Nebraska Library Commission
          Network Services

                march/april 1998 vol.4 no.2 issn 1082-4383

MARCH/APRIL Issue Highlights:
Welcoming New Faces
Frequently Asked Questions About E-Rate and OCLC
Change in Policy for OCLC Access Suite
New Nebraska Statutes Database
Telecommunications and Networking Technology Videoconference

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
E-mail: [obsolete]
Home Page: /netserv/netserv.html


Devra Dragos is the Library Commission's new OCLC Member Services Coordinator. Devra's responsibilities in the position are providing technical support and training for libraries using OCLC products, answering support calls, traveling to libraries to provide training, writing OCLC articles and traveling to Dublin, Ohio for OCLC meetings and updates. She became a librarian after a professionally unsatisfying stint in the business world. Having worked in a library in both Jr. and Sr. High School, she decided working in a library might be more satisfying due to her love of research and reading. She moved to Omaha to attend UNO and enrolled in the Library Science courses. She graduated with a BS in education and completed her MLS in Columbia at the University of Missouri. Formerly, Devra was the librarian at the Beatrice State Development Center.

Of the Internet, Devra says there is a lot of valuable information to be found but it is a frustrating search environment due to lack of standardized subject headings. If Devra could make any change in the library world, she would like to see every Nebraskan pay taxes for library services and provide a universal library card for statewide services. Devra is an avid reader and a fan of mysteries. Her favorite authors are Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey and Charlotte MacLeod but she says that she reads just about anything. Devra has lived in six states but has come back to Nebraska twice. In her free time, Devra enjoys travel first and foremost. She is learning how to play bridge currently and is investigating the art of quilting as another potential hobby.

-Lisa Brawner
Nebraska Library Commission


Devra Dragos has joined the staff of the Nebraska Library Commission as the newest member of the NEBASE team (see story on page 1). When she became a Commission staff member, she changed her position on the NEBASE Advisory Council from advisory to "the advised" and we found ourselves without a representative for the Special/School membership.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce that Michele Parks, Director of the Regional West Medical Center has agreed to fill that position. She will be completing Devra's term (which expires at the end of 1998) and will be eligible for re-election to another term at that time. Michele will join us for a meeting in Fremont on February 23rd and we are already making plans to meet closer to Michele's home library in the future.

-Jo Budler
Nebraska Library Commission


Is a NEON:
1. a colorless, odorless primarily inert gaseous element found in minute amounts in air and used in electric lamps
2. a small car manufactured by Chrysler
3. member of NEBASE
4. all of the above.

Answer: All of the above, but most importantly, a NEON is a NEBASE member library. NEON is the name given a library who chooses to use OCLC services as a "Selective User." NEONs utilize the interlibrary loan system as members of a GAC (Group Access Capability). What this means is: NEONs can search the OCLC Online Union Catalog (WorldCat) and may see the holdings of other Nebraska libraries (who have added their holdings to this database). Up until mid-1997, only full cataloging members of NEBASE added their holdings to the WorldCat. But in 1997, 31 NEONs added more than 560,000 holdings to the records in WorldCat.

So, the next time someone asks what a NEON is, remember that a NEON is a NEBASE member who has elected to use OCLC to conduct Interlibrary Loan.

-Jo Budler
Nebraska Library Commission



As you all know, the trial for Britannica Online ended at the end of December. Becky Henry, a sales representative from Britannica, has issued an invitation to public libraries to subscribe. You will all be receiving this invitation via U.S. Mail. This invitation appears below and includes pricing information.

School media centers, K-12, will receive a similar invitation shortly. Please note that pricing is different according to the type of library. If you are interested in subscribing, please contact Becky Henry at 800-621-3900 x6462.

