subject fields for the phrase "substance abuse" (an exact subject heading), and applies a publication date limiter of 2003 or later. The search retrieves 105 results.

Hot Topics is a valuable tool for educating users on the wide variety of subjects covered by WorldCat. Hot Topics also has the potential to teach users how to construct better searches. Because the search structure of a pre-formatted search is displayed along with search results, users have an opportunity to see an efficient search strategy that can be adapted to other subjects.

The WorldCat Hot Topics menu is updated monthly with new topics. Examples of current and popular topics that have appeared in the Hot Topics drop-down menu in the past include: terrorism; Osama bin Laden; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); gardening; and genealogy. More recently OCLC has also added a New Fiction section to the Hot Topics menu. This allows users to search for recently published fiction in the following genres: fantasy; mystery; romantic suspense; science fiction; and western.

In the future OCLC hopes to expand the Hot Topics feature, perhaps by allowing librarians to create their own pre-formatted searches or to edit the existing pre-formatted searches to suit their local environment. If you have comments or suggestions for OCLC about this feature, OCLC encourages you to submit them using the "Comments" link that appears on the blue navigation menu on the left side of the FirstSearch screen.

Susan Knisely
Online Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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We are pleased to announce that Nebraska's package of statewide databases has been renewed for the 2003-2004 year. The package includes the FirstSearch Base Package, containing ten databases, including WorldCat, H.W. Wilson's OmniFile Full Text Select and Biographies Plus, Kiplinger Forecasts, Bowker's Books in Print with Reviews, and bigchalk eLibrary. To find more information on Nebraska's Statewide Database program visit: </netserv/databaseprogram.html>.

Shannon Behrhorst
Network Services/NEBASE Director
Nebraska Library Commission

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The H.W. Wilson Company recently announced that they will be releasing a new database in Fall 2003: Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective, 1907-1984. This database includes indexing from more than 600 journals and provides citations to over 1,100,000 articles. Wilson is also offering the humanities and social sciences retrospective coverage as two separate databases: Humanities Index Retrospective, 1907-1984; and Social Sciences Index Retrospective, 1907-1983.

Fore more information about these databases, see: <http://www.hwwilson.com/Databases/ssi_hum_retro.htm>.

Interested libraries have two subscription options available them:

1. A one-time purchase option, with an annual access fee of 10% of the initial price paid starting the second year.
2. Annual Web access.

Pricing for academic and public libraries is based on the requested number of simultaneous users. K-12 library pricing is based on enrollment for the one-time purchase option, and is a flat fee regardless of school size for annual Web access.

Because the Nebraska Library Commission maintains a distributorship relationship with the H.W. Wilson Company, Nebraska libraries that order these databases through the Commission will receive a 10% discount off list price. Nebraska libraries also receive a price break because of the Nebraska Library Commission's statewide subscription to Wilson OmniFile Full Text Select.

If you are interested in pricing on any of these Wilson databases

please contact Jeannette Powell at 402-471-7740, 800-307-2665, or e-mail Jeannette Powell.

Note: if you are considering subscribing to just the Social Sciences Index Retrospective or just the Humanities Index Retrospective, you will want to be aware that the content of both databases is identical through 1974 and that the price of the combined database is not significantly higher than the price of either of the individual databases.

Susan Knisely
Online Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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Libraries interested in ordering Gale products for the 2003-04 year can view pricing online at </netserv/pricing.html#gale>.

The Nebraska Library Commission will provide pricing for K12 libraries. To place an order, K12 librarians should contact a Gale representative. All ordering, renewals, and billing for K12 Gale products will go directly through Gale.

The Commission will provide pricing for academic and public libraries and will also accept orders and renewals. All subscriptions will be on a July-June cycle.

For pricing and ordering information please see our web site.

Shannon Behrhorst
Network Services/NEBASE Director
Nebraska Library Commission

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The Library Store, Inc. has agreed to offer Nebraska libraries the following discounts:

There is a minimum order requirement of $25.00.

Please reference Bid NEBASE03, at the time of order, to receive these discounts.

Exceptions to bid NEBASE03: To request a catalog (print or CD) or view products online, go to <http://www.thelibrarystore.com>.

Contact Information:

Phone Orders..............800-548-7204
Customer Service.......800-603-3536

Mailing Address:

The Library Store, Inc.
Box 964, 112 E. South St.
Tremont, IL 61568

Susan Knisely
Online Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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Information Today, Inc. has authorized NEBASE to offer a special discounted rate to all Nebraska librarians who attend the WebSearch University conference scheduled to be held at the Hilton Washington on September 8-9, 2003. Detailed program information can be found at <http://www.websearchu.com/>.

