New trends in electronic publishing and electronic libraries

New trends in electronic publishing and electronic libraries

Book Reviews 373 regarding automated circulation systems. The 15 articles included are directed largely to librarians who are just beginning to thin...

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Book Reviews

373

regarding automated circulation systems. The 15 articles included are directed largely to librarians who are just beginning to think about automating their circulation systems. The arrangement with Donald Sager’s comments about of the articles enables one to begin at the “beginning” the economics of library automation. and work through a discussion of specifications and contract negotiations. as presented by Iibrarian Kevin Hegarty and vendor Jane Burke. The work continues with Pat Barkalow‘s advice on figuring costs and Bet-tie Hubbard’s suggestions for alternative financing. It includes “how to ” instructions on site preparation and requirements and system maintenance. by Carol Parkhurst, and ends with Michael Bruer’s reminders about public relations. In between, there is much detailed. practical and specific information. Librarians who have already made certain basic decisions, and who. perhaps, have even negotiated contracts, may stiii find useful information in the articles about implementation of the project by Susan Epstein and data-base creation by Diane Mayo. Joseph Matthews. one of the editors, gives an overview of the types of automated systems available. with guidelines for making choices. George Rickerson discusses the pros and cons of shared systems, and Debbie Christian points out microcomputer-based alternatives. George Happ and Tony Pierce present. as examples of “in-house” developed systems. their experiences at Salem Public Library in Oregon and Virginia Tech, respectively. Also included is a general discussion of automated circulation systems and data communication by William Adiletta. As Hegarty notes in the introduction. the I authors represent 200 years of experience with automated circulation systems. and they share not only the expertise which they have accumulated but also their personal errors and successes. The articles are also helpful in introducing readers to the “language” of automation. The informatjon. although some is subjective. is accurate and easily understood. Although the conference took place in 1982, the information is still timely. In noting the reasons why librarians decide to automate. Sager makes the valid point that more research is needed to document the effects of automation on the quality of service, level of staffing. costs. etc.. in comparison with a manual system. Such information would provide concrete justification for librarians who consider automation in the future. Concise and straightforward, the work is a chronological guide to studying and implementing a system to automate circulation services for all kinds of libraries in a variety of settings, Libra)? CJnil*ersip Urbana,

RC.TH B. MCBRIDE of Illinois Illinois

ar Urbana

61801

Nen Trends in Electronic Publishing and Electronic Libraries. A. H. HELAL and J. W. WEISS (Edsl. Essen University Library. Essen. Federal Republic of Germany (1984). 195 pp. (Publications of Essen University Library-: no. 6). (No charge listed). ISBN 30922602-07-X. This book consists of facsimiles of the typescripts of papers given at a symposium held in Essen in August 1983. It is part of a continuing series of such publications. The series has in the past dealt with such topics as serial automation. library networks and hierarchical relationships in bibliographic descriptions. The symposia are by invitation only. The proceedings are available on request to the Gesanrtkochschulbibliorhek Essen. All the papers in this volume suffer from problems of definition-the “electronic library” of the title is nowhere defined satisfactorily and “electronic publishing” is variously defined by various speakers. In addition to the haziness thus induced. most of the papers are replete with the woolly-mindedness that is the common aftliction of prophets of paperlessness and information-age speculators. The introduction by the editors ends with “Let us face the year 2000 courageously; it is only a matter of time that the electronic society replaces the paper society. . . .” Even without believing that 1 am living in an expiring “paper society”, I find this a singularly cheerless exhortation. Another choice piece of information-babble occurs in the essay by Andrew Torok on “Ergonomics in the electronic era”. He comes up with the breathtaking statement that “The unlimited capability of technology versus the limitations of human beings will continue to create numerous probfems requiring ergonomic research”. Let us pray that the ergonomists can rescue us from the consequences of our fallibility! For pure moon-struck tosh, however, one has to turn to Frederick Kilgour’s paper on “The online catalog revolution”. As an ardent admirer of Kilgour’s achievements I am truly saddened to read: “The electronic files of documents currently coming into existence will soon be the logical equivalent, and replacement of [sic]. collections of publications in classical libraries, and libraries as we know them will

