School of Information Management & Systems   Spring 2000.   Michael Buckland.
245 Organization of Information in Collections

Assignment 3: Abstracting and Indexing Services - Due Feb 7

Abstracting and indexing services provide information on new publications: especially articles in new issues of journals. Indexing services list items, usually with some kind of subject descriptors; abstracting services add brief summaries ("abstracts") of the article, book, or report being described. The assignment is to examine, compare and contrast:
Library and Information Science Abstracts MAIN Z671.L593 and
Library Literature MAIN Z666.L5 and also, optionally,
Information Science Abstracts MAIN Z699. .A1.D6
They are shelved on the south-east corner (in the direction of the campanile) of the lowest level of the MAIN library stacks. The latest, unbound issues of LISA and ISA are in the current periodicals room. The paper version of LL is no longer received.

Consider the different aspects of such an alerting service:
- Definition of scope
- - By subject area
- - By forms of literature (journal articles, books, technical reports, websites....)
- - By language and /or country of publication
- The descriptions provided ("entries")
- - How complete is the description? What features are described?
- - Layout and visual appearance?
- Access: How can the items be searched?
- - What is the primary arrangement? By subject, by author, by title?...
- - How many other different approaches are possible?
- - Is subject access provided? If so, how?
- How frequently updated? How cumulated?
- How would you assess how up-to-date are these announcements?
- How easy to use? How well described? Adequate explanation? User friendly?
- Other comments?

1. Examine and compare the print versions.   Make notes.

2. Then, after you think you understand the content, structure, arrangement, and character of the printed versions, try using the online versions of the first two, available if you use a Berkeley IP address, at

What are the principal differences between using the online version and using the printed versions?   Make notes.

3. Is this online version all that it might be? What would you like to see different in an online or print versions of each of these services? Could you design it better?

4. Prepare and hand in 2-3 pages concisely stating your findings.

We'll schedule time for discussion in class. Collaborating on this assignment is recommended.