Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Beyond Document Delivery

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Beyond Document Delivery

Article excerpt

As librarians make greater use of electronic resources in their libraries, new options for document delivery become available. It can be difficult just to keep up with all the new delivery methods and even more difficult to choose the most efficient methods for your library. Also, in school or public libraries, the librarian's responsibility does not end when the document is delivered to the patron. Students working on assignments need to know how to cite electronic documents in their papers and this topic is seldom covered fully in the usual style manuals. Fortunately, librarians can use online sources to gather information on document delivery options and their effectiveness and can research some proposed approaches to citing electronic sources.

Document Delivery Vendors on the Web

Several of the major document delivery vendors have home pages on the Web that supply information about their services. I visited the home page for the EBSCO Information Services group and perused the online brochure for its document delivery service, EBSCOdoc. This brochure presented a brief discussion of document delivery and provided information on EBSCO's services, including its pricing structure. A logon function allows visitors to explore the site. Visitors may browse tables of contents and may search databases but may not have their information delivery requests processed.

CARL Corporation's UnCover article delivery service also has a Web page that explains its services and pricing structure and offers a link to its database. A complete list of indexed periodical titles is also available.

Discussing Document Delivery

Gathering information from vendors is important, but colleagues are the best source for descriptions of first-hand experiences and for advice on implementation. Internet mailing lists on specific topics provide a means of sharing this valuable information. Subscribers can read messages from other subscribers and participate in the discussion by sending their own questions and responses.

I recently discovered a mailing list devoted to document delivery. DOCDEL-L, moderated by Tim Strickland, contract manager for EBSCO, was established to discuss pricing concerns, document delivery and the academic library, document delivery providers, and the future of document delivery. In his welcome message, the list owner pledged to provide a forum for free discussion and exchange of information and to post all messages that do not slander others or contain offensive language. Recent messages included an announcement of the fall 1996 ASIDIC (Association of Information Dissemination Centers) meeting, a request for statistics on use of commercial document delivery services as part of regular interlibrary services, and information on a supplier of engineering documents. The most recent message, which arrived just in time to make this publication's deadline, informed subscribers that Jennifer Little will replace Strickland as the new manager of the DOCDEL-L list.

Citing Electronic Sources

Increasingly, librarians are delivering documents to patrons in electronic format. Some documents are simply an electronic full-text version of an article that appeared in print, while other documents are information from Web sites or other resources that exist only in electronic format. Citing these documents in a scholarly work is difficult because they do not fit into the existing citation structures. This problem is addressed in various sites on the Internet.

The first Web site I visited was titled Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style (WEAPAS). …

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