Vendor Management for Web Resources
My recent posting requesting information and practices
relating to the substitution of Web editions of printed
Reference works has raised a number of issues relating
to this activity. To my surprise, I am finding that
many respondents refer primarily to the substitution of a
Web subscription for a print (or other electronic)
subscription. Others refer to their individual or
institutional 'collection' of all types of Internet
resources, either as book marked collections or as
homepage collections only. Few note the formal cataloging
of such resources (even Web subscriptions) into their
It _seems_ that few have taken the 'leap of faith'
to select _and_ catalog non-subscription Web Reference works.
With the availability of MARC records generated from the
OCLC Intercat project, I suspect that many do, or giving the
matter serious consideration.
The issue of the formal cataloging of non-subscribed
(and subscribed) resources highlights an additional issue
beyond Web substitution for Reference (as well as non-Reference)
works. In view of the ephemeral nature of many Web resources,
it appears that many libraries consider cataloging not
only quality resources,but resources for which they have
some control and assurance of access and reliability. This
understandable preference has led me to conclude that librarians
would welcome a service, not unlike book jobbers or serial
vendors, that would provide a library with access to a
catalog of authoritative, evaluated, and reliable Web resources.
The burden of identification, categorization, maintenance
would be lifted from individuals and institutions. The
WebJobber(sm) would assume the responsibility for all these
activities, including the formal cataloging of the resources.
As the resource changes (e.g., URL, title, content), the
WebJobber(sm) would notify the subscribing library of these
changes, and through automated systems magic, provide updates
(or replacements) of catalog records for a selected resource.
While our individual and collective efforts have greatly
facilitated the identification and control of Web resources,
I have concluded that there is a need for a commercial, fee-based
service to manage these resources. A centralized service would
alleviate most of the difficulties that we all recognize and would
integrate selection, cataloging and maintenance. We need not
reinvent the universe at each of our libraries.
I'd very much appreciate any and all thoughts on this
proposal (and if a vendor, publisher, or jobber is listening,
a seed grant to investigate a prototype [:->])
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50011
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"Let Mikey Do It!"