Nebraska Library Commission
          Network Services

                July/August 1997 vol.3 no.4 issn 1082-4383

JULY/AUGUST Issue Highlights:
The Times they are a Changin': Beehives and Red Buttons
New Macros for Passport for Windows
Top Ten Reasons Why Rural Libraries and Librarians Need the Internet

N3 (Ncubed) Newsletter is published bimonthly by the Nebraska Library Commission Network Services team. It is the intent of Network Services to promote and support libraries in their cooperative efforts to share resources and information.

Circulation: 500. Published on PC software. Editor: Jo Budler. Word Processing: Jeannette Powell. Design and Production: Joanne Corson. ISSN 1082-4383

Send mail to:
N3 Editor
Nebraska Library Commission
The Atrium, 1200 N St. Suite 120
Lincoln, NE, 68508
Phone: 402-471-4031 or 800-307-2665
Fax: 402-471-2083
Home Page: /netserv/netserv.html


The Nebraska Library Commission coordinated a trial of databases for all Nebraska libraries from January 1 through May 31, 1997. The vendors who participated in this trial were: EBSCO, Encyclopedia Americana, Gale, H.W. Wilson, IAC, OCLC FirstSearch, SIRS, and UMI. Libraries of all types-academic, public, K-12 and special-took part in this trial and by combining their buying power, were able to enjoy considerable savings in purchasing these services. Pricing and special offers were placed on the Nebraska Library Commission Home Page. An order form was also made available online.

Through cooperation in a statewide group purchase of a variety of databases, Nebraska librarians were able to offer improved library services to their library users. Congratulations to all who participated!

There Are More To Come
Due to the success of the database trials, the Nebraska Library Commission has been contacted by several additional vendors who would like to offer Nebraska libraries a trial of their products: Electric Library, NEWSBANK, and OVID. In addition, EBSCO has a new database which they would like to have Nebraska libraries preview: TopicSearch. Encyclopedia American Online will also be available for an additional trial during the month of October.

All other dates for the trial of databases are being arranged for the fall of 1997. Details (including vendors, registration, dates) will be placed on the Nebraska Library Commission Home Page. Please check it out at /netserv/trial.html .

-Jo Budler
Nebraska Library Commission


A FirstSearch Web Guided Tour and FirstSearch Sample Databases are now available as instructional resources from OCLC's Home Page or directly at

Sample Databases
The Sample databases are available for use by current FirstSearch users for the purpose of orienting end users or library staff to FirstSearch without using the library's FirstSearch searches or FirstSearch ports. In a classroom or lab situation, libraries can provide hands-on experience for FirstSearch via the Web.

Current users can access them from a passworded FirstSearch Sample Databases page. When you click on -Sample Databases-, you are prompted to enter a User ID and Password in order to access the page. The User ID is: try; the Password is: firstsearch. From the Sample Databases page, users can log on to the Sample Databases automatically, without entering a FirstSearch authorization and password. The Sample databases page also gives information about the Sample databases, including which databases are available, and the size of the sample databases, and their purpose.

Sample databases are available for the following FirstSearch databases: WorldCat, ArticleFirst, ContentsFirst, NetFirst, PapersFirst, ProceedingsFirst, ERIC, and GPO Monthly Catalog. Sample databases are small subsets of full databases available on FirstSearch, generally containing from 3,000- 5,000 records. They are static databases created when the full database was originally loaded, and to which no new records are added. Due to the limited size of the sample databases, most searches will produce smaller results sets than in the full databases. If a search retrieves zero results, it may be helpful to browse the Wordlist to see if there are related words that may be searched or other search words with a higher number of hits. Adding limits to searches will reduce the number of results and may also produce zero results. While the sample databases are limited, they can help end users to familiarize themselves with FirstSearch Web interface and the searching capabilities on FirstSearch.

FirstSearch Web Guided Tour
The Guided Tour allows libraries unfamiliar with FirstSearch to easily learn about it's capabilities. It also provides new FirstSearch libraries with a tool they can use for staff orientation. Additionally, it provides current users with a bibliographic instruction tool that can be used with or instead of FirstSearch sample databases.

The FirstSearch Web Guided Tour is a brief introduction to FirstSearch which takes about 10 minutes to view. It highlights FirstSearch Web features and provides full screen views. The Guided Tour is not passworded and is available to anyone.

