Magazine article Computers in Libraries

The BUBL Subject Tree and Catriona

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

The BUBL Subject Tree and Catriona

Article excerpt

CATRIONA Phase I

CATRIONA (Cataloging and Retrieval of Information over Networks Applications) Phase I was a six-month feasibility study funded by the British Library Research and Development Department. It began in July 1994 and ran until mid-January 1995. The purpose was to investigate the technical, organizational, and financial requirements for the development of applications programs, and procedures to enable the cataloging, classification, and retrieval of documents and other resources over networks, and to explore the feasibility of a collaborative project to develop such applications and procedures and integrate them with one or more existing library housekeeping systems and associated OPAC interfaces.

BUBL Subject Tree

The CATRIONA project arose out of the BUBL Subject Tree Initiative, which was begun in the final quarter of 1993 and is now a significant part of the BUBL Service with over 8,000 links by January 1995. BUBL was the first national U.K. service to offer subject-based access to Internet services and resources, and is still the only U.K. national service whose subject tree covers all main subjects. It is also unusual--perhaps unique--in that it provides a composite tree covering both Gopher-based resources and World Wide Web resources. The tree may be accessed in a number of ways (see Figure 1); however, it is seen at its best if accessed by a World Wide Web client.

Access to the BUBL Subject Tree

* JANET (Joint Academic Network) X.29 call

* TCP/IP Telnet call

* via Gopher

* via World Wide Web

* URLs: http://www.bubl.bath.ac.uk /BUBL/Tree.html http://www.bubl.bath.ac.uk/BUBL/Treealphabet.html

One aim of the initiative was to provide the academic community in the U.K. with improved access to Internet services and resources. The user's interface is demonstrably improved with these resources which also improves the quality and efficiency of the access. The project has other aims which are equally innovative:

* To encourage the U.K. LIS community to exploit academic networks for cooperative and work-sharing purposes

* To train and educate LIS professionals by involving them in a real network project

* To establish a role for LIS professionals in the provision of network-based information services

BUBL regards the Subject Tree mainly as a useful interim measure. In the long term, the only solution to resource discovery on the Internet is likely to be based on local cataloging and national and international cooperative cataloging. It is also likely that the voluntary effort, on which the BUBL Subject Tree is partly based, will have problems in scaling up to cope with the expansion of electronic information. If CATRIONA Phase II goes ahead, it may ultimately replace subject trees by replacing them with an improved service, but that is not likely to happen for some time to come.

Results of the CATRIONA Project

The feasibility study has established that the idea of a distributed catalog of Internet resources integrated with standard Z39.50 library system OPAC interfaces is already a practical proposition at a basic level. That is, a Z39.50 GUI OPAC client available from one library system vendor (GeoPac Release 1.23 from Geac) has been observed to be capable of:

* Conducting searches of remote Z39. …

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