-Jo Budler Nebraska Library Commission

To all Nebraska Public Libraries:

For more than a year, Britannica has provided Britannica Online to the following institutions: Chadron State College, Clarkson College, Concordia Teachers College, Creighton University, Dana College, Hastings College, Metropolitan CC, Midland Lutheran College, Union College, University of Nebraska, Western Nebraska CC, and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

At this time, Britannica would like to extend an invitation to all public libraries in Nebraska for an additional free two-week preview of Britannica Online for consideration in joining the NEBASE Consortium for accessing Britannica Online via the Internet.

The cost for the public libraries is 5% of the total population served x .50 cents per user. For example: If the total population served is 2,300, 5% of the weighted users is 115 x .50 cents. The amount for a subscription based on 212 days left until the agreement expires is $33.39. The expiration date for the current agreement is August 31, 1998.

Access to Britannica Online may be arranged through static or dynamic IP Addresses. Current pricing policy is available upon request along with all information regarding the preview. To take advantage of this invitation, please contact Becky Henry with any questions at 800-621-3900 x6462.

-Becky Henry
Britannica Online
Account executive



A new database from the Information Access Company has been loaded onto FirstSearch: Health Reference Center - Academic. This database adds additional full-text offerings as well as provides an excellent resource to help libraries with the growing demand for medical information. Health Reference Center - Academic will be joined by Health Reference Center next month when the lay researchers' version of the database is added to FirstSearch.

Health Reference Center - Academic provides access to 40+ full-text nursing and allied health journals, plus a wide variety of personal health information sources. It includes indexing for over 200 (and full-text for over 100) journals and 500+ full-text pamphlets. It also includes contact information for support groups, hotlines and research centers from The Complete Directory for People with Chronic Illness, as well as full text of several medical reference books. The database will include the current year, plus three year's backfile.

Health Reference Center is one of the databases on trial in Nebraska. Please see our home page at /netserv/access.html.

[OCLC, edited]



Enhancements added in December:

·"Related Subjects" allows users to click on and search the most frequently-occurring subject headings from records retrieved by a search. The "Related Subjects" capability is available on the following databases: ABI/INFORM, BasicBIOSIS, Books In Print, CA Student Edition, CINAHL, Contents 1st, EBSCO, ERIC, GeoRef, GPO, INSPEC, MEDLINE, NetFirst, Periodical Abstracts, PsycFIRST, PsycINFO, RILM, Soc Abstracts, SocioAbs, and OCLC Union Lists of Periodicals. It will be made available on other databases that have subject headings over the next few months.
·"Browse Index" A new name for "WordList," with improved functionality. Clicking on a term in the resulting index listing now places the term in the "Search for" box, so it can be combined with other terms.
·The "Periodicals Contents Index" (PCI) database is now available on the OCLC FirstSearch service.

This database indexes the contents of older issues of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences and will enable researchers to search back volumes of journals easily. PCI includes the complete table of contents for each issue of each journal. Each record includes the bibliographic information for an individual journal and information for an article from the journal's table of contents. Through PCI on FirstSearch, users can locate articles and find out instantly if their library owns the journal.

"Periodicals Contents Index" is being offered in two editions, the Complete edition, with coverage from 1770 to 1990/91, including more than 2,076 journals and records for more than 8.5 million articles; and the Subset edition, which covers 1960/61 to 1990/91. It also includes journals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and other Western languages.

Enhancements added in January:

· A new "Welcome to FirstSearch" screen which outlines database areas and how to get started.
· Combined database/search screen-saves a step, separates OCLC databases from the others, and helps users with links to database information.
· You can now add a note when e-mailing records!
· Name and address information on ILL requests and e-mailing records will stay persistent. You only need to fill in your information once during a FirstSearch session. For all subsequent e-mail records or ILL requests during that search session, the address information will be pre-filled for you. You can still change the information if you need to.
· The ability to select a "Minimum Graphics" interface-using minimum graphics can improve your response time. The screens themselves won't change; they will just appear without graphics.
· Diacritics will be added to some of the records in the following databases: Periodicals Contents Index (Full file), Periodicals Contents Index (Subset File), OCLC Union Lists of Periodicals, FactSearch.