-OCLC, edited.



OCLC old-timers like myself remember with great fondness the old beehive terminals and the blinking lights that used to race up and down the side of the terminal telling us that our connection to Ohio was alive and well. To us, "polling" meant that the monster machines at OCLC were eager to process our cataloging changes. When OCLC combined the "Advance Line" button and the "Send" button into one, we all had visions of the increase in productivity making our directors giddy. The next major enhancement was the introduction of the XT workstation with the two floppy drives that we had to switch disks to boot up. We retired our tired old beehives in favor of those powerful new machines which could run such new and wonderful things such as the ILL and Cataloging MicroEnhancer software. Things continued to change at a comfortable pace until 1990 brought major upgrades to our lives. OCLC upgraded their twenty-year-old proprietary dedicated polling network to a "multidrop" network which screamed along at 9600 baud and 16-bit by incorporating an X.25 packet-switched portion maintained by Sprint. They also introduced the PRISM system which brought us Passport software for the first time, full-screen editing, and the ability to program our own function keys. I remember spending hours trying to program those function keys and cursing OCLC for telling me how wonderful the new system was going to be when I certainly didn't think that it was at that particular moment. Now, I know of no one who prefers the old "First" system to the "PRISM" system although I still miss that red "Master Reset" button on those old OCLC keyboards. It felt like having Presidential access to THE button.

OCLC is once again poised to make major changes to the network, to their software, and to the machines required to take advantage of the new features. I will try to help you to understand what the changes are and what you will need in order to take advantage of them.

I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can
OCLC is in the process of moving the current multidrop network over to a 32-bit TCP/IP Frame Relay network. The major difference in this network upgrade from the one in 1990 is that this will be done at a slower pace with access via the new network to be offered as an access option instead of a hot cutover. (OCLC promises no "forced march" to the new network this time around.) This network upgrade also requires some preparation on the part of participating libraries. OCLC is calling this new access option a "Dedicated TCP/IP" connection and hopes to begin to offer it by the end of the year with testing of the new access option to begin in July and run through October. The current multidrop network is scheduled to be gradually phased out by January 1, 2001. OCLC stresses that Dedicated TCP/IP is a new access option beginning in October. It does not replace the current multidrop network like the upgrade in 1990. They almost brought themselves and some of their member libraries to their knees with that style of upgrade and they will not do it again.

OCLC has not yet released pricing information on Dedicated TCP/IP but does caution, however, that not all current multidrop network libraries will be appropriate candidates for the new Dedicated TCP/IP network. Libraries with low use of their current multidrop terminals will be encouraged to migrate to Dial Access or to the Internet, where appropriate. Again, OCLC has not "frozen" the current network and has no plan to force libraries to change access methods at this time. Libraries who do not wish to migrate to Dial Access, the Internet, or to the new Dedicated TCP/IP network can remain on the current network until a more appropriate option presents itself at some point in the near future. Technology and telecommunications are changing at phenomenal speeds and something that is not in existence today can be commonplace two years from now. This is not necessarily a comfortable position, but OCLC is concentrating on the network upgrade and migration of all of the libraries it can and will return its attention to those few that it cannot migrate to the new network at a future date when the options will be different.

Are You Ready?
To qualify for Dedicated TCP/IP, a library must:
• have a TCP/IP network, or a network device that can "speak" TCP/IP to OCLC
• have its OCLC workstations connected to this network
• have or be able to purchase a router that has 1 free Ethernet port running TCP/IP (this port will be used for the OCLC connection).

Basically, OCLC will install a DSU/router in your library that will be connected to the Dedicated TCP/IP frame relay line, this router will be connected to your local LAN router via an ethernet connection, and every terminal on your local LAN would have access to OCLC with TCP/IP activity. This includes all of your web-based FirstSearch activity (faster response time than the Internet).

Workstation requirements are a little misleading because the Dedicated TCP/IP requirements are simply that the workstation must have a TCP/IP connection to the LAN but new OCLC software requires more than that. Current windows-based OCLC software includes Passport for Windows and the ILL MicroEnhancer for Windows both of which are in 1.x versions, both of which run on the current multidrop network, both of which run under Windows 3.x, Windows 95, on 486 IBM-compatible PCs, and with only 8 MB memory. The crunch comes with the new Cataloging MicroEnhancer and the future versions (2.x and beyond) of Passport for Windows and the ILL MicroEnhancer for Windows. These versions will be 32-bit applications which will not run on the current multidrop network and will require Windows 95 or Windows NT (version 3.51 with Service Pack 5, or higher) and Pentium PCs. You will also need to make sure that your printers are compatible with Windows-based applications. (This could be as easy as upgrading the printer driver or it could mean purchasing a new printer.)

