Advanced Reference
Unit 8


Annotated Readings
Creating Handouts and Exercises
Dialog project 1
Dialog project 2
DIG_LIB Listserv
EBSCO Online Lab
Evaluation of Reference Sources
Information Portals
Live Chat Reference Service
Meta vs. search engine
Public and Academic Library Websites
Reference Policy Statement
Virtual Reference Form

ILS604-70 Advanced Reference

Pamela R. Dennis

March 29, 2003

Unit 8-1 Annotated Readings



Giordano, Tommaso.  Digital Resource Sharing and Library Consortia in Italy.  Information Technology and Libraries 19 (June 2000), 84+.

            Resource sharing and consortia have become common topics in the United States academic world.  But these innovations in library science are also being discussed in European countries.  Giordano discusses the introduction of such services in Italy and, though they had not become successful ventures at this writing, he felt the country would warm up to the new trends in the future.

            The first organization geared toward cooperation in libraries was the National Library Service, a national network of 800 Italian libraries of all sizes and purposes developed in the 1970s.  Their support was in hardware sharing, development and maintenance of library software packages, network administration, shared cataloging, and interlibrary loans.  Initiatives were fewer than those in other industrial countries, but the Biblioteca Telematica Italiano, comprised of 14 Italian and two foreign universities, recently moved forward in digitizing, archiving, and putting works online in Italian.  It is believed that cooperation is not more common in Italy because of the fear of losing autonomy and being caught up in bureaucratic centralized organizations.

            The main areas of electronic resources are tables of contents, particularly through the Economic Social Science Periodicals (ESSPER), through which 40 libraries contribute.  Most Italian journals indexed are legal or biomedical.  The most recent initiative was through the Italian National Forum on Electronic Information resources (INFER), promoted by the European University Institute, the University of Florence, and others.  Created in 1999, it has 40 members, mostly university library systems, but it hopes to create a national library consortium.  With more national support, it is hoped that Italy will increase its participation in cooperative efforts and join the other countries in providing electronic services to its patrons.


Haslam, Michaelyn and Eva Stowers.  Library-Subsidized Unmediated Document Delivery.  Library Resources & Technical Services 45 (April 2001), 80-90.

            There is concern among academic libraries that increasing journal cancellations due to budget cuts will decrease the effectiveness of these libraries in providing adequate service to the faculty of its universities.  While students can generally find what they need in the library or through interlibrary loan, research faculty need more extensive materials and want quicker service.  The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), initiated an unmediated document delivery project to help solve this problem and cut out the costs of the middle man.  While the library already provided access to 80 online indexes, this factor seemed to add to the frustration by faculty of not being able to access the full-text articles locally. 

            UNLV selected faculty from the physics and civil and environmental engineering programs to test their pilot program.  It was understood that document delivery would not be replacing interlibrary loan but would provide access to items that could not be obtained locally and were needed quickly.  The document supplier selected was UnCover (originally developed in 1988 by the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries).  It allowed user-initiated electronic ordering with little assistance, no need for library staff processing, linkage to library holdings to avoid ordering locally available articles, reasonable charges, automated reports, and a collection of journals satisfying most local needs. 

            After publicity was sent out, professors were required to take a one-hour class in using UnCover in order to obtain an account password.  The only two rules were that professors were to order only articles from journals that were not available at UNLV, and the library would subsidize the cost of articles costing $35 or less.  The Provost allocated $25,000 to the library for the document delivery services, with $10,000 being placed in a deposit account with UnCover.  Forty-eight accounts were set up with the professors, and the project ran for the academic year 1997-1998.  The major problem with the program was that professors did not check to see what items the library held, and 23% of the orders were for locally held articles or articles available through electronic resources, not unlike problems our library faces with interlibrary loans.  The major complaint made by faculty was that many of the faxed articles were not usable because of unreadable charts and photographs. 

            Conclusions concerned the library staff, because it appears that the only way to stop faculty from ordering duplicates was to check each order before it was placed.  This staff intervention defeated the purpose of eliminating the middle man in interlibrary loans.  While some faculty enjoyed the service because of user-initiated ordering, this study did not find the service to be a money-saver venture.


Christensen, Susie.  How We Work to Make the Web SPEAK.  Computers in Libraries 21 (October 2001), 30+

            The Danish National Library for the Blind opened its Webcenter in January 2000.  It provides information for the blind that does not have to wait to be translated into Braille.  Under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture, the library provides services and materials to the blind, visually impaired, and others who cannot read standard printed material.  The article provides information on how the typical library can makes it website accessible for the blind.  The major issue is in providing not only pictures but text that can be translated by assistive software that transforms the screen into speech or Braille, through such programs as the Danish JAWS.  Access must also be by keyboard, since most blind people cannot manipulate a mouse.  All links and frames should have titles telling where they lead. 

            In designing forms, radiobuttons should be placed before the text in order for programs like JAWS to translate the information consistently.  Webmasters can contact the Webcenter to have their websites tested for compatibility.  The sites are tested using WAI guidelines, specific tests using assistive software, and a list of 25 checkpoints developed from testing other websites.  Webmasters can test their own sites using the test tool, Bobby ( 

            The following are the six steps needed to ensure accessibility to the librarys web site:  (1) provide alternative text for all images and other non-textual elements, (2) use unique titles for links if the link itself is not significant, (3) make sure that the structure and navigation mechanisms are consistent throughout the Web site, (4) if you use frames, give them proper name and titles, (5) make sure that all functionality of the web site is device-independent, (6) use the [less than]label[greater than] element for all input fields.




Annotated Readings