News Library News Online
Vol. 20, No.3/Spring 1998

Table of Contents
Regular Features

New This Month

News Library News
SLA News Division Home

The Aside Bar

By Catherine Kitchell

Only 7 people responded to the survey last fall on News Division communication issues. Hopefully, that was because the issue arrived at Christmastime, not because no one reads NLN. Since the response rate was not representative, I'm not going to sum them up, but I would like to clear up one misconception. The Division can not accept advertising on our homepage ( - the space is donated by the University of North Carolina. The reason to publish NLN on the web is lower production costs, not increasing revenue. Also, it is not as easy as it once was to get advertising. If you have ideas on how to increase revenue or other advertising sources, please contact Jackie Zaborski, our new Business Editor. Her number is listed below.

This is my last full issue of NLN - I will share the next issue after conference. So that my successor gets a full shot at introducing themselves next issue, I would like to say my thanks in this issue. First, thanks go to Linda Henderson, past editor of NLN, for suggesting me. Yeah, Linda anytime I can do you a favor, just let me know! Linda did not lie, the first two issues were the worst and I would not ever want this job again, though I will gladly help anyone else who has the job. I would like to thank Pete Basofin, Barbara Semonche and Carolyn Edds - they all care deeply about communication issues in this Division and work very hard for us. I would like to thank Marilyn Bromley, my boss at BNA, for writing stories for me when I was desperate and for being supportive of my work on NLN. I'd also like to thank Cheri Dantin of Keedy & Company, the designer of NLN. She spends her time making NLN look good on the page - she is a perfectionist long after I have given up ! and I admire her for it.

Also, I could not have done any of these issues without the help of my friend Mark Karplus. He's an excellent editor and knows where commas go. I don't have a clue. (What a relief to be able to admit it!) He's not a librarian (though his mother was one) , but a chemist, and he read every darn article in the last two years more than once. Pretty impressive and very dedicated.

Probably I have learned more editing NLN than any of you have learned reading it and I'm happy I had the chance to do it.


To the top.

An Indy Librarian Welcomes Us to Her City

By Sandy Fitzgerald

It's close to deadline and I'm still trying to decide what to tell you about Indianapolis. You should know I'm a Hoosier and I've lived, worked and played in Indianapolis for over 55 years.

As I think about why it's difficult to start writing, it occurs to me I've been trying to find a way to apologize for what my city doesn't have. I'm fixated on topography. It's true, Indianapolis is on the prairie and is flat. But the good news is Indianapolis is on the way to everywhere. This central location is as important to our continued growth as it was to our early development, and is why Indianapolis is called the "Crossroads of America."

The bad news is there are no lofty mountains to climb, scenic ocean routes to view, sandy beaches to relax upon or giant skyscrapers to visit while you are here. And I agree with the statement made by another Hoosier, "Indianapolis doesn't have glitz".

But as someone else said to me just the other day, "Indianapolis has substance". It's a great place to grow up and raise a family. It's a good place to get a little more for your money. It's clean and friendly.

For me the story starts more than a few years back. During my childhood I remember downtown Indianapolis bustling with shoppers, movie-goers and people enjoying dinner in a downtown restaurant. Christmas shopping on a cold wintry day, moving with the crowds from store to store and stopping to look at the animated Christmas decorations in the L.S. Ayres window brings happy memories. The big clock on the Ayres building at the corner of Washington and Meridian streets was a popular place to meet relatives and friends at the end of a shopping day. At that time the place where I live now, seven miles from the center of the city, was out in the country.

As Indianapolis moved through the 1950's and 1960's and into the 1970's, I remember many things beginning to change.

Sadly, early in this period downtown area stores, theaters and restaurants closed. With the closing of downtown stores and the opening of covered shopping malls we began to shift away from the city center. People moved out into the suburbs and manufacturing declined. Over the years it was said that Indianapolis came to life just once each year, during the running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

But from the late 1960's and into the 1970's political and business leaders began to develop a vision for Indianapolis. They were carving out a future for the cultural and economic development of the city.

The early 1970's saw the construction of our city's first tall building - the 36-floor Indiana National Bank Tower, Market Square Arena, home of the NBA Indiana Pacers, and the opening of the Indiana Convention Center. Indianapolis also established a professional theater group, modern dance company, ballet theatre and opera company during this period.

As we moved further into the 1970's city leaders became concerned about the deterioration of the downtown area and much of their focus was turned to the deteriorating city center, comprised largely of the Mile Square bounded by North, South, East and West streets.

A 1978 article in the 75th anniversary edition of The Indianapolis Star describes what downtown Indianapolis might look like in the year 2000 A. D. if visions of the city's "movers and shakers" come true. Certainly Indianapolis has made great strides since that date.

