Wendy Rondeau: “Making Use of Existing Tools for Unknown Item Needs: Improving Subject Retrieval in Online Catalogs” (Article, 2013)

Written on 05/02/2013. Filed under Student Activity.

MLIS Student Wendy Rondeau was recently awarded the CLA Student Article Award for a shortened and revised version of a paper she wrote for 791 Subject Analysis with Dr. Hur-Li Lee. In addition to receiving $200 worth of CLA/ALA publications, Wendy’s article will be published in the August edition of Feliciter, the magazine of the Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques. She will be presented the award at the 2013 CLA National Conference and Trade Show Closing Ceremonies in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Abstract

Making Use of Existing Tools for Unknown Item Needs:
Improving Subject Retrieval in Online Catalogs

This paper is interested in exploring the catalog interface as it relates to the retrieval of unknown items, also known as subject retrieval. It examines the problem of keyword searching in library catalogs, and offers some practical solutions to better exploit the subject index. It advocates using tools such as autosuggestion and a flexible and meaningful search results display. Although tools such as autosuggest are already being implemented through other online interfaces, most library catalogs have yet to fully exploit the subject index through new discovery tools. The subject index is one of the library catalog’s “gems” for unknown item searching, and libraries would do well to innovate and implement new ways of leading users towards it.