The training materials included with new versions of OCLC software and the workshops conducted by NEBASE will assume that you already have a thorough knowledge of Windows-based applications. Staff who are not familiar with Microsoft Windows will need to receive some training and will need to spend some time using other Windows-based applications to help them become more comfortable with Windows.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
All of this activity will result in expanded access to current and future OCLC systems and services. Using your own equipment connected to your local area network you will be able to reach OCLC FirstSearch (menu or Web interface), OCLC EPIC service, Electronic Collections Online, OCLC Cataloging service, OCLC ILL, OCLC Selection service, OCLC Union List service, OCLC Product Services menu, Z39.50 services, and EDX. The changes will also mean changes to library services and workflow, i.e. how we do what we do. These are exciting times to be in the library business but

every once in a while I still miss those blinking lights racing up and down the side of my terminal.

-Diana Boone
Nebraska Library Commission


OCLC continues work on the Microsoft Windows-based version of the Cataloging Micro Enhancer, and expects to introduce the new product towards the end of 1997. The new product will offer many enhancements! Here is a list of some of the new functionality.

You will be able to:
• specify between 1 and 10 matches to download to your local file for batch searching; you no longer have to get a single match to have your records downloaded.
• process multiple local files in one batch of searches or transactions, and each local file can have a different authorization number.
• batch delete holdings on records which have Local Data Records (LDR's) attached.
• view the OCLC System Message of the Day after batch processing.
• print labels to laser printer label stock (multi-column).
• define an additional tag and subfield to include on your pocket labels.
• define print constants such as volume, copy, part, etc., for your labels.

CatME for Windows will include an interactive connection to OCLC Cataloging, so you will be able to log onto the OCLC system from within the CatME software. This will allow you to logon to retrieve records not found during batch searching and save them directly to your local file. You won't need to transfer the records to a file and then import them!

CatME will give you access to more OCLC databases and files. You will be able to connect to the OCLC Authority File to retrieve authority records for editing and exporting to your local system. You will also have access to the PromptCat File and the Bibliographic Record Notification File, so you can download all of your records from these services to your CatME local file. The new CatME will include a utility to allow you to convert your local files from the DOS product CAT ME Plus for use with the new Windows version.

The new software will be LAN compatible, so you will be able to store your local files on your LAN. Local files can be shared between multiple staff members; each person can access the file at the same time. You will be able to easily move or copy records from one local file to another.

The new OCLC Macro Language will allow you to create, edit, delete, and run macros for use within the CatME software. If you currently use macros with OCLC Passport for Windows software, you will already be familiar with it for CatME.

What are the system requirements for the new software?

The new Cataloging Micro Enhancer will require Windows 95 or Windows NT (version 3.51 with Service Pack 5, or higher). If you have not upgraded from previous versions of Microsoft Windows, plan to upgrade now. CatME will NOT be compatible with Windows 3.x.

The training materials included with CatME will assume that you already have a thorough knowledge of Windows-based applications. If you are not familiar with Microsoft Windows, plan to take a Windows class sometime in the coming months. Also, spend some time using other Windows-based applications to help you become more comfortable with Windows. Here is an excuse to spend some time playing the latest games!

Is your printer compatible with Windows-based applications? Do you have a printer driver compatible with your version of Windows? Plan now to upgrade your printer or printer driver if needed. You should be able to visit your printer manufacturer's web site to download the latest driver.

For connection to OCLC Cataloging, the new Cataloging Micro Enhancer supports the following access methods: OCLC dial access (asynchronous and the new TCP/IP), the Internet, the X.25 Telecommunications Linking Program (TLP), and the new dedicated TCP/IP access. OCLC Multidrop (i.e. Dedicated Line) and OCLC Communications Controller access will NOT be supported. If you access OCLC Cataloging via one of these methods, please contact Diana Boone at NEBASE for information on new OCLC telecommunications methods.

