Enhancing the use of electronic resources on a university library's website : herding electronic resources into subject groupings
Carrigan, Esther; Sewell, Robin; Wilson, Mary Dabney; Highsmith, Anne L.; International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (5th : 2005 : Onderstepoort, South Africa); Van der Westhuizen, Erica E.; Croft, Vicki F.
The integration of five separate websites from the campus libraries at Texas A&M University in 2002 resulted in the creation of a unified listing of all electronic resources, with well over 20,000 entries. This was the first time we were able to provide library users with a single, comprehensive list of electronic resources. But it quickly became clear that it was not very usable. In June 2002 the University Libraries Web Implementation Team (WIT) identified a diverse group of library staff to “explore the possible alternatives for providing intellectual access to the subject content of web-presented resources.” Expertise and library experience across the group spanned library public services, technical services and systems. This group became known as the WIT Subjects Group.
The goals for this group were to develop a system that would:
• Support keyword and subject access to web-listed resources and to our website as a whole
• Support mapping to broader subject groupings, both dynamically created or predetermined
• Provide a framework and guidelines for the addition of metadata to all locally developed content or external links
• Make full use of the specificity and richness of existing content data
• Maximize the use of existing content data with automatic updating capabilities to avoid labour intensive maintenance requirements. It took over a year to develop and release the system for subject presentation of web resources. Efforts are continuing to improve the maintenance process and to refine the actual visual presentation of subject searching results.
This paper describes the investigation and evaluation of possible alternatives for the subject presentation of electronic resources; the selection and modification of a system for subject presentation; the implementation of the system including maintenance workflows and continuing challenges; communication and training efforts; and plans and hopes for the future.