Libraries can now view their library's usage statistics for the OCLC FirstSearch service via the World Wide Web. Whether you have per-search or subscription access to FirstSearch, or a combination of per-search and subscription authorizations, you now have access to statistics that cover searching activity, simultaneous logon activity, the number of full-text documents ordered and more. (Note: statistics for libraries with card authorizations will not be available.)

Access to these statistics will enable you to more effectively manage account activity. You can easily assess database activity, which will help you determine which databases best meet your users' needs. This will help you plan purchases for access to specific databases.

To access the usage statistics, point your Web browser to then enter your FirstSearch authorization and administrative password-the one you use to access the administrative module in FirstSearch. The screens in the service prompt you for additional information and include pull-down menus, enabling you to select the specific report and reporting period (reported on a rolling 13-month calendar).

The usage statistics are available in up to 15 different online reports, depending on how your library accesses FirstSearch. They provide four primary views of activity on FirstSearch as they apply to your library: (1) overview activity, (2) subscription activity, (3) per-search activity, and (4) full-text document activity. Libraries that belong to consortia have access to consortial activity reporting as well as reporting for their individual libraries.

Changes that you initiate to your administrative password must be made in the FirstSearch administrative module. The system is updated daily, so password changes will take effect by the next business day.

To maintain the confidentiality of the information in the usage statistics, the Web site for the service is not linked from FirstSearch, nor can you link to it from the Reference Services home page or the OCLC home page.

If you have questions about the new usage statistics on FirstSearch, contact Jeannette Powell, 402-471-7740 or 800-307-2665, e-mail: Jeannette Powell .

[OCLC, edited]


Increased discussion and publicity in the library community about E-Rates, universal service, and library discounts may prompt questions from OCLC members. The situation changes daily and remains unclear, but OCLC is committed to helping its members use E-Rates to their advantage.

Does OCLC qualify for E-Rates?
To be considered eligible, a library or library consortium must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act. OCLC does not qualify for E-Rates because (among other reasons) it does not meet this statutory requirement.

What qualifies a library for E-Rates?
Only certain libraries are eligible for E-Rates. In order to be eligible to participate in the Universal Service Fund (USF) program, schools and libraries must meet the following requirements (among others): (1) Their state must have implemented the FCC's USF program; (2) Libraries must (a) be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and (b) not operate as a for-profit business. Also (3) To be considered eligible, (a) Libraries must not resell the discounted services, and (b) Libraries must use the services for educational purposes.

Eligible libraries include public, elementary or secondary school libraries, academic libraries, research libraries, and private libraries subject to state determination. Eligible libraries must either be associated with an elementary or secondary school, or independent of any institution of higher education. Libraries which are a part of an eligible school will generally participate in the program as a part of that school.

How many of OCLC's member libraries are likely to qualify for E-Rates?.
OCLC does not have access to the specific information that must be filed by member libraries to qualify for E-Rates.

What telecommunications services qualify for E-Rate discounts?
All commercially available telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections qualify for E-Rate discounts. The federal fund can be used for intra-state discounts only if the state adopts intrastate discount levels at least equal to the federal discounts. Discounts can be applied to all equipment that "is necessary to transport information all the way to individual classrooms." This includes wiring, routers, hubs, network file servers (including the necessary software), installation and maintenance of internal connections, and wireless local area networks (LANs). Discounts can also be applied to Internet e-mail service.

What telecommunications services do not qualify for E-Rate discounts?
Discounts may not be used for equipment such as computers (with the exception of network file servers) and other hardware, software (with the exception of the software required for the operation of network file servers), fax machines, modems, teacher training, upgrades to the electrical system, and asbestos removal. Also not eligible for discounts are subscriptions for content, training, non-network software, voice mail or information services in general, electrical connections, and security.

