I’m sitting in the Innovative Users Group meeting at ALA Midwinter.
The first speaker, Jeffrey Beall (Auraria Library, University of Colorado, Denver) did an interesting presentation on making freely-available open access e-books available through the OPAC. This project builds on the work done by the University of Michigan and Google by providing OPAC records linking to thousands of digitized books. This also draws on work done by the HathiTrust Digital Repository.
This project ultimately resulted in approximately 100,000 new records in the system. This represents potential online access to 100,000 additional full-text items.
Jeffrey pointed out some advantages and disadvantages of this project.
Access to great content through the OPAC
Reap the benefits of years of UMich collection development
Collocated with other library resources
Fills gaps in the collection
Gives easier access to material in obsolete and unpopular formats (like microform)
Content controlled by others, may disappear
Poor metadata quality may make using catalog more difficult
A Big Question
What’s more important: access to great content with bad metadata, or access to fewer resources with good metadata?