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Using downloaded NOTIS records to create a bibliography.

Brooklyn College is a fouryear unit of the CUNY (City University of New York) system. We offer Bachelor's and Master's degrees and cooperate with the Graduate Center in some of their PhD programs. The library serves all these students plus faculty and staff.

Frequently, undergraduate classes are given assignments for which it would be useful to have a subject bibliography of books in our library. Prior to automation, one would select the appropriate cards from the catalog and type up a bibliography

With the advent of word processing, formatting and indexing of these bibliographies became easier but the original data still had to be input. In 1989 CUNY began to implement a NOTIS based OPAC, called CUNYPLUS. Brooklyn College's collection was one of the first entered. While CUNYPLUS made it easier to search the collection, originally, there was no way to download results, so references still had to be manually input for word-processing. In 1993 Rabbit software was installed on some computers, so that CUNYPLUS could be searched from them and the resultant citations downloaded.

Methodology

To show my methodology, I am using a bibliography of autobiographies. There is an ongoing assignment in some English classes to read any autobiography. If students are interested in a specific person, they can easily check CUNYPLUS. However, in many cases, they have no preference and would like to see a listing of available autobiographies.

Using a card catalog would not work for this assignment as most autobiographies are not indexed by the term "autobiography" but by a subject heading with a subheading of biography, for example, Authors, American - 20th century - Biography. There are many published bibliographies of autobiographies in our library but use of these entails checking all entries against our catalog and many entries may not be held.

With CUNYPLUS I used keyword searching and limited to BC holdings (k=autobiography and BC). The results are automatically in reverse chronological order. I skimmed through the records, downloading those that were appropriate - some of the records retrieved were about autobiographies rather than autobiographies themselves and some were collections of short biographical sketches, which I did not want.

Figure 1 shows a downloaded record and Figure 2 shows that record after extraneous material was removed via a word-processor and the subject headings were edited for conformity. Next, I ran a BASIC program, which creates a subject index, a Call Number Index, and a master list (Figures 3, 4, and 5).

The BASIC program is listed in Figure 6. All three of these lists were sorted using the DOS SORT. If I were working on a large set of records, I would have added sorting to the program. However, since most of the bibliographies I created contained 100 entries or less, processing time was not a factor.

Other Studies

Experiences like mine have been reported by others. Welsch[1], at the University of Wisconsin, used a similar combination of word-processing and software programs to create bibliographies from the U of W OPAC. Weiskel[2] at Harvard reports creating filter programs for restructing downloaded ASCII files into personal databases.

Inexpensive and Easily Available

There are many software packages on the market that enable one to download and reformat from OPACs, from online databases, from Bulletin Boards, and from CD/ROMs.[3,4] However, these packages are not cheap and many libraries cannot afford to purchase them.

Similar results can be obtained with a screen dump utility, a word processor, and a simple BASIC program or even with a wordprocessor alone. I am willing to share my BASIC program with other NOTIS users.

References

[1.] Welsch, E. K. 1992. "Creating bibliographies from NOTIS records (downloaded from the University of Wisconsin-Madison OPAC)." Computers in Libraries 12: 25-7. [2.] Weiskel, T. C. 1988. "University libraries, integrated scholarly information systems (ISIS), and the changing character of academic research (creating filter programs for restructuring downloaded ASCII files into personal databases)." Library Hi Tech 6 no 4: 7-27. [3.] Balas, J. 1988. "Downloading using IBM and Macintosh computers." Small Computers in Libraries 8: 18-20. [4.] Rice, J. 1988. "Microcomputer Database Management Systems that interface with Online Public Access Catalogs." RSR-Reference Services Review 16 no 1-2: 57-60.

[Editor's Note: Creating a bibliography using NOTIS software is only one way to go. The following companies specialize in the development and support of other options. Complete contact information for each is available in our Computers in Libraries Buyer's Guide 1994 issue (v14n7: July/August 1994]:
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Title Annotation:Northwestern Online Total Integrated System
Author:Miller, Betty
Publication:Computers in Libraries
Date:Mar 1, 1995
Words:740
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