THE IMPACT OF COMPUTERS ON THE IU LIBRARIES: A PROGRESS REPORT

 

                         by Gary Wiggins

 

                     Head, Chemistry Library

 

 

     Much  of the planning for future computing  applications  in

 

the  IU Libraries system is directed toward allowing  information

 

which  is  accessible  in  or through the  library  to  be  fully

 

transportable  to the user's workstation.  Information  found  in

 

traditional  printed library materials (as well as data from  on-

 

site  and  remote databases) should in the future be as  easy  to

 

take with you in computer-readable form as a photocopy is today.

 

     It  is  with  electronic formats  of  information  that  the

 

Libraries will have the greatest and most far-reaching impact  on

 

research at IU over the next decade.  All library service  points

 

should  have  user workstations which provide the  capability  to

 

access  remote or on-site databases and download data in  a  form

 

which allows the researcher to easily incorporate the information

 

into  a research or teaching project.  The minimum  configuration

 

of     equipment    includes    a    dedicated     microcomputer,

 

telecommunications device, software, optical scanner with optical

 

character recognition capabilities, a printer, and other hardware

 

as needed.  Such library user workstations will soon be needed in

 

numbers  roughly equivalent to the number of  photocopy  machines

 

currently in the libraries.

 

A. The Libraries Automation Project.

 

     Within  two  years  the  fruits  of  the  massive  Libraries

 

automation project, based on the Northwestern University software

 

NOTIS, will begin to be seen.  The automation project is a multi-

 

million dollar endeavor to provide five computer-based components

 

which are not currently available in the libraries system.  These

 

are an online public access catalog, a serials control system,  a

 

circulation  control  system, a book acquisitions system,  and  a

 

non-public catalog (including authority files).  The contract has

 

recently been signed for the NOTIS system, and the initial  $1.12

 

million to initiate the project has been received from a  special

 

appropriation  administered  by  the  Indiana  Higher   Education

 

Commission.   The system is being implemented on the  Information

 

Services' IBM computer.

 

     The  ultimate  goal of the library  automation  projects  in

 

Indiana  is to link all academic libraries and to provide  better

 

access  to  the materials to all citizens of  the  state.   Since

 

1976,  the  IU Libraries system has cataloged  books  through  an

 

online bibliographic utility called OCLC.  IU also uses the  OCLC

 

interlibrary loan subsystem to identify libraries throughout  the

 

nation  from which to borrow materials.  It is through OCLC  that

 

we  share  cataloging records with other libraries,  thus  saving

 

enormous  numbers  of man-hours to catalog materials.   The  OCLC

 

archival  tapes  for  IU also provide the  database  of  records,

 

including  holdings  of journals, which will be loaded  into  the

 

NOTIS  system.   Thus,  successful  implementation  of  NOTIS  is

 

dependent to a large extent on the continued use of OCLC.

 

     Libraries and departments should be equipped to take maximum

 

advantage  of  the NOTIS system.  Information Services  and  BACS

 

have  established  a bridge which will permit users  to  dial  in

 

through  remote terminals or microcomputers using BACS  accounts. 

 

For  library  use  direct  linkages  will be provided through  the

 

twisted  pair telephone jacks to be installed next summer.  

 

 

B. Databases Offered Through BACS/Other Database Searching.

 

     Plans  are underway to lease large bibliographic  and  other

 

types  of  databases  and mount them for searching  on  the  BACS

 

computer system.  The Libraries are responsible for selecting and

 

funding  the databases; BACS is to select and fund  the  database

 

search  software.   While these databases will be  accessible  to

 

anyone  through  the campus Ethernet network, they will  also  be

 

available through public-use microcomputers in the Libraries.  It

 

is  possible  that  the software which has been  leased  for  the

 

Libraries  automation project (the NOTIS software) will  be  used

 

for  this  service.  BACS will support at least one  PC  database

 

search software package such as AskSam for local manipulation  of

 

downloaded records.

