Document (#26187)

Author
Smith, L.
Title
Subject access in interdisciplinary research
Source
Saving the time of the library user through subject access innovation: Papers in honor of Pauline Atherton Cochrane. Ed.: W.J. Wheeler
Imprint
Urbana-Champaign, IL : Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Year
2000
Pages
S.100-113
Abstract
In a series of lectures presented in 1970, Pauline Cochrane offered an American view of Ranganathan's five laws of library science (Atherton, 1973). According to Cochrane, Ranganathan first con ceived of the five laws in 1924. They include: (1) books are for use; (2) every reader his book; (3) every book its reader; (4) save the time of the reader; and (5) a library is a growing organism. With respect to law 4, Cochrane cited the need for more research to understand the match between a user's information needs and the descriptions of information resources. In constructing the catalog and other search tools, do we save the time of the reader? Success in this effort requires knowing more about the reader's information needs and search behavior. Cochrane (1992) revisited the laws two decades later, recommending that they serve as guidelines and criteria for assessing the value of information technology in library and information services. In particular she suggested the need to determine whether information technology improves the timeliness, precision, and comprehensiveness of information provision to users. This article focuses an how information technology may enable us better to meet the needs of a particular category of information users - those undertaking interdisciplinary research. In a study completed twenty-five years ago, this author investigated the feasibility of developing a mapping of portions of controlled vocabularies as a tool for assisting in cross-database searching (Smith, 1974).

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