Continue to watch for more information about CatME for Windows in the coming months.

-David Whitehair
OCLC Collections & Technical Services Division


In spring 1997, OCLC expects to release a Direct ILL (DILL) service that will allow end users to create ILL requests that can be routed either to library staff or directly to potential lenders. The service will use Custom Holdings, Constant Data and profiles set up by the library to help automate borrowing. Pricing has not yet been established, but may include a mix of group subscriptions and transaction-based fees.

Expected benefits include:
• Improved service to the patrons, whose requests go immediately to lenders.
• More time for staff to spend on critical library functions.
• Improved workflow, if most request activities can be handled by the patron.

DILL should be especially useful to large research and academic libraries and to regional resource sharing groups, whose patrons could send unmediated ILL requests to other members of the group.

Using Direct ILL, a patron will submit an electronic ILL request from his or her local system or online catalog. The request will be sent immediately to OCLC where the DILL software will search for a bibliographical record. If a single record is found, DILL will look at a library-defined profile to see if the request meets the qualifications for direct ILL. IF it does, DILL will use the Custom Holdings path specified in the profile to select potential lenders. The Constant Data specified in the profile is then applied, the request is produced and goes to the message file of the first lender. The borrowing library receives reports of the requests produced by Direct ILL.

If the DILL software has a problem with a request, it is not produced by sent to the Review file. This happens if a single bibliographical record is not found, if no matching profile is found or if no Custom Holdings path is found. ILL staff can retrieve the request from the Review file, re-search the Online Union Catalog, supply lenders and produce the request or delete the request.

The profiles must be properly set up if DILL is to succeed. The profiles allow library staff to define what type of requests are eligible for unmediated ILL. Service can be limited by patron criteria, including type or status, department and maximum cost, and by bibliographic criteria such as format, date of publication and language.

For example, an academic library might have three profiles, one allowing DILL requests by faculty for anything, another allowing requests by graduate students for anything with a maximum cost of $50 and a third allowing requests by undergraduates for books in English published longer than 10 years ago with a maximum cost of $5.

Any requests not meeting these criteria would be routed to the Review file for staff processing. Review requests might include undergraduate requests for books published in 1996 or written in French, requests that refer to a custom holdings path or constant data record that does not exist, or requests for items with only one holding library if the profile states that at least three are required.

The profile can also be set intentionally to route all requests to the Review file. Even Review file requests may be better than paper forms, since the electronic requests are legible and (presumably) contain an accurate, complete citation.

Requirements for Direct ILL are:
• A local system, an ILL utility or a World Wide Web-mounted ILL template that is ISO 10160/10161 compliant.
• Internet access.
• World Wide Web capability or Lynx (or another other text-based WWW browser).
• Use of OCLC Interlibrary Loan.
• Use of OCLC ILL Custom Holdings.

Initially, Direct ILL will have a number of constraints. It will work only with monographs and will require additional fields in the ILL workform as well as changes to the Review file, to deal with the increased volume.

OCLC is working on these constraints:
• The question of how software can read union list data is being considered, so Direct ILL can be extended to copy requests.
• Two new categories will be added to the Message file: Review In Process and Save.
• New workform fields will be added: Source, Locations, Patron ID, Status, Dept., Patron Address, Phone, E-mail and Fax and Patron Note.
• A new Apply command will be added, which will allow staff to apply bibliographical data to an existing Review record or to apply both bibliographical data and a lender string to an existing Review record.

Direct ILL continues the evolution of two existing OCLC products, the FirstSearch/ILL link and OCLC ILL Transfer (formerly PRISM ILL Transfer or IPT) The FirstSearch /ILL link allows patrons to create ILL requests based on FirstSearch citations and transfer the requests automatically to the library's Review file. There staff can supply potential lenders and produce the requests. OCLC ILL Transfer allows ILL requests created in a local system to be batch-uploaded to OCLC. However, OCLC ILL Transfer uses OCLC's proprietary format, while DILL uses ISO standards.

The Third Indicator
v.11(6) Nov-Dec 1996


A new listserv has been created to discuss software of particular interest to librarians. To subscribe, just compose an e-mail message to . Leave the subject line blank and in the first line of your message, write "sub libsoft your name."