Are Internet services used to access OCLC services eligible for E-Rates?
Internet access services obtained by an eligible library from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and subsequently used to gain access to OCLC services may, under certain circumstances, be eligible for E-Rate discounts from the ISP. These arrangements would be made directly between the library and the ISP.

Does OCLC qualify as a telecommunications services provider under USF rules?
After a thorough investigation of this issue, it has been determined that OCLC does not qualify to receive funds from the USF.

How is OCLC working to assist its Members that qualify for E-Rates?
OCLC continues to research the related issues and analyze the implications with all deliberate speed to understand how it can help its membership use E-Rates to their advantage.

Libraries seeking additional information are encouraged to contact professional organizations or appropriate state library or education agencies. For example, see, which is hosted by The International Telecomputing Consortium and maintained by the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy.

[OCLC, edited]


During the past few weeks OCLC has heard concerns from Networks and Member libraries regarding the packaging and pricing of the OCLC Access Suite. In response to those concerns OCLC is revising its policy regarding the terms and conditions for the OCLC Access Suite as well as the individual software packages that comprise the Access Suite.

OCLC Access Suite
The OCLC Access Suite is a single CD-ROM that contains the Windows version of the Cataloging Micro Enhancer, the Windows version of the ILL Micro Enhancer, Passport for Windows, CJK for Windows, and the OCLC Label program. The Access Suite is now available for purchase at an annual license fee of $99 for a single user license and $990 for a Site License (prices stated are the prices to the Network). Purchase of the Access Suite is optional.

Individual Software Packages
All of the software packages listed above with the exception of the CJK software continue to be available separately at their current prices. The Access Suite is priced lower than the current price for CJK only, so we will no longer offer CJK as a stand-alone software package. Cat ME, ILL ME, and Passport will continue to be sold as individual packages available on CD-ROM and diskette. The CD-ROM used for distribution of individual software packages will be the same CD-ROM used for the full Access Suite; however, the users will only pay for the package(s) they want to use.

OCLC Access Suite Single Workstation license (SOF9321) - has been changed from $129 per year to $99 per year.

OCLC Access Suite Site License (SOF9322) - has been changed from $1290 per year to $990 per year.

CatME Plus and ILL ME Plus (SOF9323 and SOF9324)-discounted pricing for users upgrading to the OCLC Access Suite-have been deleted since the price of the Suite has been reduced to the previous upgrade dollar amounts of $99 and $990.

OCLC CJK Software is no longer available separately as CJK6508 or CJK6507 (single and site license respectively). CJK has always been an annually licensed product. The annual license for the OCLC Access Suite is considerably less than the annual license for CJK software ($395 single, $1395 site). OCLC has therefore decided to eliminate CJK as an individually available product in favor of the lower priced Suite.

Future Directions
OCLC will work with the Networks in the coming weeks to explore whether new pricing and license terms for the Access Suite as well as the individual software packages are desired for next fiscal year. This review will address the concerns raised in the past few weeks about the Access Suite and in particular the necessity of meeting the needs of small libraries as well as large libraries. A task force of 3-4 Network representatives will be assembled to provide an initial review of OCLC's plans prior to a review by all the Networks. We will get this process underway immediately in order to have all the details worked out before OCLC's pricing is announced for FY98/99. OCLC is committed to providing cost-effective services to libraries.

-Gary Houk


OCLC's Internet Cataloging Project (InterCat) continues to grow. InterCat is a searchable database containing bibliographic records for Internet resources that have been selected and cataloged by libraries worldwide. Each descriptive record provides Internet access information. Access many of these resources by clicking the underlined portion of the Electronic Access field. Here are some recent statistics that may be of interest to you.

· On September 30, the InterCat Catalog contained 18,407 bibliographic records each with at least one 856 field.

· During September 1997, 1,957 records were added compared to 204 added in September 1996. The previous high for a single month was 1,425 in July 1997.

