This article describes several initiatives to improve access and understanding of electronic resources. The first of these was the OpenURL project, which arose in the dawn of the e-journal age during the 1990’s. The project meant to create a standard by which content providers and library-centered knowledge bases could offer “right copy” access, directing patrons to library purchased resources. Linking to these resources is a complex endeavor with many remaining problems and three recent projects seek to improve electronic journal access, accuracy, and representation.
KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) endeavors to create a metadata standard for communication between providers and knowledge base vendors. They have developed a 16-point schema that, if adopted, will help prevent ISBN duplication, title confusion and other time-consuming and preventable inaccuracies. IOTA (Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics) has amassed a gigantic database of 15 million urls and mean to use it to “automatically and systematically evaluate” the accuracy of these records and identify problem areas. PIE-J (Presentation and Identification of E-Journals) is related, but focuses on web and search representation instead of url inaccuracies. PIE-J is attempting to create a set of delicious best practices for the information vendors present in online journal representations. Among the requirements would be indexable and crawlable former titles and ISBNs.
Library technical services have experienced a sheer drop in workload over the past 20-years, but we’ve also experienced perhaps the heaviest migration from analog to digital among librarians. There’s a certain degree of reeling and shuffling that can be expected with such a rapid shift, but the next decade is going to see a demand for systems and strategies that work...like all the time. These standards are part of that, but there’s also going to be open access and an expectation that the content we pay for will be beautiful, simple, and metadataful and the systems we use will be flexible and intuitive.