[Humanist] 27.155 curiosity

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jun 26 22:10:12 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 155.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:48:55 -0400
        From: "James R. Kelly" <jrkelly at library.umass.edu>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 27.150 is no one curious?
        In-Reply-To: <20130624210443.A11EA3A7B at digitalhumanities.org>


>From my perspective in an academic library, I would point to three aspects
of the research process that tend to promote these undesirable effects:

1) some faculty members encourage (or require) the use of JSTOR and Project
Muse as databases that will guarantee students access to peer-reviewed
articles. The problem with this is that they miss out on a great amount of
literature that could be of use but that hasn't--for one reason or
another--been included in those resources. Were they to be steered to more
broad-based tools such as the MLA International  Bibliography, Historical
Abstracts, or even Academic Search Premier, they would in all likelihood
find the same articles but many more besides (and gain the bonus of having
to exercise their developing information literacy skills in sorting out the
wheat from the chaff);

2) discovery services tend to mix results (books, articles, audio visual
materials) in a way that I find chaotic. Worse, in their mixing of online
catalogs and databases they remove the ability to easily and intelligently
restrict searches by using the purpose-designed features built into each
individual database;

3) cataloging has historically underserved students and researchers in
providing only minimal information about the books described. With the
advent of technology, the cataloging records have begun to improve, chiefly
through the addition of complete contents notes for monographic collections
of essays and for chapter titles in monographs as well as by the use of
summary notes that allow for a free-form description of the content thus
adding real language to the stilted language provided by subject headings.


Jim Kelly

James R. Kelly
Humanities Research Services Librarian
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

(413) 545-3981; (413) 577-1536 (fax)
E-mail: jrkelly at library.umass.edu

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