School of Information Management & Systems   Spring 1999.   Michael Buckland.
290-1 Design of Library Services.

Assignment 6: Abstracting and Indexing Services - Due March 12

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 two examples:
Library and Information Science Abstracts MAIN Z671.L593
Library Literature MAIN Z666.L5
Both are shelved on the south-east corner (in the direction of the campanile) of the lowest level of the MAIN library stacks.

A brief description of each and access, if you use a Berkeley IP address, to an online version is at

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? (aka Interface)
- Access: How can the items be searched?
- - What is the primary arrangement? By subject, by author, by title?...
- - How many different approaches are possible?
- - Is subject access provided? If so, how?
- How frequently updated? How cumulated?
- How up-to-date are these announcements?
- How easy to use? How well described? Adequate explanation? User friendly?
- Other?

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

2. Then, after you think you understand the content, structure and character of the printed versions, try using the online versions. What are the principal differences between using the online version and using the printed versions? Make notes.

3. Hand in a couple of pages concisely stating your findings, on or preferably before March 12.

4. Is this online version all that it might be? What would you like to see different in an online version of each of these two services alerting services? Could you design it better? We'll schedule time on March 12 for a class discussion. Make some notes for your own use (not to hand in) in this discussion.

Collaborating on this assignment is recommended.

Optional: Also look at Information Science Abstracts MAIN Z699 .A1.D6 (All SIMS majors should do this!)