Much of the city's development has been driven by the initiative to become the "amateur sports capital". Indianapolis sports facilities include Market Square Arena, The RCA Dome, the Indianapolis Tennis Center, the Indiana University Track and Field Stadium and athletic fields, the Indiana University Natatorium, the Major Taylor Velodrome, the regatta course at Eagle Creek Park, the William Kuntz Soccer complex, Brickyard Crossing championship golf course and the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians baseball stadium. The Indiana Fieldhouse, new home of the Indiana Pacers professional basketball team, is under construction in the downtown area.

In 1979 the Indiana Sports Corporation was established to attract national and international sporting events to Indianapolis. The National Sports Festival, Tenth Pan American Games, NCAA Final Four, PGA Championship, World Gymnastics Championships, World Rowing Championships and U.S. Olympic Swimming and Diving Trials are a few of the events which have been held in Indianapolis. Of course, Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the 500-Mile Race has been held since 1911 and the Brickyard 400 was inaugurated in 1994.

But there is plenty for the non-sports enthusiast. It's a short walk to the historic Indiana Theatre Building, home of the Indiana Repertory Theatre and then on to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, both located on West Washington Street. The IMAX 3D theater sits next to the Eiteljorg. At West Street and Ohio (two blocks north of Washington Street) you'll find the Indianapolis Canal Walk below street level. Here you can enjoy walking or jogging along the Central Canal. At the western edge of the Canal Walk you'll find the Indianapolis Zoo and a pleasant tree shaded walk along White River.

A few blocks further from the convention center toward the center of downtown you can visit the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre located on Monument Circle. The Hilbert is home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Classical and Pops concert series. The orchestra is performing in June.

The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument honoring Hoosiers killed in the Civil War and the War with Mexico stands in the center of Monument Circle. Visit the observatory atop the monument, the basement museum or simply stop for awhile to people watch.

Meridian Street runs north and south through the center of Monument Circle. Four blocks north from the center of Monument Circle you can visit the World War Memorial and stop for a few minutes of quiet reflection in the beautiful Shrine Room. The World War Memorial anchors the five-block Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Walking east on Market Street from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument you'll find the revitalized historic City Market with meat and vegetable stands and food stands offering lunch fare. A block further east visit the Indiana State Museum on Alabama Street. If you walk back to the convention area via Washington Street you'll pass near the construction site of the new Indiana Fieldhouse just south of Washington Street between Delaware and Pennsylvania streets.

As you continuing walking west on Washington Street you'll reach the entrance to Circle Centre Mall. The mall, anchored by Nordstrom and Parisian department stores, retained the facades of nine historical buildings. You'll notice the old L. S. Ayres clock still hanging on the Ayres facade as you enter Parisian at the corner of Washington and Meridian streets.

Within Circle Centre you'll find restaurants and nightclubs; a nine-screen cinema; skywalks connecting to the convention center and hotels and the Indianapolis Artsgarden, a performance, exhibition, ticketing and marketing space for the local arts community.

For regional and national blues check out the Slippery Noodle Inn. The Slippery Noodle is well-known and popular with Hoosiers. It is located at 327 S. Meridian Street near the convention center. The Chatterbox Tavern at 435 Massachusetts Avenue in the Mass Avenue arts district offers classic jazz in a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar popular with the newspaper crowd and others who appreciate good jazz.

Daytime attractions requiring a short to moderate taxicab ride include the Madame Walker Urban Life Center, The Children's Museum where you'll see adults enjoying the exhibits, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and Crown Hill Cemetery where John Dillinger, President Benjamin Harrison and Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley are buried.

There's no doubt about it, Indianapolis has come a long way from the days when the city was labeled "Naptown," the "Brickyard in the Cornfield" and "India-no-place!" I'm happy to have had the opportunity to share my city with you and hope your visit to Indianapolis will be a pleasant and memorable one.


You can reach Sandy at


Star/News Library Open House
Saturday, June 6, 5:30 PM to 9 PM

Cookies, punch and coffee will be served. Newsroom tours will be given. The last tour will start no later than 9 PM. There will be demonstrations of The Star/News website Star/News Online.

Assistant head librarian Cathy Knapp and reference librarian Beth Baker are co-chairing the open house. Those planning to attend the open house should rsvp to or call Cathy Knapp at (317)633-9487. Sandy Fitzgerald will be in Louisiana on June 6 attending her son's medical school graduation and is sorry she can not be there to greet newslibbers!

To the top.

News Division Honors Award Winners

By Teresa Leonard

This year's Annual News Division Awards Ceremony will be held Monday June 8, 1998 in Indianapolis. The site of the reception and banquet is the historic Columbia Club, a beautiful ten-story architectural showpiece located on Monument Circle. Once again, UMI has graciously agreed to sponsor a cocktail reception from 6 to 7 pm. Dinner and the presentation of the division awards will follow.

