month I look at a book to get you into Webmastering,
if you haven't dabbled yet, a quick look at
the state of classifying electronic resources,
some legal issues for libraries and e-mail management.
The Accidental Webmaster
by Julie M. Still
Pages: 192 pp.; softcover
Available from: Information
143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055;
If you have done a bit of HTML coding and
are thinking of branching out into Webmastering
on a small scale, this book will tell you
what's in store for you. The author, a librarian
and Webmaster at the Paul Robeson Library,
Camden Campus, Rutgers University, begins
by telling you how to get started with a
small non-profit, friend's business, or whatever.
She wisely points out a lot of the personnel
issues, such as confirming who makes the
design decisions right at the start. If you
are thinking of working with a non-Web-savvy
group, give them this short book to read
first. They will have a better appreciation
of the issues involved.
This is not a technical book. It is a guide
to the organizational, legal, and practical
issues that you will face as a part-time
or even volunteer Webmaster. I'm sure you
would learn most of this on your own, but
how nice to save the aggravation and get
some pointers up-front.
The book is divided into 20 chapters, covering
such topics as setting policies, hosting,
design issues, community building, fundraising,
marketing, and several chapters devoted to
specific types of sites (advocacy, religious,
cultural, fan sites, etc.). Each chapter
ends with a list of suggested readings--all
print-based. I was astonished that no Web
resources were referenced, except for a short
list of six at the end of the book. I am
definitely of the opinion that the best place
to learn about the Web is on the Web.
This is definitely not the book for the
techno-geeks, but for those just putting
a toe in the Webmastering murk, this is a
good beginning guide to the issues.
High-Level Subject Access
Tools and Techniques in Internet Cataloging
edited by Judith R. Ahronheim
Pages: 115 pp.; softcover
Available from: Haworth
Information Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton,
NY 13904; 607/771-0012; www.haworthpress.com.
(Also published as the Journal of Internet Cataloging, vol. 5, number 4, 2002.)
The six articles in this slim book, edited
by Judith Ahronheim, a metadata specialist
at the University of Michigan Graduate Library,
give a broad perspective of attempts to map
existing classification schemes with user
or context-based terminologies. Essentially,
to manage the proliferation of electronic
resources that librarians want to present
to the user, there is no longer time to manually
classify the resources with applicable subject
terms. The goal is to use classification
that is already in the OPAC record, whether
it is LCSH, Dewey, or whatever, and to map
those codes to corresponding hierarchical
subject terms (á là Yahoo!)
that the user can understand and browse.
The first article compares the number of
top terms, depth, and structure of hierarchies
of the major library classification schemes
with those of Yahoo! and LookSmart and concludes
that they are very similar. The next three
papers describe pilot projects at Columbia
University, University of Washington, and
University of Michigan to map LC classification
codes to specific new taxonomies to enable
users to see lists of library resources categorized
by subject. These give some insight to the
practical and technical issues involved in
The last two papers look more at the political
and social issued involved in classifying
and presenting resources and using particular
terms to do so. The MyLibrary portal at NC
State is described and issues related to
student use and preferences are discussed.
One questions how easy we need to make research
for the students. And finally, the last paper
describes a U.K. initiative to map different
taxonomies and thesauri from different subject
areas to facilitate cross-disciplinary searching.
There is much happening in the area of
taxonomy development, but mostly it seems
new taxonomies are sprouting like mushrooms.
It is good to think of ways to map different
schemes to ultimately facilitate the users'
seamless venture through any kind of electronic
resource. This book is but the tip of the
The Library's Legal Answer
by Mary Minow and
Tomas A. Lipinski
Pages: 350 pp.; softcover
Available from: ALA
Editions, American Library Association, 50
East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611; 866/746-7252;
How I regret that this book is necessary,
but in our litigious society, it may be a
lifesaver. Although the book is written by
lawyers (both also with library science degrees),
and they occasionally lapse into legalese,
the book is fairly readable and certainly
thoroughly documented. Every point they make
is footnoted and referenced.
The book is written in the style of FAQs.
Each chapter begins with a lengthy list of
questions that a librarian may ask, and then
each question is answered in order within
the chapter. The nine chapters cover copyright,
Web page design and linking, Internet access
and filters, ADA compliance, privacy, public
displays, professional liability, employment,
and friends of the library and lobbying issues,
all with a direct focus on libraries. It
is highly unlikely that you will read the
book from cover to cover, but it is easy
to find the topic you want from the list
of questions in each chapter.
The book cannot substitute for legal advice
(as the authors clearly state), but it is
a good guide to the major issues affecting
libraries today. There are lots of things
covered that I never even thought about,
like a "love contract" for romantically involved
employees and liability for writing book
reviews, and plenty of issues like copyright
that I hear endlessly, but am never quite
sure what the law exactly is. If you are
like me, you'll find this book a useful guide
for staying out of trouble with the law.
A Business Guide to Managing Policies, Security, and Legal issues for E-Mail
and Digital Communication
by Nancy Flynn and
Randolph Kahn, Esq.
Pages: 254 pp.; softcover
Available from: AMACOM,
American Management Association, 1601 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019; 212/903-8316; www.amacombooks.org
Continuing in the legal vein--Randolph
Kahn is an attorney while Nancy Flynn is
a freelance author and e-policy expert--this
book will help you to manage and set policies
for the use of e-mail within your organization.
If you worry about liability and compliance
with the law, this book provides the "rules" you
need to implement in your organization to
control e-mail use and abuse.
The book contains 37 rules and 37 chapters
divided into seven main topics. The first
makes the case for e-mail management, using
several real-life examples and statistics
to show how your failure to implement policies
can cost you and your organization in time,
money, and other damages. Then comes the
section on designing and implementing policies,
with a variety of suggestions.
Parts three and four may be the most interesting
to librarians, as they deal with the requirements
for maintaining e-mail as business and legal
records. The authors describe a couple of
software automation tools to help in categorizing
and filtering e-mail messages, as well as
discussing other archiving issues.
Part five covers e-mail security, part
six discusses managing other communications
media like instant messaging and peer to
peer networking, and part seven provides
details on educating employees as to your
e-mail policies and strategies.
Unlike the previous book, this one is aimed
at businesses rather than specifically libraries,
but there is much that applies to anyone
who can potentially have to deal with abuse
of the organization's e-mail system. Better
to be forewarned and prepared.