The original motivation for creating LIBSOFT was to provide a forum to discuss OCLC software (except Passport for Windows) though the purpose was expanded to include non-OCLC software such as the Cataloger's Desktop. List topics includes troubleshooting, bug reports and announcement of new products or releases of existing products, though subjects relating to Passport for Windows, the World Wide Web, linux, and particular Automated Systems should be discussed on appropriate existing lists.

The list is not currently moderated and anyone may join. Archives and list information are available on the list Home Page at Messages to the list are archived automatically at the end of each day.

-Passport for Windows LISTSERV, edited.


OCLC has released two new printing macros for use with Passport for Windows. They are available on the Passport Web page and on the Product Services Menu. The Web page URL is:

The new macros are as follows:
Multiset: Contains the macro PrintLabelSetsNoGraphics, which prompts the user for the number of label sets to print and prints to the LPT1 port.

PrintSL: Contains the macro PrintLabelFile, which prints the labels.svs file to the LPT1 port.

You can use the PrintLabelSetsNoGraphics macro when you know that you will need multiple sets of the same label.

The PrintLabelFile macro simply allows you to print your labels from the labels.svs file (created by using the SaveBlock function key) in a batch mode right from Passport.

-OCLC, edited.


OCLC Dial TCP/IP Access is a new telecommunications option that offers expanded functionality and access to OCLC systems and services that cannot be reached with asynchronous dial access.

With Dial TCP/IP Access, you can:
• Reach services such as the OCLC FirstSearch® service, the OCLC FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online service (available early summer 1997), and EDXTM (Electronic Data Exchange) at the same cost as-or less than-asynchronous dial access.
• View documentation from the OCLC Web site while running a system session, such as the OCLC Cataloging or OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILLTM ) service Connect to the Internet to access external links from OCLC Reference Services products.

Expanded OCLC Access
Dial TCP/IP Access uses Point-to-Point Protocol to connect your personal computer to TCP/IP and expand access to OCLC systems and services. Using Dial TCP/IP Access, you can reach:

• OCLC FirstSearch (menu or Web interface)
• OCLC EPIC® service
• Electronic Collections Online
• OCLC Cataloging service
• OCLC SelectionTM service
• OCLC Union List service
• OCLC Product Services menu
• OCLC FirstSearch Z39.50

You also can connect to the Internet and access external links from the OCLC NetFirstTM database, Electronic Collections Online, and other OCLC Reference Services.

Additional Functionality
Dial TCP/IP Access offers:
• The maximum number of features of any access method using a standard telephone line
• A secondary or backup method for users with Internet access
• More functionality for low-volume workstations that do not require a direct connection

Dial TCP/IP Access supports these access options:
• CompuServe network
• OCLC 800 dial-up service
And, like the OCLC asynchronous dial access option, you receive excellent OCLC support.

Response Time and Data Transmission Dial TCP/IP Access supports large data transmissions, including:
• Applications such as export of full-size bibliographic and authority records
• Electronic documentation with graphics
• Local viewing and printing of electronic documentation

System Requirements
For best response time and functionality, OCLC recommends these hardware and software components:
• MS Windows 95
• MS Windows NT 4.0 or higher
• PC with a Pentium processor
• Modem capable of accessing OCLC at 28.8 bps or higher

OCLC charges by the connect hour for Dial TCP/IP Access with no annual authorization fee. How to Connect to connect to Dial TCP/IP Access, contact NEBASE to receive a user identification code and authorization.

-OCLC, edited


Need a refresher on how to request books via OCLC? The basic steps are as follows. You will first need to find the bibliographic record for the book in OCLC. Here are some ways to find the correct record, in order of preference:

• Use the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) if available. Example: 0395657806 F11

• Do a derived author,title search (4,4). Example: grea,auto F11 You can try to limit the number of records retrieved by using qualifiers with your search such as Books, Library of Congress records, and not microforms. Example: grea,auto/bks/dlc/nm F11

• Do a derived title search (3,2,2,1). Example: aut,of,a,f F11 You can try to limit the number of records retrieved by using qualifiers with your search such as Books, Library of Congress records, and not microforms. Example: aut,of,a,f/bks/dlc/nm F11

• Do a derived author search (4,3,1) Example: grea,luc, F11 You can try to limit the number of records retrieved by using qualifiers with your search such as Books, Library of Congress records, and not microforms. Example: grea,luc,/bks/dlc/nm F11