This year the division will honor Lany McDonald with the Joseph F. Kwapil Memorial Award. Recipients of the two Agnes Henebry Roll of Honor Awards will be John Cronin and John and Linda Paschal. Carol Campbell will present the Ralph Shoemaker Award of Merit to outgoing Chair Tom Lutgen.

Lany McDonald began her career as a news librarian in 1980 at The News & Observer in Raleigh NC, moving in 1993 to become director of the Time Inc. Research Center. During those years, she has been an exemplary model and mentor to news librarians. She has been and has taught us to be on the frontier of change as it is happening.

As chair of the news division's Automation and Technology Committee, Lany directed a survey of commercial database use in the US and Canada, presenting her results to the 1984 SLA annual conference and for an IFRA symposium in 1985. After serving as editor of News Library News, she became Director of Publications in 1986 and is credited with NLN's development into a well-respected publication which reflects the professionalism and intellect of the Division. In 1990, she orchestrated the Division programming for the Pittsburgh conference, which set the standard for all the conferences to follow.

At Time, Lany restructured the Research Center, expanding its capabilities and repositioning it to become a vital resource within the corporation. As Lany's staff said in nominating her for this award "She is always on the forefront of positive change. She raises the profile of her workplace and of the people she leads, as reflected in the physical and technological improvements she makes and the dynamic attitudes she encourages."

John Cronin was selected to receive the Henebry award based on his many years of service to the division. In fact, in his 22-year association with the News Division, John has held every elective office. Known to many "simply" as Cronin of Boston, John has been an unofficial ambassador for the Division, welcoming newcomers into the fold and showing them the town. Back at home, he continues to mentor news librarians by phone or through his frequent contributions to NewsLib.

John has been Chief Librarian for The Boston Herald since 1976. He is also a visiting lecturer at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, teaching courses in the Organization and Management of a Corporate Library and Current Issues in Library Administration. John is a member of Beta Phi Mu and holds degrees from St. John's Seminary and Catholic University of America.

John and Linda Paschal have a long association with the News Division both as supporters and as active participants. Their company DataTimes was honored in 1992 with the Division's Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition for support of Division activities at conference and the publication of the membership directory. The Paschals are being honored for their role in helping to usher news libraries into the electronic era. Linda been a speaker for Division programs and has worked side-by-side with news librarians nationwide converting news archives from paper or from older electronic systems. She is now affiliated with Newsbank.

This year's awards committee members were Cathy Donaldson, Carolyn Hardnett, Bob Isaacs, Paula Stevens, and Teresa Leonard, chair.

Teresa Leonard is Director, News Research at The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC.

To the top.

Doris Kearns Goodwin Helps the Social Science Division Celebrate

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winning author, social and political commentator, and baseball enthusiast, will be in Indianapolis to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Social Science Division. Ms. Goodwin will speak at an open session at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, at a luncheon, and at a special meeting of the Baseball Caucus Tuesday afternoon. All these events will be open to all conference attendees.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, recognizable by her broad smile and easy manner, is a familiar presence on public television. She appears as a regular commentator on the "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" discussing the presidency, elections and American politics. She has been a contributor to PBS documentaries on Lyndon Johnson, the Kennedys and the Roosevelts, and was the "irrational female fan" contributor to Ken Burns television series, "The History of Baseball." She appears frequently on ABC's "Nightline," and she is a regular panelist on "5 by 5," a weekly television public affairs program aired on Boston's ABC affiliate.

But Ms. Goodwin is more than a television personality. Her book "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt" won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1995. Ms. Goodwin has also written major works on other American presidents. "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys" was made into a six-hour miniseries for ABC. "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream" is an insightful look at one of America's most enigmatic presidents. Ms. Goodwin's latest book, "Wait Till Next Year, a Memoir," published last fall, has been an immediate best seller. While it is primarily the story of Ms. Goodwin's growing up years on Long Island and of her love for the Brooklyn Dodgers, it also captures the mood of a post-war America generation. That generation witnessed the introduction of television to the mass market, the McCarthy hearings, the dangers of a polio epidemic and the sorrow of racial prejudice.

As the preeminent chronicler of our immediate history, Doris Kearns Goodwin will assess our past and our future in the world and in our communities, and in the social and political structures that we have built and that will propel us into the 21st century. Please join the Social Science Division as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Our thanks to the divisions who are co-sponsoring this with us:

  • Education Division
  • Information Technology Division
  • Military Librarians Division
  • Museums, Arts and Humanities Division
  • Transportation Division

A very special thanks goes to our primary sponsor for their very generous contribution:

To the top.


By Jeff Graveline

North moved south when Lynne Palombo joined the staff of the Palm Beach Post as a reference librarian. Lynne received her MLS (MS) from Simmons College in Boston where she interned at The Boston Herald and also worked part time at Baker Library at the Harvard Business School. Lynne said of making the move from Boston to south Florida, "nobody misses the cold." Before returning to library school, Lynne worked in several mass media outlets.