374

Book

Reviews

diminish in usefulness.” Like the small boy in 1919 appalled by the fallibility of his hero, I am reduced to pleading, “Say it ain’t so, Fred., say it ain’t so.” Beyond the lack of focus of the ostensible topic of the book and the uncritical acceptance of the paperless society myth there lies another major problem for most of these papers. It is the worship of, and slavish adherence to, the fashionable but bizarre notion that libraries are about information and that systems which deliver information speedily and inexpensively are a satisfactory replacement for Kilgour’s “classical library”. It cannot be said too often that libraries are not about, or even primarily about, information in the sense that that word is used by ordinary thinking peope--i.e. factual data. It is true that some modern writers define information so broadly as to make it meaningless in order to justify slogans such as “The Age of Information” and to assert the primacy of “information science” over librarianship. To a normal reader, there is a clear distinction between information and the higher levels encompassed by terms such as knowledge. culture and wisdom. If libraries are reduced to the lowest level--that of information -and become solely or chiefly concerned with the electronic transfer and manipulation of information, they will have richly deserved the fate that awaits them. Torok’s essay deals with the physical problems of the use of computer terminals and services. Given his premises, it is a sound and informative piece. Other essays deal with the OCLC Local Library System (by Niall Perry), the work of the International Electronic Publishing Research Centre-a trade organization of publishers interested in this field (Hans Ehlers)-and electronic publishing and records management (Marc D’Alleyrand). Frederick Kilgour’s paper on “Online catalog revolution” is, in parts, quite strikingly wrong-headed. Not only is it predicated upon unreal expectations. it also slides from discussion of online catalogs to that of “electronic libraries”, with little logical connection. He also seeks to perpetuate an idea which, as far as I know, is peculiar to him-that online catalogs do not require “extensive descriptive cataloging rule systems”. This is not only simply wrong. it is proved wrong every day by the operations of OCLC, Inc., of which Mr. Kilgour is the Founding Father. Rum. There are two good papers in this book. Their value lies in the presence of virtues mostly absent elsewhere. Thomas Hickey’s paper on the integration of text and graphics in electronic systems is clear, to the point, factual. and covers its relatively narrow topic with concision. Susan Martin’s essay on document delivery systems is free of fanciful speculations, skeptical and clear-headed. I do hope Messrs. Helal and Weiss will continue their series of symposia and publications and that future events will be on more focussed topics discussed with more relevance and logic. Director, lJni\,ersitJ Visiring

General

Services

of Illinois Professor,

Uni\,ersity

MICH.I\EL GORMAN

Deparrmenr

af Urbana-Champaign of Chicago

Library, Graduate

and Libraq

School

Cryptography: A New Dimension in Computer Data Security. C. H. MEYER and S. M. MUTYAS. Wiley-Interscience, New York (1982). xxi + 775 pp., $43.95. ISBN 0471-04892-5. Just a few years ago, a search for books on cryptography would yield only a handful of treatments of the classical techniques. We now have available a’ steadily growing number of often excellent modern treatments, often written by the field’s top names. This is such a book. It treats onl) computer-based cryptographic techniques. especially variants of the well-established Data Encryption Standard, which is covered in the overview chapter, described and analyzed in its own chapter, and presented in full in the appendix. Though given much less attention, the more theoretical public key encryption systems are also covered. The book concentrates most on network problems-for example, key generation and management techniques-and problems of authentication, areas which the authors have helped develop and on which they speak with obvious expertise and authority. The specific example of electronic fund transfer is analyzed in great detail. If fault must be found, it is in the typesetting, which makes some of the equations and diagrams difficult to read, the degree of repetitiveness (in part because some chapters are essentially reprints of earlier publications), and, for some, the emphasis on application over theory. But, overall, the reader will find here an encyclopedic, authoritative and readable source on the problems of data security in an environment of networked computers. Graduate Universiry

Librap

School

of Chicago

ABRAHAM BOOKSTEIN