Selection, Description, Incorporation and
While many will see significant similarities between NetFirst© and
CyberStacks(sm), we believe that the CyberStacks(sm) approach is
fundamentally different than that adopted by NetFirst(tm) in the major areas
of selection, description, incorporation and presentation.
Although NetFirst© does include significant monographic and serial works, files,
databases and search services, it does not differentiate between discrete resources
and entire web sites in its selection. While value has been added by an assessment of included
resources and by a concise description of selected items, users are still required to search within sites to
identify and locate useful resources. NetFirst© does not differentiate
between individual resources and more comprehensive or complex collections. CyberStacks(sm) on the other hand,
intentionally seeks to identify and describe only discrete resources,
be they unique or parts of a larger collection.
In describing selected Internet resources, NetFirst© has
adapted a conventional record format for describing Internet resources.
While the format does provide sufficient information to enable users to evaluate
the relevance of a specific resource, specific subject coverage is secondary,
and conceptual relationships between other resources are not indicated. While this method of presentation has served libraries and librarians for
generations, we believe that the full potential of the browser medium in
which the record is displayed is not fully utilized. Instead of making use
of the inherent nature and character of hypermedia, users are presented with the
HTML equivalent of a catalog card.
The CyberStacks(sm) approach is more holistic, seeking not to delineate all relevant elements in describing a
resource, but to characterize the resource sufficiently so that users can judge
its potential usefulness and to simultaneously integrate the resource within
an appropriate framework that offers a context in which relationship to
other resources are provided. Unlike NetFirst©, CyberStacks(sm) presents
users with a browsable collection of resources in broad and specific
While NetFirst© is to commended for its use of a graphical floor plan
to provide overall organization of categories of resources and for its
categorization of resources by broad and related subject groups, as with
most other organized Internet collections, the resources found within each category are listed
alphabetically. The specific conceptual relationships between resources,
which we believe can facilitate individual and general resource use, are not indicated.
Such methods of conventional presentation and organization may be viewed as an
manifestation of our paper and text-based cultural milieu. NetFirst©, and a majority of other
schemes, have not yet exploited the full potential of hypertext to present
and link resources in a non-sequential, non-linear manner.
As noted elsewhere, we believe that a more comprehensive use of the Library
of Congress classification system, as it has been implemented within
CyberStacks(sm) can provide the value-added structure, organization,
context, and an appropriate level of specificity and description that can
enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of users in identifying and
using relevant and related WWW and other Internet resources.
While NetFirst(tm) has adapted hypertext to facilitate enhanced access to
more text, CyberStacks(sm) has adopted hypertext and the browser medium to
provide and use context to provide associative meaning. We believe that within
CyberStacks(sm), the Library of Congress classification scheme provides meaning
through context that can facilitate efficient and effective access and use
of Internet resources.