After a four year hiatus to start a family, Jo Cates joined the staff of Ernst and Young, Chicago in September as Regional Research Manager at the Center for Business Knowledge. "Going back to work was a pleasure" said Jo. She manages regional research operations in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Detroit. Jo was head of the Transportation Library at Northwestern University from 1991-1994 and Chief Librarian of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies from 1985-1991. You can contact Jo at her new e-mail address:

Susan Kaufman has joined Manning, Selvage and Lee, an international public relations firm as Director of the Knowledge Center. She is in charge of the research library and the coordination of all information for the firm. She has been given the daunting task of creating the Knowledge Center from scratch and says "it will grow as big as needed" to meet our needs. She is coordinating efforts for the development of an Internet home page as well as an Intranet. Prior to joining Manning, Selvage and Lee, Susan worked at Newsweek and Time magazines.

Robert Britton was promoted to Deputy Manager of People Magazine's Research Operations department. He has been at People since 1994 and describes it as "the most fun I've ever has as a librarian." The Research Operations department is involved in all steps of the story, providing everything from spellings and dates to in-depth research. They provide research services to four magazines and have recently expanded their staff.

The Corpus Christi Caller Times added a new face in November. Jalyn Kelley (formerly Mask) joined the research staff after one year as a news researcher at the San Antonio Express-News.

The San Francisco Examiner has a new Assistant Head Librarian, Vivian Kobayahi. Vivian has been with the San Francisco Public Library, Dialog and Microsoft but the love of the Bay Area brought her back.

There has been a change in the Washington DC News Group. Ruth Leonard of The Washington Post recently took over the chair from Rob Robinson of National Public Radio.

Long time list subscriber Shannon Martin had an article published in the December 1997 issue of Communications and the Law. The article, "Online Newspapers and Public Notice Laws," explores the current and historical characteristics described by most state regulations for such terms as "newspaper of record," "official newspaper" or "legal newspaper." It also discusses the

limitations those regulations likely pose for online newspapers. Shannon is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University.

Linda Paschal, formerly Director of Information Services at UMI and co-founder of DataTimes has joined information publisher Newsbank. Linda will work with Newsbank's publishing partners and Newsbank's Director of Rights and Permissions to secure content for the company's expanding inventory of learning and research resources. She will also play a central role in support of the company's operational activities.

Alison Head's new book, Design Wise: A Computer Users Guide for Evaluating Information Resources, is being published by Information Today and is due out in early 1999. The book presents an interface design approach to evaluating resources, including CD Roms, the Web, online commercial providers and special needs software. She also published two pieces in ONLINE in the past year. Alison recently left her full time position at The Press Democrat to finish the book, write for ONLINE, teach and provide information management consulting to companies, including, most recently, Hewlett-Packard.

The Financial Post recently recognized Theresa Butcher, Chief Librarian, at the Post's annual Editorial Day. The day consists of speeches by the publisher and other worthies but the heart of the day is the Dalton Robertson Awards for Editorial Excellence. The Unsung Hero category recognizes those who contribute mightily to the Post's success but get little recognition. Theresa was presented with this year's award and it is said that she has "saved the bacon of many a reporter and editor over the years."

Two SLA members, John Bradley of the Far Eastern Economics Review, and Barbara Vandergrift of the Freedom Forum Asian Center, participated in the organizational meeting of news librarians in Hong Kong. The informal session was hosted by the Freedom Forum. Led by Barbara, the discussion focused on resource sharing in Hong Kong.

There have been a few changes at CNN. Gwinn Bruns was promoted to Library Manager at CNN's Washington D.C. bureau. Hilary Rogers joined CNN's Atlanta-based headquarters staff as a Research Librarian.

Dr. Edna Reid sends greetings from Malaysia and says she is now writing a weekly column on Internet issues in The Star in the technology section. The column runs every Tuesday and can be read at

Jeff Graveline is a librarian at The Tuscaloosa News. You can make his life easier by sending him news at

To the top.

A Modern Newspaper Embraces Its' History

By Laura Mann

"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history...."

These words, penned by Abraham Lincoln in an 1862 message to Congress, might well have been uttered by Newsday librarians and researchers in the fall of 1997, when, on September 28th, the paper began its 273-part series Long Island: Our Story. The series runs chronologically, from the Ice Age to the Space Age, and portrays the lives, legends, and lore of Long Island, from its geologic origins to the post baby-boom Generation Xers of suburbia. The series, one of Newsday's most ambitious projects to date, illustrates a largely untold story of a people and a place, a story that is still unfolding.....

Long Island: Our Story appears daily in Newsday and is divided into ten chapters, each spanning roughly one month. Chapters cover key periods in Long Island history, such as, "The Indians," "The Colonial Period," "The Birth of Suburbia," and so on. In addition, there are ten separate special sections, including a 50th anniversary tribute to Levittown, the quintessential American bedroom community. There is a 160-page special section dedicated to the histories of the 300 communities served by Newsday in Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens counties. A special tribute to Long Island sports highlights the worlds of horse racing to baseball to hockey to tennis. Another special section, "Pages of History" looks at 57 years of Newsday headlines and advertisements, and at those of other regional newspapers dating back to 1791.