· So far, a total of 9,929 records have been added in 1997, while 5,928 records were added in all of 1996.

· In the last 12 months, 12,224 records have been added, 66 percent of the current total.

· Using a sliding six-month average, 1,205 records are being added monthly.

· As of December 31, 1996, the database contained 8,478 records. Extrapolating the current growth, the database will contain 22,022 records by December 31, 1997, an annual growth rate of approximately 260 percent.

The number of libraries adding records to InterCat is growing, the number of items selected and cataloged is growing and the rate of growth is accelerating. For information about the InterCat Catalog, contact OCLC's Erik Jul.

-Rosario Garza, BCR
Action for Libraries: BCR Network News
November 1997 v.23(11)


One of the topics discussed recently on the ILL-Listserv was how OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service requests are aged. Since requests remain in each library's Message File for four working days, it is important to understand what days count.

The clock starts on the day the request was created, or, on the first system day thereafter. That is, if a request is created on a Sunday, then the first day of the four system days in Monday.

Early every morning, OCLC runs a program that looks at every request to see if there is a time-sensitive task that needs to be performed. Some examples of time-sensitive tasks include has the DueDate been reached, or has the NeedBefore date been reached. This process also looks at the date the request was created. If this is now system day five (four system days have passed), the request is forwarded to the next potential lender.

The following example is for a request created on Friday, May 16.
· May 16 is day one.
· May 17 (Saturday) is a non-system day.
· May 18 (Sunday) is a non-system day.
· May 19 is day two.
· May 20 is day three.
· May 21 is day four.
In the early morning on May 22, the request is sent to the next potential lender.

[OCLC, SUNY/OCLC, edited]


With the new OCLC ILL Direct Request service, libraries can allow their users to initiate requests and send them directly to the OCLC Interlibrary Loan service.

The first user-initiated request was placed at the University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan filled the request. Both institutions are participants in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which comprises 12 major teaching and research university libraries. The CIC Virtual Electronic Library uses OCLC online services and software, including Direct Request, to share resources.

With Direct Request, a library user searches and locates materials through an electronic service, such as an online union catalog or the OCLC FirstSearch service. External software, such as OCLC SiteSearch WebZ software, authenticates the end user and sends the request to OCLC in an ISO-compliant message. The OCLC ILL system processes the request, according to Web-based profiles the library has determined, and sends the request to the first potential lender.

"Interlibrary loan staff are in complete control of the process," said Collette Mak, consulting product support specialist, OCLC Collections and Resource Sharing. "With Direct Request profiles, the library staff control not just which requests can be automatically processed, but how they are processed. Each library can continue to set its own policies and procedures and let Direct Request do the work."

The OCLC ILL Direct Request service is an option for libraries that participate in the OCLC Interlibrary Loan service. Direct Request automates the interlibrary loan process to improve productivity by expanding interlibrary loan services and reducing staff work.




An new searchable version of the Nebraska Constitution, Statutes and Uniform Commercial Code is available for librarians to use at This service is an alternative to the statutes database at the legislative site which uses the Folio search engine. It is being provided as a continuation of the agreement the Library Commission made with the Legislature to give librarians access to legislative information on the original Nebrask@ Online bulletin board system.

The opening screen offers the user the choice of searching all three databases simultaneously or choosing one of them. Keyword searches can be performed by typing in one or more words. The search engine looks for all of the words (the boolean "and" is the default operator). Phrase searching is done by putting words in quotation marks. Using the symbol "|" or "^" (without the quotes) between words means "or" or "not". Commands can also be nested together for more advanced searching. Searching is not case-sensitive (e.g. "state library" and "State Library" will retrieve the same results). A help page giving sample searches is clearly linked directly from the search page.

A nice feature of the service is easy browsing capability. If the user clicks on the link to one of the three databases she will see a hotlinked table of contents with the search box at the top of the page. Clicking on the link for each chapter will bring up a detailed table of contents. Users can use the keyword search with the option at this point of searching only within that database.

