Posted by: Steven Harris | December 9, 2008

23 Ways

NYT iPhoneWe’ve been talking in my library recently about the treatment of our ejournals and whether they need to be fully cataloged and described in the OPAC, since we have an ERM that presents a searchable list of electronic subscriptions. Isn’t it a lot of work to maintain those records in the catalog as well? Our head of cataloging effectively counters that by saying it’s a lot of working doing it either way (along with a lot of other cogent arguments). She and I agree that we should offer as many access points as we possibly can.

All that got me thinking about the New York Times. Again! You’ve seen me wax eloquent (or obsessively anyway) about the NY Times as an organization that really adopts new technology and makes it work for their core mission. They know they can reach more people by adopting more platforms and channels, and to reach more people is to be more important and more successful. When I was reading the NYT on my iPhone the other day, it really struck me how many ways I receive or interact with NYT. I started ticking them off in my mind: iPhone, email, web. And that made me think of other ways that NYT is available, even though I don’t use them myself. Therefore, in the manner of other 23 things lists, I present 23 Ways to Enjoy the New York Times:

  1. Print (preferably with coffee and croissants)

  2. Website

  3. Mobile website (for phones and PDAs)

  4. Archive (NYT and third party)

  5. Online aggregators

  6. Electronic (download)

  7. NYT Reader (software platform)

  8. Email

  9. RSS

  10. Blogs

  11. Alerts

  12. Podcasts

  13. SMS texting

  14. Avantgo

  15. Chumby

  16. Opera Mini

  17. Twitter

  18. Vindigo

  19. iPhone app

  20. Kindle

  21. Facebook

  22. LinkedIn

  23. YouTube

Some of those are delivery methods and some are particular products, but what this says to me is that they, obviously, have stored their data (news writing) in ways that are platform independent. All that data and metadata can be accessed and repackaged by different mechanisms, standards, software, and platforms. They don’t have 23 different storage sites for each different access method.

We don’t seem to have quite the same control of our data (oddlly) in the library world. If we store our journal metadata in an ERM, for example, we can’t easily expose it to other tools that might repackage or present that information in other ways. The ERM vendor wants to be in control of those transactions. They charge us, in fact, if we want to take our metadata and put it somewhere else. Same with our ILS and OPAC vendors (even if they are Z39.50 compliant).

Imagine a library subscription list that can be accessed on a PDA or cellphone…effectively! A list that could be customized by the user: these are the particular journals I am interested in, or just show me the journals in these subject areas. Let me store those call numbers or ejournal links wherever I want to store them. Let’s integrate or mash up this data with publishers’ RSS feeds, so patrons know when new issues have been published. Sadly, I think we’re quite a ways from exposing our own subscription data in this way. Perhaps someday.

By the way, a couple of places to find out about NYT services (and, no, I don’t get a commission from them):



  1. Oddly enough, I’m trying to address this issue now. Are you talking just your electronic journal subscriptions or journals held in aggregated databases as well? Our ERM is not up and running (though I’m trying), but once I do it, there is a way for me (with some work on my part for the uplaod) to put what would amount to brief, brief records in the OPAC.

    We’ve had concerns about having two places to look for journals – the e-jounrnal list (generated by our serials management product) and the OPAC. Our most immediate solution is to put our print journal holdings in the e-journal list and rename it. I’ve done this is the past and it’s useful.

    Ideally, I’d like to see us get MARC records for our e-journals (not just our subscriptions but for journals held in aggregated databases) for the OPAC. I’ve also done this in the past and it’s great. Yes, it costs, but in the long run it’s cheaper than hiring another cataloger and the monthly updates take less than 30 minutes (at least the system I used in the past did).

  2. […] iPhone Image by srharris Read more in my blog: Filed Under: Images Tagged With: notch, […]

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