• Combine a derived author and derived title search (find dp 4,3,1 and dt 3,2,2,1). Example: find dp grea,luc, and dt aut,of,a,f F11 You can try to limit the number of records retrieved by using qualifiers with your search such as Books, Library of Congress records, and not microforms. Example: find dp grea,luc, and dt aut,of,a,f/bks/dlc/nm F11

• Do a scan title search (SCAN TI). Example: scan ti autobiography of a face F11

1. After you have found the correct record for the magazine on OCLC, look at the holdings information by typing in the union list command: dhne$a F11

2. Call up an ILL workform by typing: wf tpa,tpb,tpc F11. Where "tpa,tpb,tpc" is the OCLC symbol of the libraries that hold the book or your resource center library. You may include up to five library symbols in your request.

3. Arrow down to the :PATRON: field on the workform and fill in the name of the patron requesting the book.

4. Check the information in the rest of the workform and change it if necessary.

5. After you have everything filled in, press Alt F10 (at the same time) to send the edits.

6. Press to reformat the screen and proofread to make sure everything is correct.

7. Send the request by pressing pF11.

-Diana Boone
Nebraska Library Commission



Many of the methods we use to evaluate "traditional" sources will work for information we find on the Web, but there are also special considerations for the Web specifically. For example, determining who is the author is important for both traditional resources and Web information. Unique to the Web environment, however, is the need for additional software to view the information.

I've come up with eleven areas of consideration when I find information on the Web that help me evaluate it. The first five points are commonly used with traditional rescues and the others are what I believe to be "Web specific."

Who is the author, creator or publisher of the information? Sometimes you'll get lucky and it will be clearly stated on a web site. The site called Purchase of Blocking Software By Public Libraries Is Unconstitutional at is an example of a clearly stated author.

Other times determining the author or responsible party can be a little more difficult. The Banned Books Online at is actually part of On-line Books Page,, from Carnegie Mellon University but isn't very easy to determine.

Sometimes you can use the site's URL to determine the author or creator of the information. For example, information found at would probably be trustworthy information about the population of the United States.

How can we verify the information found on a Web site? This can be very tricky on Web sites because a site can look "official" and be packed with information, but when it comes to verifying, there isn't much to go on. An example of a great page that's full of information is The Somewhat Amusing World of Frogs at viewing the information, however, we have to ask ourselves "Who is Craig Latham and why does he know so much about frogs"?

Nebguides at, on the other hand, list the author, his or her qualifications and have the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Rescues as the publisher. We know we can verify this information with a quick phone call or e-mail to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Purpose/Point of View
What company or organization is sponsoring or publishing this author's information and what is the purpose of the information? Is the information entertainment, an advertisement or informational? For example, the site for the movie "Austin Powers" on New Line Cinema's site could be considered more of a commercial than Roger Ebert's Review of "Austin Powers" in the Chicago Sun Times at
http://www.suntimes. com/ebert/reviews/austin_powers.html which is more informational.

When was the information published or updated? A site called Copyright, Fair Use and Other Legal Matters at states right on it that it was updated in 1995. We might wonder if other legal developments have occurred since then and look for another site.

The United States Supreme Court at, on the other hand, states that it will publish the bench opinions (text of the opinion as it is handed down from the bench) on the day the Court release's it.

Who is the intended audience? To what depth is the information presented? Many times the author or creator of the information will state the intention of the site. The Interactive Frog Dissection at http://curry.edschool.Virginia.EDU/go/frog/ states that was designed for use in high school biology classrooms.Sometimes the intended audience or depth of coverage is a guessing game.

Below are the evaluation methods that may apply to Internet/Web Information specifically.

We should always question the integrity and security of a site. For example, last fall during the Presidential debates, Bob Dole announced his Web site. By the next morning someone has broken in and changed it to a Clinton/Gore site. A similar incident happened to the CIA site, which was broken into and changed to the Central Stupidity Agency. Internet security isn't always reliable and it is a good idea to question everything you see on the Internet.

No Guarantees
There are no guarantees on the Web that a site you've used for months will be there tomorrow. Web information is much more like people than books or print resources in that they often move or disappear, without leaving a forwarding address. When this happens we have to find a new site that can answer our questions.

