Gerard B. McCabe
In June 1995, librarians and support staff members of Clarion University Libraries attended an all-day workshop at the Pittsburgh Regional Library Center. The purpose was to allow the attendees an opportunity to hear librarians who work with various online systems discourse on their experience. Clarion staff are involved in a project to develop a proposal for a new online system to replace the eight-year-old system that is in use. The Clarion people were surprised to hear several attendees from other academic libraries mention the lack of automation of any kind. This is not unusual at all. The editors are well aware that a fair number of academic libraries still lack an online system of any kind. This book is not intended for the novice, or for librarians who are working in libraries that are card catalog–based. We hope such people will read this book, but our intended audience is the library and its staff that either has or is developing additional offline or online automated systems for service to the library’s public.
In the opening paragraph of the preface to our 1993 book, Insider’s Guide to Library Automation, we commented on the large number of libraries that were lacking online catalogs. We learned this through telephone calls to the major regional networks. Apparently, little has changed in the past three years.
The authors of this book’s chapters come from all types of academic libraries and our intent, while offering a variety of experiences, is to focus on two major areas: public service—providing information—and technical services (especially catalog departments)—preparing and organizing the databases used in public services, first the online catalog and secondly supplementary databases.