 

     There  are  other avenues to database  searching  which  are

 

being  explored.   These include the use  of  front-end  software

 

systems  like  STN  Express and  Grateful  Med.   Such  front-end

 

software   eliminates  the  need  for  the  user  to  learn   the

 

complicated  logon sequences and command-driven search  languages

 

of the database vendors. 

 

C. CD-ROM Databases

 

     There are many databases in the Libraries in CD-ROM  format. 

 

These   include  databases  corresponding  to  Books  in   Print,

 

Dissertation  Abstracts, Index Medicus, Psychological  Abstracts,

 

etc.   CD-ROM  databases  generally come with  their  own  search

 

software.   As  presently configured, they  require  a  dedicated

 

microcomputer  and  CD-ROM player.  All of the  CD-ROM  databases

 

have  hefty  price tags, but they can be very cost  effective  in

 

information  retrieval.   It  is possible  to  provide  networked

 

access  from  multiple  sites  to  CD-ROM  files.   Products  are

 

beginning to appear which serve this purpose.  One is them is the

 

CD  Net/CD Server product line from Meridian Data.  CD Server  is

 

available in an Ethernet model and will handle from one to  seven

 

CD ROM drives. 

 

D. Document Delivery Services

 

     The  Libraries  are  moving toward  a  broad  definition  of

 

document  delivery  which  encompasses  the  use  of  appropriate

 

technology to deliver information in any format from the location

 

in which it is held to the user.  All science libraries on campus

 

plus  several  units at the Main Library now  are  equipped  with

 

telefacsimile  machines.  As more users purchase FAX  boards  for

 

their   PCs,   the  options  for   document   delivery   increase

 

dramatically.   Information  can  be scanned into  a  PC  at  the

 

library  and  transmitted into the user's PC via the  FAX  board. 

 

The Libraries should have high quality flatbed graphics  scanners

 

with  software  which allows them to serve as  optical  character

 

recognition  (OCR) systems.  Printing a scanned image requires  a

 

laser printer.  (A dot matrix printer, even at 150 dots per inch,

 

is  too  sparse to give a good finished product.)  To  work  with

 

graphics  in  this  manner really demands a  larger  286  or  386

 

computer; smaller machines are just too slow.

 

     Scanned  images  can easily be  imported  into  presentation

 

programs  like  Show Partner or the IBM PC  Storyboard.   As  the

 

OS/2's   Presentation   Manager  penetrates   the   market,   the

 

incorporation  of scanned images into word  processing  documents

 

and database records will become more routine.  For the immediate

 

future, the desktop scanner offers an attractive alternative.

 

E. Toward Broader Uses of the Materials Budget.

 

     Scholars  must  now  ask themselves how  often  they  should

 

realistically  expect  the  books,  journals,  or  other  printed

 

materials needed for their research or teaching to be  physically

 

housed  within  the  IU  Libraries  system.   It  is  clear  that

 

comprehensive   collections  can  no  longer  be  built  at   IU. 

 

Therefore,  clear guidelines need to be formulated for the  level

 

of  research  materials  which will be  provided  within  the  IU

 

Libraries  system  collections.  Then, it is  essential  that  no

 

differentiation  be  made among departments  or  disciplines  for

 

access  to  materials not locally owned.  The primary  avenue  to

 

such materials for some time to come will be document delivery of

 

printed  books,  copies of journal articles,  and  other  printed

 

materials obtained from sources outside the IU libraries  system. 

 

Increasingly,  however, this will involve the use  of  electronic

 

sources of information.  To cover the cost of these options  over

 

the  next  decade, the Libraries materials budgets  must  reserve

 

significant funds for other forms of information delivery.   This

 

would  cover most of the costs of traditional interlibrary  loan,

 

the use of commercial document suppliers, and electronic forms of

 

information.

 

 

     The Libraries must see that scholars have the resources with

 

which  to  continue to do high-quality research and  teaching  at

 

Indiana  University.   By  utilizing  the  capabilities  of   the

 

computer,  we can be sure to make the most effective use  of  the

 

funds  available  to support the Libraries' contribution  to  the

 

research  and teaching efforts of the faculty.  In  that  manner,

 

the  computer promises to solidify the long-standing  partnership

 

between faculty and librarians.