Additional Software
Some sites require additional software to access the information . For example, tax forms are usually in PDF format (portable document format) and require you to download and install the Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to access them. The Internet is becoming more a multimedia experience and many file formats are out there. You will have to decide if the information you need is worth the extra effort of installing additional software.

Links It is not uncommon for a site with a particular point of view to link to a site with a totally different point of view or audience. For example, you may be on a site about the U.S. Supreme Court and all of a sudden you find yourself on a capitol punishment site. The ability to make links to information is really the essence of the Web. You just need to keep your eyes open and realized that just links don't always reflect the ideas or views of the place that links to it.

Search Engines Find Information that Matches Your Search String
Just as you can't believe everything you read, you can't believe that the results you get from a search engine are either relevant or accurate. Search engines can only try to match your choice of keywords with sites that have been indexed. The most relevant site may not even be indexed or the creator of the most relevant site may not have registered the site with the search engine.

Does the Information Meet Your Needs or the Needs of Your Patron?
I think we often overlook this very basic question when we evaluate information and try to find the most "legitimate" or "official" information instead of finding what answers the question. If my son brings home a strange looking frog and we want to find out what kind it is and we find that information on Jackson's Homepage for 5 Year Olds (because Jackson has one just like it), don't feel that you failed because it wasn't an "official" site. Please keep in mind that the information seeker always has the last word in relevance and satisfaction.

-Annie Sternburg
Nebraska Library Commission


Maps can be some of the most cumbersome holdings in a library, often requiring vertical file storage, and they can quickly outlive their usefulness. A number of Web offerings could solve this problem while offering greater flexibility and interactivity to map viewers. Most users' needs can be met by one of three sites, but a quick trip through the Yahoo directory under "Regional" can help users with more specific map requests.

Users in need of direction can turn to Yahoo Maps for U.S. regional, city, neighborhood and Point-to-Point mapping. When teamed up with the Yahoo Yellow Pages SEC=start&CMD=FILL, the service can tell users where to go and how to get there. I tested these possibilities using Yahoo Yellow Pages and Maps. First I searched for business addresses in a Madison zip code. I selected the Madison Public Library and requested a map of my destination. The map offered a number of choices for zooming in and out, showing maps of the surrounding areas and giving detailed street names. From the Madison Public Library map, I requested "DriveIt" instructions from the library to 814 West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee (the Milwaukee Public Library). The Yahoo service provided a general map showing the entire trip from city to city with written driving instructions below. Once again, it offered options for more detailed, smaller maps of the beginning and end-points of my journey, more detailed written instructions, and small maps all along the travel route. MapQuest offers similar services, but with less success than the Yahoo site. While MapQuest's TripQuest performed well for general searches, it failed to recognize addresses for either library and could not offer more approximate maps when its database offered no specific records.

For users more interested in mapping and census information, the U.S. Census Bureau's U.S. Gazetteer provides clear, detailed and free maps which link census data to the graphics. The census maps offer the same viewing flexibility as the Yahoo maps, but can add features including zip codes, county borders, census blocks, population density and much more. Once the Gazetteer delivers a map, users may "redraw" it after selecting changes in location, color scheme, or included census information. Like the Yahoo service, however, the U.S. Gazetteer only offers U.S. maps.

Users interested in international information do not have the advantage of a single interactive database. Active Maps World-Wide provides the best clearinghouse of international mapping sites. Few of these sites provide such detailed offerings as the two U.S. services above, but pages for some individual countries can approach that detail and specificity, particularly for tourist centers. Users with interest in less-industrialized nations may have a more difficult search ahead of them. This brief list of Web-based map services can provide only a small sample of the electronic mapping resources available both via Internet and through CD-ROM. As libraries increase their use of such resources, reference-based bookmark pages could replace some vertical file content.

-Celena Kusch
Missouri Library Network Corporation
QuickFlash, no.103
April 1997


Throughout May and June, multimedia PCs for public access to the Internet World Wide Web and a variety of CD-ROM titles and other software were delivered to rural libraries across Nebraska. The computers and software, resulting from a partnership between Microsoft corporation and the Nebraska Library Commission, provides public access to the Internet and other computer resources in 15 rural Nebraska libraries. Allana Novotny, Library Commission Network Services Librarian, delivered the computers with the software loaded and trained library staff and volunteers, along with other members of the community. For more information, see the Commission Home Page, or contact Allana Novotny, 402-471-6681 or 800-307-2665, e-mail: Allana Novotny .

