Minutes of the MLAIB International Bibliography
in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
Midwinter Meeting, ALA Conference, January 13, 2001

Washington, D.C.


  1. Welcome and Introductions.

    Bill Gargan, Chair of the Discussion Group, convened the meeting.
    Attendees:
    Carol McAllister, Gail Hueting, Judy Reynolds, Michaelyn Burnette, Kathy Johnson, Kim Kelly, Laura Fuderer, Sara Seten Berghausen, Helene Williams, Faye Christenberry, Joy Pile, Richard Bleiler, Nancy Kushigian, Bill Gargan (Chair), Terry Ford (MLAIB representative), Susanna Van Sant (note-taker).

  2. Election/delegation of Chair 2001-2002.

    No one volunteered during the meeting. Discussion Group members who are able to attend future conferences are encouraged to speak up. Responsibilities include scheduling meeting times and places, setting agendas, running the meetings.

  3. Listserv and Web page update.

    List serve- Martha Zarate would like to turn moderation responsibilities over to someone else. Gail Hueting volunteered. Since Gail is also at UIUC, the address will not change.
    Web page- The link to EALS has been edited to reflect the name change and the URL change. Members are encouraged to send in entries for the annotated bibliography of studies on the MLA International Bibliography and also to send in URL's for guides to using different versions of the Bibliography. Visit the page at http://www.wam.umd.edu/~vansant/mlaibdg/, send suggestions or submissions to Susanna at vs63@umail.umd.edu.

  4. Room assignments and meeting time conflicts.

    We have been meeting on Saturday mornings, but since this is such a popular meeting time, we have not had the best venues. We could change our meeting time to Monday and have better room selection, but attendance would be adversely affected. For now, we will leave the meeting time as it is.

  5. Update from MLA Staff -- Terry Ford.

    - The bids to print the 1999 volumes were sent about a month ago. These volumes will be 4% bigger in the number of entries. There are over 2500 pages in the (single-volume) subject index.
    - The 4th update for 2000 was 14% larger than the 4th update for 1999 due to the inclusion of pedagogy and the addition of earlier citations that had been in the backlog. Pedagogy includes the teaching of languages (primarily the teaching of non-english languages to people in the United States and Canada) and literature, rhetoric and composition - material formerly indexed by CCCC (which has now ceased).
    - MLA is negotiating with another online vendor to provide another interface to the Bibliography. The vendor cannot be named at this point, but it caters primarily to community colleges and high schools. Once a contract is signed an announcement will be made.
    - Silver Platter remains the only online vendor to provide the contents of the Directory of Periodicals (which will no longer be published in print and is updated online only). OCLC has the list of periodicals but not the directory information.
    - There are about 4200 periodicals on the master list (up from 3300 5 or 6 years ago). Just over 50% of the titles on the master list are indexed in the Bibliography.
    - MLA staff are in the process of evaluating the inclusion of West Asian journals.
    - The Bibliography does include electronic journals - those that exist in electronic format *only*. If print is available (and fits the scope) the print edition will be indexed.
    - Electronic monographs that are part of series are also listed (e.g. Romantic Praxis from the Romantic Circles website). Use the phrase "electronic publication" to find citations to electronic material.
    - MLA is exploring indexing URL's/web sites for literature and language, but such a project is viewed as a longer term goal.
    - About 900 copies of the print index are sold. There are no plans to discontinue issuing the Bibliography in print. Reminder that paperback copies are available to individuals at a significantly lower price.

    Suggestions/Calls for Help:

    - Some of the scope and overlap studies that this Group has done in the past have been helpful to MLA staff, and we are encouraged to continue to do systematic, methodologically sound comparisons.
    - If we are aware of journals being published that we would like to recommend be indexed in the MLAIB, please alert MLA staff.
    - Field bibliographers are needed. These bibliographers must be members of MLA. Training is provided and an updated manual is due to be released this spring.
    - A users guide to the MLAIB would be useful, with sample questions and searches, especially with regards to using the thesaurus. For example, searching "children's literature" would yield rather few results. One should use "literature for audience children" instead.

  6. Discussion topics for June meeting in San Francisco

    a. Comparison of MLAIB online vendors/interfaces will be main topic. Bill will ask OCLC, Silver Platter and Ovid if they each can send a representative. Members of our Group will also remark upon the pros and cons of each of the vendor's contents and interfaces.
    b. Select a new chair.

  7. Discussion of scope and overlap in terms of ABELL and ABES.

    We discussed other such comparisons that would be helpful to conduct, too. Perhaps MLAIB and ERIC on pedagogy, or compare the MLAIB and Sociological Abstracts, Philosopher's Index, Religion Index. Or examine other special topics in the Bibliography, such as folklore and anthropology, linguistics, film, psychology, history, television, opera, radio, architecture.
    To make such studies most useful, it would be important to use a standardized methodology. (See, for example, "Report of the "MLA Bibliography" Scope and Overlap Committee, an ACRL Ad Hoc Committee." ED417730.)

  8. Discussion of possible projects the group may want to undertake.

    (Many of these were discussed above.)

    a. scope and overlap studies
    b. users guide - to the content of the Bibliography, not to a specific interface. The function of classification, use of the thesaurus, general strategies that most people may not be aware of, even for more standard searches.
    c. adding to bibliography on the Web site
    d. adding links to the user/search interface guides on the Web site

  9. Announcements

    - Bill announced the Scribner's American Lives publishing opportunity.
    - The SHARP Conference will be held in Virginia this summer (see http://www.indiana.edu/~sharp/)
    - Terry will be leaving the MLAIB. He has accepted a position with the Getty to work on the Bibliography of the History of Art and the Avery Index. We wish him all the best; he will be greatly missed. We will be looking forward to developing a comparable relationship with his successor at the Bibliography.

  10. Adjournment

    Further discussions and solicitation of volunteers will be conducted over the list serve. We will next meet in San Francisco.