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Three different online catalogs

I attempted to log in to four remote catalog systems, and succeeded with three: 1. The NovaNet Library System in Nova Scotia, Canada (NOVANET.DAL.CA). This was a telnet connection to a library catalog. The interface was very well thought out--the searches were conducted in a quick and logical fashion. Each screen featured a menu of popular commands, plus options for more advanced searching and display of information. One ironic point was that the first screen had a `Dialing in from home? Come see us at the reference desk!' message. That doesn't make much sense for people dialing in remotely, and makes even less sense for a user logging in from another country! 2. Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland) (ETHICS3270.ETHZ.CH). This was a TN3270 connection to Europe. My first foreign-language interface experience! I chose to use the German menus, and was surprised how much of it I understood. I think my domain knowledge of bibliographic records and information technology was helping me out here. I was really thrilled when I figured out how to do truncation searches and which German words to use in Boolean searches. Finally, I logged in to System number 3. The Melvyl Catalog (MELVYL.UCOP.EDU) This is my `native' library catalog. The interface is probably not acceptable by `novice' HCI standards, but with a short training session, it becomes a powerful tool for locating bibliographic information. Melvyl was the only system searched that could locate accessible information for my term paper(i.e. I won't have to hop a plane to Sweden to pick up my books).


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sean dreilinger

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