-Beth Goble
Nebraska Library Commission


Many Nebraska state agencies, boards, commissions, elected officials and state-funded colleges now have World Wide Web Internet sites. Increasingly these agencies are using their Web sites to post frequently-requested information and publications for the public. The State Government Publications Online home page at is a part of the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse service of the Library Commission. For the past year the home page has consisted of selected state agency publications scanned and posted in pdf format by Library Commission staff. In December the home page was reorganized and expanded to also include pointers to several hundred publications posted on agency web sites. Users can go to the site, locate a state agency and bring up a title listing of hotlinks to online publications and information. For more information about the home page contact Bonnie Henzel at the Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-6285 or 800-307-2665, e-mail: Bonnie Henzel .

-Bonnie Henzel
Nebraska Library Commission


The Government Printing Office (GPO), National Library of Education (NLE) and OCLC are cooperating in a pilot project to make public-domain reports from the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) available to libraries online, without charge, through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

The FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project, scheduled to start in 1998, will give participants information on managing a large, high-demand collection of full-text documents in an electronic environment.

"GPO is deeply committed to providing leadership in the transition of government information to electronic form," said Public Printer Michael F. DiMario, head of the Government Printing Office. "The FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project is an exciting model partnership that will not only provide a popular series of reports electronically, but can lead the way for other government agencies and the library community in making electronic government information more accessible through the FDLP."

The FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project is one of several GPO partnership arrangements that match government information producers with library and other institutional resources for electronic storage, dissemination and access. "Partnerships are a key element to stable, long-term access to electronic government information," said Superintendent of Documents Francis Buckley. "They build on the successful model of cooperation between GPO and local libraries for dissemination of and public access to government information."

"The National Library of Education is excited about a new project that will provide quality ERIC reports to greater numbers of people, thus making education information more accessible," said Blane K. Dessy, director, National Library of Education. "The library is very pleased to work with OCLC and GPO on this new venture."

"This pilot project exemplifies how the new electronic media can help democratize access to government information," said K. Wayne Smith, president and CEO, OCLC. "It holds the promise of providing both citizens and libraries with better, cheaper and faster access to government information."

In the FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project, ERIC reports in TIFF format are indexed for storage in eight robotic automated cartridge systems that can handle more than 4 terabytes of information in each system. With a total of 32 terabytes, the storage systems can hold some 12.8 billion typewritten pages. The storage systems are housed at OCLC's Dublin, Ohio, headquarters.

The electronically stored ERIC reports will be accessible to libraries in the FDLP through the OCLC FirstSearch service, the online reference service designed for library users, and will be available free of charge through Federal Depository Libraries.

ERIC is a federally funded national information system that provides, through its 16 subject-specific clearinghouses, associated adjunct clearinghouses and support components, a variety of services and products on a broad range of education-related issues.

GPO prints and distributes the publications of the Congress, the Judiciary and the executive departments and establishments of the federal government. The FDLP provides government publications and government information to a network of nearly 1,400 geographically disbursed libraries for comprehensive, equitable, dependable no-fee local access. Distribution is being accomplished on an increasing basis via electronic media in accordance with Public Law 103-40, "The Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993." The National Library of Education (NLE) is the largest federally funded library devoted entirely to education. It is the federal government's principal center for one-stop information and referral on education.

OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more than 25,000 libraries in 63 countries and territories.

-Nita Dean



[The following article is a summary of a presentation made at the 1997 AMIGOS Fall conference in Dallas (November 6).]

The "browser wars" are on in earnest. Netscape's navigator (now part of the larger Communicator suite) has held by far the biggest market share over the past couple of years, but Microsoft's Internet Explorer is making serious inroads, having gone from an estimated 3 percent market share in 1995 to around 30 percent currently. And now the Justice Department has gotten into the fray, accusing Microsoft of unfair marketing practices in forcing PC manufacturers to install Explorer on all Windows 95 machines.