-Mary Jo Ryan
Nebraska Library Commission


10. Improve Computer Literacy: There must be a place in every community where citizens can come and work on a computer. Not using a computer in the Information Age is like not adopting machine use during the Industrial Revolution.

9. Stay Current: Libraries no longer operate in a business-as-usual atmosphere. To remain the source for current and exciting information, library administrators must embrace the Internet as a viable and vital information source.

8. Connect to the World: The Internet will allow rural patrons to connect to information, places, and most importantly, people, from throughout the world. Imagine your patrons being able to e-mail children in Bosnia. It is a reality-today-on the Internet.

7. Access to More Information: Electronic publishing is flooding the Internet. There is compelling and important information only available via this resource.

6. Save Money: Many expensive print reference resources can be downloaded or accessed via the Internet. This will alleviate the cost of libraries to replace this information each year, plus it will free up shelf space. Dare we suggest the possible alleviation of expansion of buildings? Reutilization of existing space may be the answer.

5. Relieve Isolation: Through the Internet, patrons can interact with special interest groups from throughout the country. By producing a World Wide Web homepage and/or by providing e-mail accounts, rural libraries invite the "world" into their building.

4. Network with Colleagues: Imagine staffing a small library and having questions as to how to best provide service. Via the Internet, librarians have access to discussion groups within the profession, which offers strategies and solutions to common problems and concerns. No problem or question is too small for the Internet. No one has to operate "alone" anymore.

3. Provide Leadership Role: Librarians have traditionally been thought of as information specialists. By providing Internet access within the community, they are once again filling the shoes of the information expert-the one who is in the "know."

2. Equalization of Information: Patrons living in rural areas should not be penalized because they do not have access to the same information as a patron living in an urban area. The library is the logical place to provide that equity of access.

And the number one reason rural libraries would connect to the Internet is:
1. It's a Matter of Trust! Patrons expect the library to be the source of information. If the library doesn't connect, then patrons will find someone else who will, and it probably won't be free, and therefore, not equal. For generations the library has been the trusted place for new and compelling information provided freely in a variety of formats. It's time to continue that tradition.

-From: Rural Library Services Newsletter, Jan.-Feb., 1996, p. 4.
Permission to reprint granted by the Northwest (Ohio) Library District


Do you want a discount on your phone bill and other library telecommunications services? In June, Nebraska libraries received a packet with information about discounts for telecommunications services for schools and libraries, ranging from 20% to 90%, and based on community eligibility for free and reduced price school lunches.

Although discounts will become available on January 1, 1998, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis (possibly beginning in July 1997). Nebraska schools and libraries will not only compete with each other for these discounts, but will also compete with schools and libraries across the country. Only $2.25 billion dollars will be made available for the entire country this year.

If you want your library to get its share of this $2.25 billion dollars, you must: Begin now to develop a comprehensive technology plan and list the services to be discounted. Technology Planning Worksheets were mailed to all public libraries.

Submit an application form to the universal service fund administrator. The Nebraska Library Commission will distribute forms to Nebraska libraries as soon as they become available. Forms will include: a) Certification re: level of discount based on economic need. Requirements specify that the discount be measured by the number of students eligible for the national free and reduced school lunch for the school district in which the library resides. The Library Commission can supply information re: local discounts to interested libraries. b) A technology plan (see above). Approval of the technology plan by the Library Commission may be required. c) A description of the services to be discounted. d) Certification as to the eligibility of the library and that discounted services will not be resold and will be used only for educational purposes.

Contact Ellen Van Waart, Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N St., Suite 120, Lincoln NE 68508-2023, 402-471-4004, 800-307-2665. For a variety of current resources to assist in the planning process, see /nsf/universal.html.

-Mary Jo Ryan
Nebraska Library Commission


The recently distributed Technical Bulletin 222 OCLC Interlibrary Loan Enhancements contains an error in section 5, The Apply Command. In both Step/Action tables on page 12, the command for returning to the display of a Review request is incorrect. The command line should read: To return to the display of the Review request, type *ill* and press F11. Please make a note of this correction in your printed copy of TB 222. The error has been corrected in the electronic versions of the Technical Bulletin available via the OCLC Web site and via FTP. We apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

-Deb Lewis
Myrtle Myers