Long Island has been home to giants of literature, politics, entertainment, and industry. Walt Whitman, Billy Joel, Jerry Seinfeld, Susan Isaacs, Teddy Roosevelt, and Rosie O'Donnell have all lived here. However, the people behind the scenes - the workers, the inventors, the families, the commuters, are also spotlighted. Newsday researchers unearthed diaries, letters, and photos otherwise forgotten. For example, the journal of Christopher Vail, found at the Library of Congress, was reprinted, providing a glimpse of 18th century adventure. Vail was a Sag Harbor teenager who enlisted in the Patriot's cause during the Revolution, joined in whaleboat raids, and eventually ended up surviving a stint on a notorious prison ship. Other first-hand accounts include that of a Colonial housewife, and the personal family reminiscences solicited from the paper's readership. Long Island: Our Story has outlined many of the glories of Long Island's past, without glossing over shamefu! l parts of this heritage: slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, corruption, etc.

Work on the Long Island: Our Story series began over two years ago, and has involved editorial, research, library, photo, and electronic media personnel. The Editorial Library has been impacted in many ways as a result of what we call, the history project.

Georgina Martorella, who has an MBA and an MLS, is the editorial researcher on the project. Gina came to Newsday's Editorial Library as an intern several years ago, and has worked on special assignments ever since. Her first task was to organize a system for the vast paper files and over 600 books that would eventually accumulate. Gina worked one-on-one with reporters and editors to assemble a first rate collection of sources. Using ACCESS and MSWord software, she developed systems to keep track of contact names, books owned and borrowed, local experts, and profiles of area historic collections. Gina often had to trek to obscure local collections to pore over dusty and fragile documents. Her most valuable assets in this undertaking have been the connections she has made with over 250 history experts, librarians and teachers. Gina's experience with the project has been rewarding. She enjoyed, working closely with writers, becoming deeply involved with and gaining an u! nderstanding of the challenging process of writing.

Kathy Sweeney, Newsday's Chief Photo Librarian, drew on her 26 years of combined experience at Newsday and at the Denver Post to coordinate the project's photo research. Photos were acquired from many sources: libraries, museums, archives, readers, and from Newsday's own vast collection. A separate MediaSphere database was set up to house the project's 2,400 photos, which were entered using flatbed scanners. Kathy spent many hours ensuring that credits, captions, and permissions were all in order. In fact, securing permissions for newspaper, website, book and television use became a critical part of the job. Kathy sees her efforts as contributing to a community service oriented project.

Newsday's Editorial Librarians have also aided with research into our permanent collection of old newsclips, microfilm, vertical files and local history books. The series has been enthusiastically received by the public. Newsday's 2FINDOUT research service, based in our library, has been barraged with calls from teachers, students and others with requests for reprints of stories and special sections.

As the initial project winds to a close, Newsday plans to publish three books, including a local tour book. Other ideas are still in the works. In the meantime, Long Island: Our Story can be accessed through its own website at This site is separate, but linked to Newsday's online newspaper's site at

Research on the project has brought our staff a deeper understanding of the communities we serve. In the words of one Newsday editor, "History is a continuum that affects our lives every day and helps explain today's headlines."

Laura Mann is a reference librarian at Newsday. You may contact her at

To the top.

Look Out, It's More Progress!

By Michael Jesse

Some months ago a local filmmaker spent several days at our paper making a documentary about technological advances at newspapers. He was in our library part of that time filming our staff doing various high-tech things like working with electronic photos, searching the Internet and so on.

For contrast he took some footage of the rows of old clip file cabinets in our storage room, opening lots of drawers and pulling out files askew to make a better visual of how things were in the bad old days. Back upstairs among power Macs and high-end printers he spread his arms and effused, "isn't this is just SO much better?"

Well sure, I said - for the most part. But there were tradeoffs. The old manual systems had many good features which haven't entirely been translated into our electronic systems. But I could tell my interviewer wasn't interested in this part and he seemed relieved when I got back to intranets and e-mail and PDFs.

I don't want to sound like a Luddite here. I like my computers. I wouldn't want to give them up. Most of my pet projects depend on them. And yet there are times when I am reminded of some of what we lost along the way -- often without realizing it. For example:

Control of the work

About once every two weeks we have a Bad Technology Day. This is when every system seems to act up at the same time for unrelated reasons. No one knows why -- it's like the weather. In fact, one recent problem turned out to have been caused by El Nino. Certain files weren't coming through our HTML gateway and I spent half a day tracing the problem. It turned out that the tilde over the "n" in "Nino" was not being filtered correctly.

