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About face: Lum Library online catalog gets an update.

FINDING THE INFORMATION that you need in the midst of the explosion of resources on the Internet has made identifying relevant sources more difficult than ever. The Appraisal Institute's Lum Library has launched a new online catalog that makes navigating among sources in the library's online catalog much easier.


While the catalog's internal search engine is the same, response time has been improved and the display screen is easier to read. The most significant change is navigating through the catalog and accessing the resources.



Those who regularly search the Web will immediately recognize the look and feel of the new online catalog. A desktop portal that organizes all of the library's resources into one location has replaced the Lum Library's homepage with links to each source. Users will be able to find their way among resources without getting lost or clicking back and forth to the homepage.

Regular users of the current catalog will find the new catalog's search functions very familiar. The "basic," "general" and "advanced" search levels are now called "basic," "advanced" and "expert."

When the library's homepage is displayed, users will see a menu bar across the top of the page with tabs identifying the resources. When a tab is selected, that section's options appear on the menu bar. Also, there are descriptions for each of the most requested resources on the library's Home page.

When the online catalog is launched, public, nonmember users may choose among Home, Catalog and AI Periodicals tabs.

Home provides a description of each resource, the nonmember fee schedule, and how to search the catalog menu options. The Catalog displays citations on the materials held in the library's collections of monographs, periodicals, papers and multimedia. Al Periodicals provides browsing of issues of Appraiser News Online, The Appraisal Journal and Valuation Insights & Perspectives, through tables of contents.

Membership improvements

Member access to the online catalog is launched through either the Members Only page or the Resources page of the Appraisal Institue Web site. The membership version of the Library Home page displays an explanation of the four available resources, which may be selected by clicking on the tab or the specific resource in the colored box on the left. New users may choose the "How to search catalog" to read a basic primer and a link to the catalog's online help. In addition, the membership version of the homepage has two additional tabs: InfoExchange and Other Resources.

The catalog functions very much the same as the public version with one exception: members have the ability to download articles or papers from the bibliographic record. When a search is entered, a list of article titles is displayed. Click on any title to display the complete record. If there is a row labeled "Image" under the title and the description reads, "Click here to download," then the article or paper may be downloaded.


Members have repeatedly inquired when more back issues of the Appraisal Institute's periodicals will be available online with the ability to download articles. Currently, retrospective cataloging of The Appraisal Journal has been completed to 1976 and The Real Estate Appraiser through 1970. Each collection has also been scanned into electronic format to its first issue. These are available upon request. Valuation Insights & Perspectives is fully cataloged and is available from its first issue in 1996, and the tables of contents are available from 2002 to the present.

In response to positive feedback from members involved in researching court cases, the Library continues to cross-reference Letters to the Editor and the corresponding original articles in back issues of The Appraisal Journal.

AI periodicals

In addition to accessing the current and past tables of contents of The Appraisal Journal and Valuation Insights & Perspectives, members are able to download individual articles as well as complete issues. To accommodate the new "entire issue" option, the Library created a ZIP file. However, be warned that the download takes a long time, especially with Valuation Insights & Perspectives because of its color pages.


InfoExchange ads

Members also have exclusive access to the 10-year master list of InfoExchange listings from the Appraisal Institute Web site. This is a valuable resource for locating an individual who has worked on a particular type of special-purpose property, especially if nothing comes from a literature search. Since the entire listing is entered into the record, down-loading is not necessary. Current InfoExchange listings are also publicly available on the Appraisal Institute Web site on the Resources page.


Other resources

Access to resources outside of the library collections, including electronic access to FirstSearch, Associations Unlimited and Appraisal Institute of Canada, is available to members under this tab. When clicked, these sources open in the current browser window. To return to the online catalog, simply click the back arrow in your browser.


FirstSearch is a collection of many databases including the two main business databases: ABI-INForm and WilsonSelectPlus. When FirstSearch launches, the search screen defaults to business databases only. Click on databases for the full list of available sources. Both ABI-INForm and WilsonSelectPlus offer full text in about 50 percent of the journal articles indexed. FirstSearch no longer offers a document delivery service for the articles not available in full text. The Lum Library does not hold these journals in their collection, but is searching for a source to make them available.

Associations Unlimited identifies trade associations and is a great source of industry data, such as identifying associations on special-purpose properties. For example, a typical search might locate the National Association of Convenience Stores. That association lists a library that might have information on income/expense, leasing data, and other statistics. All of the contact information is listed.

Also, the Appraisal Institute of Canada has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Appraisal Institute to share Web site resources, which gives Appraisal Institute members access to articles and papers on their Resources page.

Several sources are listed that are not available electronically, e.g. the 2002 BOMA Experience Exchange Report and the 2003 Dollars & Cents of Shopping Centers. For information from these sources, contact the library directly. The library policy is to respond to reference requests within 48 business hours and usually replies the same day. If there is no response within 48 hours, please re-contact the library.

2004 and beyond

As the library becomes more familiar with the capabilites of the new portal, enhancements and improvements will be made. If you experience a problem with searching or downloading, contact library staff for assistance, at 312-335-4467 or

Underwritten by the Appraisal Institute Education Trust Fund, the library has grown and been shaped by the needs of members through their reference requests and by direct member comments. Even if your suggestion cannot be attended to immediately, it is important and is used in planning and decision-making.

by Eric Goodman, Director, Appraisal Institute's Lum Library
COPYRIGHT 2003 The Appraisal Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Cool Tools
Author:Goodman, Eric
Publication:Valuation Insights & Perspectives
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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