The Library Catalog as Internet Portal

Sarah E. Thomas, Ph.D.

Carl A. Kroch University Librarian, Cornell University

January 31, 2001

8:30-9:00 Coffee and Doughnuts
9:00-10:30 Presentation

OCLC Auditorium
6565 Frantz Road
Dublin, OH 43017

The traditional library catalog exhibits the strengths of reliability, consistency, authoritativeness, and assurance of ready and continuing availability of the materials represented in it. Web portals such as Yahoo! have the advantages of currency, scope, customizability, relevance ranking, and hotlinks to the actual resources. Can the library catalog be adapted to serve as a scholarly and authoritative portal to research-quality Internet resources? Is this its proper function? What tradeoffs must be made in order to develop such a catalog? What resources and supporting activities would be required for the effort to be successful? What would be the relationship between such a library catalog and other guides to information, whether these resources are found in the library or 'out on the Web'? This presentation addresses these issues with a setting and schedule that allow for structured interaction of the audience and speaker.

Sarah E. Thomas is Carl A. Kroch University librarian at Cornell University. Active in academia and library and information science for over 25 years, Dr. Thomas has, along with other professional activities, cataloged books in Harvard University's Widener Library, taught German at The Johns Hopkins University, and directed both the Cataloging Directorate and the Public Service Collections Directorate at the Library of Congress. She currently serves on the Executive Steering Committee of the Digital Library Federation, and frequently speaks or writes on the topic of digital libraries. Dr. Thomas is a life member of the American Library Association, chair of the Access to Information Resources Committee of the Association of Research Libraries ( ARL), and a member of the ARL Board. She serves on the advisory councils to several university libraries, including Harvard, MIT, and Washington University. Dr. Thomas earned a Ph.D. in German literature from The Johns Hopkins University (1983), an M.S.L.S. from Simmons College (1973), and a bachelor's degree from Smith College (1970).

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