It seems every librarian I talk to at any paper complains about technology and the technology "workarounds" we now live with. And periodically we have to scramble to develop a new workaround for an old workaround which doesn't work anymore because someone in the Systems Department upgraded something last night.

Technology problems are so frustrating because we have so little control over them. Even when you have identified the problem and the solution you may wait quite a while for your Systems people to get far enough down on their list of priorities before they reach the library. And of course you'll wait even longer if the issue is not fixing a bug but adding a desired feature.

At least in the bad old days of clip files the technology was pretty much under our control.

My screen isn't big enough for this

One thing I miss about clips is how you could spread a dozen or more all out on a tabletop and easily distinguish at a glance which were major, lengthy stories and which were of lesser importance.

In electronic text archives, every headline looks the same whether it is "Quilt Club notes" or "President resigns." And you can only view a small portion of one story at a time (okay, maybe two stories if you can open multiple windows).

Hierarchical tidiness

I'm going to risk public ridicule by saying I think we lost something of value when we tossed out our hierarchical subject headings when we went electronic. Behemoths though they were, those elaborate indexing systems provided a structure which was not entirely replaced in our current systems. I have heard several librarians (at different papers) say, "with the old system I know exactly where this would be." Hierarchies provide an order of broad/narrow relatedness, and they can therefore be used effectively as invisible searches behind hypertext links. If you subscribe to IAC InSite ( take a look at how the topic hierarchies are imbedded into stories as links. It's a good idea, but -- oops -- we can't do it anymore.

Discarding image "data"

In our electronic image archive we save all the newly published images at 180 dpi, which is twice the resolution we need for newsprint. But when we scan historic images we crank it up to 300 in case we ever want to print it in a book.

The obvious question, of course, is what happens when today's ordinary image become tomorrow's historic one. Will we have saved enough data?

Actually on this front we will probably be rescued by advances in Postscript ratios, or by the resolution potential of digital cameras, but if so it will be because we were lucky not because we made wise choices.

But digital cameras presented us with another risk of loss because there are no negatives. At Dayton, we're dealing with that by pressing our own CDs of all photographers' work, but we were lucky to have that option. I say it is luck because the forces behind our technological advances are not usually fueled by a desire for better archiving. The push toward digital cameras, for example, is mostly about saving money on photographic costs. How photography is affected is secondary -- and how archiving is affected isn't even in the equation. If your publisher can save $400,000 a year in film processing costs he will not be moved by your feelings about archiving negatives.

What's next?

Now that newspapers are on the web we're seeing some conflicts between standard archives and website archiving. Even if you have a complete subscription-based version of your archive on the web - with updates and corrections as part of your nightly vendor uploads - your website people will still find it tempting to do some "archiving" of their own. This means letting "daily" news accumulate on the free portion of the newspaper's website so there is more content to be found by search engine spiders, thereby increasing hit-count which drives ad rates. (Think of it as the modern equivalent of using NIE to drive circulation numbers). Since the web boys aren't bothering with corrections or keywording or even completeness their "archiving" is more automated than yours and your publisher may not understand the difference.

Even when the primary objective is building a web-based archive system there is considerable risk that you will lose features which you now consider standard. Most developers of web-based archive systems don't know much about news archiving. Worse, they don't know that they don't know. So they build systems which leave out many of the structure and features which we have had in our proprietary archives for the past decade.

For example, I know of a case in which a well-known web-development company set up a newspaper archive, but filtered out the correction field as "unessential." At the same site, headlines were displayed in a portion of the page which was not accessed by the search engine, making them unsearchable. When apprised of these issues by the librarian, the web developer was surprised that either of these issues was considered a problem.

With any new step in technology we have to educate a new generation of whiz kids who think they know about archiving. And we'll need to defend features which we want any new system to retain. Otherwise someday we'll be wistfully recalling, "Hey, remember when we used to be able to search by headline and lead?"

Michael Jesse is Library Director at the Dayton Daily News.

To the top.

Lessons from Poynter

By Jennifer Small

"News Libraries: Leadership for the 21st Century." The title of the program told us little about what to expect. Sixteen of us arrived in St. Petersburg, FL the second week in February with different ideas and varied experiences. Over the course of the week, however, our similarities began to outweigh our differences. Collectively, we were inspired by the tales the conference professors told. We were motivated by the enthusiasm that characterized the group as a whole. In the end, our eyes were opened to the possibilities that exist for news librarianship in the 21st century. News librarians have the opportunity to make a difference. By embracing change and taking risks, we can become more important players in the newsroom.

The lessons I drew from Poynter follow:

Be leaders.

News librarians have the opportunity to participate at many levels

in the news creation process. Seize these opportunities. At the reporting level, researchers should offer more than background information or fact checking. Help reporters generate story ideas. When reporters are not on deadline, don't continue to serve answers to them. Rather, lead journalists to the information sources that will help them. Training provides an excellent opportunity to play a larger role in the newsroom.

