Planned Enhancements

We recognize that there are inherent limitations in providing a browse function within CyberStacks(sm) with limited visual context. The addition of images and appropriate graphics could "further reduce cognitive load and memory tasks" as summarized by Chang and Rice (Chang and Rice, 1991:242).
Likewise, a "visual system that models a ... library's physical layout on the screen (including visual displays of book shelves[emphasis added], floor maps, and walking paths)"(Chang and Rice, 1991:242) would offer a familiar environment that could further facilitate identification and selection of relevant resources by users. The Science Library Catalog Project (Borgman et al., 1995: 663-684) not only has implications for the design of information retrieval systems for children, but offers an excellent model for the enhancement of other hypertext retrieval systems, including the CyberStacks(sm) scheme.
Although not as sophisticated as Borgman's efforts, we believe the recent incorporation of relevant icons to identify all broad subject categories within the major CyberStacks(sm) classes provides additional visual information and context that will further facilitate selection and use of relevant Internet resources.
The application of virtual reality browsers (Miller, 1995: C4) such as Vrealm and WebSpace to the CyberStacks(sm) scheme could literally provide the added dimension that would further facilitate use. The landmark experimental project directed by Arthur W. Rhyno, Systems Librarian, University of Windsor, Canada, that has applied VRML to 'navigate information space' at the Leddy Library, represents a major advance in user-friendly interfaces to the local online library catalog (OPAC) and has significant potential application for enhancing use of CyberStacks(sm).
We also recognize the need to offer other means of identifying appropriate resources, notably direct Boolean searching. The use of an available and appropropriate search utility will be investigated during 1996.
We also plan to add appropriate standard Library of Congress Subject Heading(s) to selected resource profiles and to create a browsable thesaurus of these headings as well as an alphabetical listing. For this project, each of the subject heading within each of these respective schemes will be linked to relevant individual resource profiles categorized within the CyberStacks(sm) classification system. An experimental Cross-Classification Index has been created within CyberStacks(sm) to facilitate the identification of categories with accessible resources and to provide users with another pathway for browsing its collection.
We have also decided to provide access to resources by their respective main titles. At present, this is a single alphabetical listing; as it increases, the listing will be divided into appropriate subfiles. Through the Title Index users are able to connect directly to a resource; a supplemental link to the profile of each individual resource within the CyberStacks(sm) scheme is under consideration.
An index of named individuals and organizations is also being considered as an additional enhancement considered
We are also considering the creation of appropriate workforms that we expect will expedite the incorporation of selected resources into an appropriate CyberStacks(sm) category. The Resource Description Template, used within the NISS Information Gateway, offers an excellent model for such an enhancement. Automatic classification of relevant Internet resources has also been reviewed. Programs such as WILMA (Web Information-List Maintenance Agent) developed by Andrew Williams and Daniel K. Appelquist, have the potential of significantly expediting the addition of resources within the CyberStacks(sm) scheme.
Although quite rudimentary, the use of basic record templates greatly facilitated the selection and preliminary incorporation of candidate resource during a systematic review of significant sites in December 1995. It is hoped that this basic workform can be refined in 1996 to further expedite the incorporation of resources within CyberStacks(sm).
Cited Reference
Christine L. Borgman, Sandra G. Hirsh, Virginia A. Walter and Andrea L. Gallagher, "Children's searching behavior on browsing and keyword online catalogs: the Science Library Catalog Project," Journal of the American Society for Information Science 46(9): 663-684 (October 1995).
Shan-ju Chang and Ronald E. Rice, "Browsing: a multidimensional framework," Annual review of information science and technology 28:231-276 (1993).
Stephen C. Miller, "Taking in the sites: browsing the Web toys at the Comdex showroom," New York Times, C4 (November 20, 1995).
CyberStacks(sm)