Which browser is for you? Should you upgrade to the latest version? Both companies have recently released new versions of their browsers: Netscape's 4.0 version came out in June, while Micorsoft's 4.0 was released October 1. Both companies have added significant features to their latest releases. This column will briefly summarized the upgrades.

No longer is the browser a stand-alone applications. The latest versions from both companies provide entire suites of Internet applications, including software for e-mail, Usenet newsgroups, HTML editing, video and voice conferencing, whiteboard, chat, and more. There are many more installation options, ranging from downloading the browser only to the full suite. One of the most significant new features is support for "push" technology, which allows the user to subscribe to "channels" and receive information automatically at the desktop. Netscape has 700 channels from various providers, and Microsoft is not far behind. The user can determine not only which (if any) channels to subscribe to, but how often they should be updated and when. Users can also subscribe to specific Web pages or sites (outside the channels), and choose to be notified whenever those pages change and whether to have the page(s) automatically downloaded for off-line viewing.

Both browsers provide some integration into the operating system, but Microsoft (not surprisingly) is further along in this area, at least with Windows 95 and NT. Their 4.0 browser has not yet been released for versions of Windows 3. If you implement the full Microsoft desktop integration, icon text becomes hotlinked, allowing single click activation of browser-like toolbars. You can use the browser interface to browser your hard drive, diskette or network drives. These features supposedly constitute a sneak preview of what the Windows 98 operating system may look like.

So how can you decide which browser is right for your library? If nothing prevents you from doing so, why not offer your patrons a choice-load both. Power users among your staff will probably want both. If technical support, hard drive space, or processing power (etc.) is limited, you may want to stick with what you know, and load only the version that includes the features you really need. Versions 3 of both browsers are more than adequate for providing WWW access; there is no compelling reason to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.

-Will Stuivenga
Agenda & OCLC Connection 97-11


At a recent conference I heard a representative from Northern Light speak about their search engine. I found some of their features interesting and wanted to share them with you. Northern Light searches both the Web and Northern Light's own Special Collection. Northern Light's Special Collection is a collection of 1,800 journals and magazines from which users can purchase full text articles. Northern Light provides the full text of an article at a cost between $1.00 and $4.00 per article. A user can also set up a subscription account that gives access to the full text (up to 50 articles a month) from a list of 800 selected titles. The current price of the subscription account is $4.95 a month. At this time you must use a credit card to purchase documents or set up a subscription account. The company is in the process of developing a payment plan for institutions.

A second interesting feature of Northern Light is its custom folders. Search results are displayed in two ways: a basic result list and a set of custom folders. The custom folders are created by grouping results of your search. There are four types of folders but there can be more than one type of folder in the custom folder results list. The four types are Subject, Type, Source, and Language. As you browse these folders they may also contain sub-folders that will help to further narrow your search.

-Allana Novotny
Nebraska Library Commission


Ping is a small program that sends little TCP/IP message packets across the Internet to a remote computer and reports the time in milliseconds it takes to get there and back. It works like sonar, which sends out a sound (ping) and determines distance based on response time. Shorter response times are obviously better, but the real value in ping is verifying that the remote computer is currently operational. Try using ping on a remote computer when you seem to have a good connection. Then write down the numbers you receive and use them as a baseline for future comparisons. The next time you seem to have a bad connection, ping that same computer again and compare the numbers. If they're significantly different, it's the Internet that's causing the slowdown, not you.

Try Traceroute
Traceroute is a program that works similarly to Ping but adds a significant piece of information. It reports not only the amount of time each of three packets of information take to arrive at the remote computer (some versions will report round-trip times), but also reports each computer encountered on the way, commonly called hops. More hops means more time and a slower connection. Fewer hops takes less time and should yield a faster connection. Use traceroute multiple times to establish a baseline for future comparisons. Note that due to the technical way the Internet works, information may take different routes each time. So although the names of the computers en route may differ, the number of hops and length of time are what's important. Is the problem local, the remote system or somewhere in between? Traceroute can be helpful in figuring out where the communication is failing or being retarded.