At the design level, work more closely with graphics. Volunteer to write information graphics to add context to a story or help coordinate the workflow between the newsroom and the art department if you notice a problem. News librarians are in the position to view the whole picture. Take advantage of this ability to view the whole and become a communication agent in your newsroom.

Take the time to understand the production side of publication. Knowing the workflow, may help you streamline your own archiving processes. Online production is also increasingly important. Nora Paul noted during the conference that some of the most poorly organized web sites are newspaper online sites. Use your skills as an organizer of information to play a role in this growing side of the business.

Be proactive.

News librarians cannot afford to play a secondary role in the newsroom. Seize your leadership opportunities and be confident in your knowledge as an information professional. Go to both budget and project meetings and speak up! Offer story ideas or point out areas where research could add both context and depth to the reporting. Too often the News Research department is called to participate when a story is already written. Why not get involved from the beginning?

In addition, develop a working partnership with reporters. Pay attention to what reporters do and make sure they understand what you do. At the Star Ledger, M.J. Crowley calls her employees "information coaches." As coaches, the researchers impart skills and offer encouragement to reporters. They do not simply serve up information. By showing reporters both where and how to find information, researchers are also teaching reporters to be better customers. The relationship should be built on equal levels of respect. Adopt the coach mentality and journalists may be willing to see you as more of a partner.

Be innovative.

As you take on new roles in the newsroom, be creative in your approach. Take advantage of your technological expertise to deliver information more effectively throughout both the newsroom and the company. Use intranets, for example, to package your information products. Develop links that trace the chronology of some big local news stories. Create biography boxes for prominent community personalities. Link in-house databases to your intranet. Make cheat sheets available online. Develop topical research pathfinders that link reporters to in-house reference tools, archived stories, and relevant web sites. Post notices of meetings, training sessions or training tips. Examine web

sites and annotate those sites to facilitate use. Make your newsroom rely on this tool. Intranets provide an excellent means of sharing resources, communicating more effectively, and increasing the accessibility of information.

Be daring.

Don't be afraid to redefine your role and change your mode of operations. Analyze the workflow in your own department. Archiving is crucial but can your operation be streamlined? Are your resources being used effectively?

Move into the newsroom. Demonstrate on a daily basis how important you are. Use training as a means of becoming more visible in the newsroom. Determine the training needs of your clients by talking to reporters and editors or administering a survey. Develop a program to meet those needs. Get support from upper management. Through training, the News Research department will be giving the newsroom the tools it will need to remain competitive in the coming years.

There are always uncertainties when one looks to the future. We can safely assume, however, that technology and information will continue to dominate in the year 2000 and beyond. News librarians, therefore, with their technological expertise and their grasp of information resources, will continue to play an important role. Step into that role. Be proactive, be innovative, be daring - be leaders!


Jennifer Small is a Reference Librarian at the San Antonio Express-News. Her email is

To the top.

Advanced Intranet Design the Subject of Winter CE Class

By Rhonda Oziel

To the sounds of Cuban music on Saturday morning, January 24, 1998 Sperry Kreuger, News Division Education Chair, introduced Howard McQueen who presented the News Division's first CE course presented outside the Annual Meeting. The course was titled "Advanced Intranet Development for News Libraries." McQueen, CEO of McQueen Consulting, was assisted by Jean DiMatteo, Peter LePoer, and Brian Boehm. McQueen has presented other SLA programs but this was his first for the News Division.

McQueen Consulting is no stranger to news organizations. For ABC News, it designed a system that provides access to CD-ROMs via ABC's internetwork. CD-ROM databases are mounted in New York and available throughout New York headquarters and bureaus in London and Washington, DC. McQueen Consulting has also done projects for the Los Angeles Times Editorial Library and for Newsweek's Research Center.

The goal of the Intranet, McQueen states, is to make relevant information easily available to the end user via a web browser as the "universal client" using html and html gateways, helper applications for non-html documents, and java-based applications. McQueen used the case study approach to guide students through the possibilities available for a news library intranet. Case studies presented were: Web-Enabling Databases, Building an Experts Database, IntraNet-Enabling Full-Text Searching of Internal Publications, Running CD ROMs from a Hyperlink on a Web Page, and the Library "Killer App": A Web-Based Reference Request System. Everything McQueen covered, and more, is contained in the only handout, a 175-page workbook.

Web-Enabling Databases

This case study discussed the tools needed to deliver structured relational databases to an HTML browser. These databases, McQueen said, could be existing databases such as library catalogs. McQueen described tools such as Cold Fusion, Sapphire/Web and databases such as Oracle and Sybase. He described how Cold Fusion, a tool that integrates HTML with databases, is used to allow end-users to search a database without the user ever knowing that the information was stored in a structured database not in HTML. According to McQueen, the latest technology to web-enable databases is Microsoft Active Server Pages. This software is browser independent and all of the computer code is in a script running on a web server. Active Server Pages combine pure HTML and server scripts.

