Opening the library catalogue up to the Web: a view from South Africa

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Information Development

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University of Cape Town

While libraries still spend much time and money on building and maintaining catalogues according to accepted international standards, there is considerable evidence that users are inclined to bypass libraries and their catalogues in their search for information and to rely solely on information provided by web search engines. This paper discusses the different and sometimes conflicting needs of on the one hand instant information seekers and on the other the needs of scholars that may be better served by information not obtainable by web searching alone. It proposes that one way of promoting and facilitating catalogue use is to include records for remote electronic resources into online catalogues, so that information about both print and electronic resources could be retrieved by a single search. The paper concludes by reporting on a survey done at a training workshop on the cataloguing of electronic resources, which was held by the Library and Information Association of South Africa's Interest Group for Bibliographic Standards, in July 2006.

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