The New Age “Information Dowser” and Mobile Learning Opportunities: The Use of Library Classification and Subject Headings in K-20 Education – Today and Tomorrow

The New Age “Information Dowser” and Mobile Learning Opportunities: The Use of Library Classification and Subject Headings in K-20 Education – Today and Tomorrow

Tom Adamich (Muskingum University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-511-7.ch015
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Abstract

The other challenge is to determine if the resulting use of contextual identification (using library classification and subject headings) accessible via a mobile device is appropriate for a particular institution’s information/material retrieval needs, user population, and budget (in this case, a small academic library). The result is the development of the “RMU Information Dowser” project by the Robert Morris University (RMU) Libraries. This project, also designed to possibly satisfy the RMU Libraries mandate to assist in university-wide application of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in the future, will profile how the university has been exploring use of a combination of mobile technology and reference processes to create a tool to promote rapid library catalog information retrieval and materials access in a student-centered, socially-friendly context.
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Background

As was mentioned earlier, locating library materials using library classification (i.e. an item’s classification-derived “home on the shelf”) is, obviously, not a new concept. Likewise, the use of the descriptive labels associated with a particular classification number to validate item selection also has its origins in basic library theory and practice. According to Mills (2004), indexing and searching function as the two fundamental operations of retrieval. The classification number itself – using a combination of numbers, letters, and, in some cases words -- works to establish the placement context for a single unit or multiple units with respect to the tangible placement of that entity in a prescribed physical area. The classification’s descriptive labels function as “access points” in creating an intellectual link between the subjective labels and the objective number. Library catalogers create the conceptual bond between the classification number and its descriptive labels to develop a tool users may manipulate to encourage information retrieval, since such retrieval is the “final and, therefore, the most obvious of the processes that contribute to an information system” (Jacob, 2004, p. 515).

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