Building an Experts Database

For this case study, an ASCII file with a list of people's names, email addresses and areas of expertise was located and downloaded on the Internet. The data in the file was then imported into a structured database such as Microsoft Access and Active Server Page scripts were written. The scripts allow a user to complete an HTML data entry form which then takes the user's entry and queries the Experts Database. The search results are then returned to the web browser formatted in HTML. NICAR offers an Active Server Page tutorial. McQueen also demonstrated how this system could be written so that the experts in the database could update their own records.

IntraNet-Enabling Full-Text Searching of Internal Publications McQueen described how to convert in-house publications into PDF (portable document format) or HTML using Quark Express and Adobe Systems. This case study was cut short when it was discovered that many of our colleagues had been converting the full text of their publications for a very long time.

Running CD ROMs from a Hyperlink on a Web Page

McQueen described how to use Citrix Systems' WinFrame Client and Application Server to access Windows applications such as CD ROMS. Each application, a CD-ROM for example, is installed on the Application Server which is connected to a web server. The Winframe Client is loaded onto each user's PC. Using hyperlinks on a Web page, a user can automatically launch a CD-ROM and begin a search. Only the screen changes are sent to the user. That is, the CD ROM seems to be running on the user's PC but it is actually being executed on the WinFrame Application Server, Pretty nifty! Our colleagues thought so.

Library "Killer App"

A Web-Based Reference Request System. McQueen described a web-based reference system his company created for the US West library. The system allows end users to register for personal web pages. They can initiate reference requests. Researchers and end users collaborate with events and search results can be posted to the user's personal web page. There is a facility for researchers to "post" time spent as it occurs, allowing for a system of "charge-backs" for the researchers' time. All of the completed reference requests are archived to searchable knowledge database. This "killer app" has increased the library's visibility and the searchable knowledge database has put end users in touch with each other. Our colleagues oohed and aahed over this application, too.

After the case studies were presented McQueen talked about design standards for an Intranet home page and Intranet search engines. The workbook shows an example of Corporate Library Home page. McQueen advised changing the IntraNet home page frequently. This way, you "create a culture everyday!" check out the following design resources for web pages: Guide to Web Style; Web Site Usability: A Designer's Guide; Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide, and HTML Goodies: The Master List.

If you are going to have a useable Intranet site, it should have a reliable search engine, McQueen states. He advises buying a tool that employs boolean and natural language processing and one that automates and dynamically maintains your knowledge database with minimal labor. By the time McQueen reached the topic of search engines many of our colleagues were beginning to lose altitude. But this reporter was excited about the topic because, here at BNA, we are examining search engines to use internally on our own publications and other corporate information.

The content of "Advanced Intranet Development for News Libraries" may nothave been the program everyone was expecting. I, for one, came away with a few good ideas and lots to think about. And I would guess that the easy to read power point slides, the lively presentation, and the musicalinterludes of Cuban music, Loretta McKenna, and Ry Cooder Buena Vista Social Club, all in all made for a successful day.

Rhonda Oziel is a former BNA Library reference librarian who now serves as BNA's internal web maven.

To the top.

In Case You Missed It...

The Association of Research Libraries puts out the Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists. Now in its 7th edition, the directory has grown substantially. In 1991, the first edition listed 27 e-journals of which 7 were peer-reviewed and two charged a fee for access. The current edition lists 1,465 e-journals of which 1,002 are peer-reviewed and 780 charge in some manner for access. Discussion groups include such gems as SSIN-L for the Small Islands Information Network e-conference and HARVEY-L, a discussion list of Paul Harvey's news commentaries and "best of the rest" stories. It would be a great source for reporters wishing to see if there is a discussion group covering their beat.

Jerry Brown at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found an interesting website on critical thinking and evaluating Internet sources. Check it out for an excellent bibliography complied by a librarian at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

You can still get "Today's Papers" on Slate for free. Microsoft's e-zine of political commentary started charging in March, but the daily column comparing the headlines of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today is still free. If you subscribe to Slate for $19.95 (and this is not an advertisement) the column will be delivered to your e-mail address. It's fun to read and interesting to see how the major dailies play the big stories of the day.

Colleen Allen at the Washington Post likes CEO Express. Designed to help the busy executive quickly navigate the Internet, the site is divided into linked sections like Daily News, Custom News, Newsfeeds, Government Agencies, Law, Investing & IPO Research, Essential Downloads, Reference, and many more. It'll even take you to "Golf Search" and "Car Talk" - two essentials for any businessperson.

News Library News
SLA News Division Home

The page was reformatted on 4/14/03. The content, including URLs and contact information, on this page has not been updated to preserve the historical record.

Comments about News Library News should go to the editor.
Comments about the Web site should go to the Webmaster: