Bodleian catalogue improvements made possible by generous donor

13 June 2011

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have announced the addition of two important enrichment services to SOLO: Search Oxford Libraries Online, the catalogue and resource discovery system for searching digital and print collections. Both additions will improve the search experience and provide scholars with tools for easily locating and assessing quality materials for their study and research in an ever-expanding world of information.

These improvements have been made possible by a generous donation from philanthropist Mr Zvi Meitar. Purchasing these services has meant that these catalogue improvements could be made in a matter of months versus the years that it would have taken Bodleian library cataloguers to research and input the data. 

Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodley's Librarian, said: "Improving online access to our collections is an important element part of the Bodleian Libraries' academic strategy, and we value Mr Meitar's vision in supporting this project. It may lack the outward glamour of conserving one of our great treasures or helping to fund our new Special Collections Library but the importance of this donation cannot be overestimated. The catalogue is the lifeblood of the library connecting our readers worldwide with 11 million physical items in our collections and an infinite number of electronic resources. These enrichment improvements further refine the accuracy of our library records making it quicker for academics to reach the materials they seek whilst also encouraging them to explore recommended materials they may not previously have considered."

Mr Meitar said: "From my experience the quality of a library and the ability to use it depends on its catalogues and its catalogue services."

bX Recommender uses the networked scholarly community to generate recommendations based on actual article usage, so enabling researchers to become aware of works which they might not otherwise have found. It represents the growing recognition of the importance of user-driven content and an important step in the convergence of Web 2.0 and the scholarly world. 

Secondly, tables of contents and book summaries have been added to over a million records in SOLO. This supplementary information is searchable on the catalogue, making it easier for readers to find the items they need.  It is especially valuable for works with individually authored chapters.  For example, an enquiry search by an academic's name in SOLO might have eight results - four of which would not be found without the enrichment data. Chapter titles and book summaries will also contain terms that are not in the title or subject headings. For example, a search for "kloosterman sums" has six results, only one of which would be found without enrichment.

The Bodleian Libraries' academic strategy aims to improve online access to materials via three key areas:

  • Improving the provision of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books). 
  • Continuing the Libraries' digitization programme and ensuring current and long-term access to all digitized materials. 
  • Expanding the online catalogues and improving their accuracy to facilitate access to all of the Libraries' collections.

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