Friday, April 07, 2006

meta indexing

Here follows a quick tip for strapped librarians who want to make a sorta bootleg version of something like xreferplus.

You know Gale Literary Index? You search it, and it tells you where to go in CLC, TCLC, DLB, CA, etc. etc. to find info on and criticism of your author of interest. Okay. Now imagine such an index pertinent for any of your most common reference questions. You can make a meta-index to help you find infromation in your reference collection very quickly.

1. Select the most used reference volumes (or if you have money, time, and interest, select all reference volumes).
2. Scan in the indices of each volume using the optical character recognition software that comes with your scanners.
3. Compile all the index pages into a single document.
4. You can even make it into a Word file or an HTML page -- it doesn't matter.
5. Check for errors in the scan.
7. Now you've got a meta-index that will work in a way similar to the GLI.
8. When you need to find something, open the document and Ctrl+F for your term or a related term.

Since you've divided this meta-index document into distinct sections for different books, you quickly know which book has helpful info and what the call number is for finding it quickly on the shelf. A time saver. Fair use, wouldn't you say?


Listening: The String Cheese Incident

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