Getting Nowhere
If you just can't seem to get anywhere, the problem could be your computer. Here's an easy test. Try connecting to Yahoo! at Yahoo! is rarely down.

If you can't get there, your problem may be more local in it's origin. Also, try another computer. If you can make your connection with the second computer, the problem is most likely the computer itself. If none of your computers work, try calling your Internet service provider.

When to Call Your Internet Service Provider
Start with your automation staff; the problem might be in the building. If your automation staff can't find the problem, call the company providing Internet service to your institution. Many more times than I care to remember when I couldn't get a connection, I was informed by my provider that someone had cut a cable a few towns (or cities!) away, thus interrupting service for a large geographical area. If this is the case, your only recourse is to sit back and wait.

Finding Ping and Traceroute Software
If you are using a PC running Windows 95, you already have these utilities on your machine. Go to a DOS prompt and type either "ping" or "tracert" and then the address (either by domain name or IP number) to which you want to connect. If you are using another platform/OS or wish to find versions of these programs with more features, they are easy to find on the Internet. (For PC users, I highly suggest starting at TUCOWS:

-Michael Sauers, BCR
Action for Libraries V14(1), January 1998


All Nebraska librarians are invited to attend a satellite videoconference on telecommunications and Networking Technology to be held on March 19, 1:30-3:30 P.M. CST. The conference is intended for administrators, librarians and staff responsible for technology and serving on technology planning committees.

Presenters from three libraries-a small public, a medium public, and a large academic-will describe the telecommunications and networking technology in place in their library. Following each case study there will be instructional commentary by a technology expert who will define and describe the technical terms and concepts.

Case Studies:
Marshall Breeding, Library Technology Analyst, Vanderbilt University; Dan Iddings, Assistant Director, Networked and Automated Services, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Lynn Chambers, Library Director, Brewton (Alabama) Public Library

Instructional Commentary:
George Machovec, Technical Director, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries

Downlink Sites:
NEBASE has arranged for downlink sites that will not charge for this service. If you are interested in hosting or downlinking at a site near you please contact Allana Novotny at the Nebraska Library Commission, 402-471-6681 or 800-307-2665, e-mail: Allana Novotny . The satellite bands that will be used are C Band and KU Band.

Alice M Farr Library - Aurora
Bellevue University - Bellevue
Chadron State College - Chadron
Central Community College - Columbus
Doane College - Crete
Hastings College - Hastings
Mid-Plains Community College - North Platte
Peru State College - Peru
Panhandle Station - Scottsbluff
Wayne State - Wayne
Dana College - Blair may possibly be a downlink site. Please contact Allana if you are interested in viewing the videoconference at Dana College.

To register please complete the on-line registration form at /netserv/nebase/vidconf.html or contact Allana Novotny.

This videoconference is sponsored by NEBASE in cooperation with other OCLC Networks in the form of the Alliance of Library Service Networks.


The following OCLC information was mailed to your library in February. If there is anything on this list that you did not receive or you need extra copies of please contact Jeannette Powell, Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023, phone: 402-471-7740 or 800-307-2665, e-mail: Jeannette Powell .

OCLC Authority Control
Dewey for Windows
OCLC Z39.50 Cataloging Service
What's New at OCLC
OCLC FirstSearch Service Databases (December 1997)
List of OCLC Services (December 1997)

-Jeannette Powell
Nebraska Library Commission


10 OCLC Cataloging II: Books, 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M., Nebraska Library Commission, Heron Room.

For more information contact Jeannette Powell, 402-471-7740 or 800-307-2665, e-mail Jeannette Powell or see the Library Calendar on the Library Commission home page at /calendar/libcal.html.

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