The special discount rate for this conference is $395 for the two-day event (September 8-9, 2003). This is $200 off the regular price and a $100 discount off the early-bird registration price. No discount rates are available for the pre-conference seminars.

To register for the conference, print off the registration form located at <http://www.websearchu.com/WSUFall2003Registration.pdf>. Be sure to indicate somewhere on the form that you are a member of NEBASE, and then mark the discount rate on the form (if it is not marked already).

Mail the completed form to Jodene Glaesemann at the following address:

Jodene Glaesemann
Nebraska Library Commission
1200 N St., Suite 120
Lincoln, NE 68508-2023
Phone: 402-471-4009 or 800-307-2665

Payment must accompany your registration form. Please make checks or money orders payable to Information Today, Inc. To receive the discount, your registration MUST be sent to the Nebraska Library Commission. Completed registration forms must be received no later than August 1, 2003.

Susan Knisely
Online Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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Catalog This!


Choosing, installing, and maintaining a new local automated system may involve many pieces (OPAC, circulation, acquisitions, cataloging, serials, etc.) and many people (reference, circulation, acquisitions, catalogers, etc.). Library literature is full of articles discussing the process of implementing a new system. The Nebraska Library Commission has just installed a new local automated system, Mandarin M3; this article offers some thoughts from a cataloger's perspective of the process.

As the file of cataloging records provides the basis for all automated systems, it is the most integral piece of the puzzle. What do the bells and whistles of a Web OPAC matter if the data from a catalog record cannot be read properly, or important pieces of the description are not there to begin with? If the patron cannot find the item because of a lack in the translation of the catalog record, the system is not providing a necessary function.

When choosing a new system, be sure that it can read, retain, and export true MARC 21 record formats. There are people out there saying MARC is dead, and salespeople may try to convince you that you do not need MARC because their system is better. However, neither of those statements is true! Yes, there is a lot of talk about replacing MARC with something more "intuitive," along the lines of Web programming languages. However, MARC has been the standard for record exchange for over 30 years and nothing standardized has been developed or agreed upon to replace it yet. While some large automated systems now will read records written in Dublin Core, this is not a widespread option nor is Dublin Core the only coding language that has been suggested as a replacement for MARC. Throwing out MARC once records have been imported to a system will cause nothing but headaches in the future. Speaking from experience, a system that is not based on MARC will rarely allow you to export whole records in proper MARC format. So, if you ever need to change to a new system or wish to contribute records to a union catalog, getting your cataloging records out of your existing system could turn into a nightmare.

A database of cataloging records may consist of a conglomeration of good, bad, and indifferent records melded over time by a number of catalogers and/or from a variety of sources. Preparing it for transfer to a new system could require some clean-up. The amount of clean-up depends on the amount of available time and staff, and on the capabilities of the current system. If an inventory/weeding project is completed before the new system is installed, records for long lost or weeded items should be removed. If the system allows for global changes, perhaps missing or inaccurate fields could be corrected. If possible, also check for duplicate barcodes; some systems allow them, but the one you are changing to may not which will cause trouble in the conversion of the data. Just remember that no database of records can ever be perfect-no organization has that much money for staff and time. Check with the new vendor on options for mapping data from the imported records; this could allow for clean-up, too. Ask questions not only of the salesperson, but also of the techies who will be doing the actual work on your records.

Consistency is one of my favorite words (right after logic) when it comes to cataloging. Once your new system is installed, take some time to figure out its quirks and tricks. Then talk with the staff who will be using the cataloging system and develop a set of procedures that all can follow to add and delete bibliographic, holdings, and authority records. Plan to keep your new database of records in the best condition possible. Although planning ahead for a new system when a new one has just been installed might seem silly, it never hurts to be prepared in case this system does not fit your needs for more than a few years, or the vendor goes under or is bought out. And, besides, the better the records, the better the results people will get in the OPAC.

Talking to other people who have been through the process helps greatly. We benefited from seeing our new system in use at another library and from talking to library staff using the system daily. Hearing about the purchasing and transition process from people who have recently changed systems, even if to different systems, can assist in narrowing down your choices and spotting possible problems. So feel free to call Commission staff if you are currently considering a change in your automated system. From these talks and your research, develop a list of all the features you would like to see in the system and have the vendor sign off on each item. Finally, accept the fact that no purchased program will ever be designed specifically to meet every one of your desired features.

Devra Dragos
Cataloging Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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