IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: K10/M3

Advertise Your Wares! Use HTML and Perl to Create New Materials Lists and Attract Customers

Yuan Yao, Head of Cataloging, Georgetown University Law Library

Katherine Johnson, Head of Technical Services, California Institute of Technology

Yuan Yao began the presentation by listing some uses of html lists. They included: new acquisitions, journal titles, recommended readings, and award winning titles.

Innovative does offer the feature list functions but they are limited to title listings. HTML lists can be organized by subject, author, title, call number, academic program, fund location, etc. These lists can then be linked by record number to the title, bib record, call number, OCLC number, ISBN/ISSN, and numerous other fields.

At Georgetown Law Library Yuan arranges the HTML list by main subject heading. These lists are then linked to the OPAC by the OCLC number. A Java script is used to perform word and phrase searches in the page.

Yuan noted that the Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language) programming language's claim to fame is text file manipulation. With very little effort most people can decipher a Perl script without taking a Perl class. In order to make use of Perl scripts you need to have the Perl Compiler, a script, and an input file. The compiler is available for many platforms (Windows, NT, Unix, Linux, VMS, etc.) and can be downloaded from the ActivePerl Site.

There are several things that can (and will) go wrong when running Perl scripts. Yuan noted some of the problems which can end up with an empty html file are: variances in field labels, fields missing from the input file, and the script and input file not in the same directory.

A sample of the Georgetown Law Library new acquisition list can be found at: http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/cat/newbooks/booklist.html (that's w w w dot el el -) A copy of Mr. Yao's presentation can be found at: http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/cat/perl/list.htm


The California Institute of Technology has eliminated print lists. The costs of compiling, reproducing, and distributing the lists were becoming prohibitive and were very time consuming. Beginning 1997 they started to streamline the process and use technology as a current awareness tool for Public Services. Perl scripts have greatly speeded up the processing of the lists.

Kathy reported that at CIT the call number is the main sorting point and the lists are broken down by building and by type of record. Currently they produce daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Daily lists are run by catalogers and include journal issues received. These lists are based on the checkin record information. Weekly lists have the analytics run against the call numbers in the bib records and include both journal and book listings. Monthly acquisition lists are run separately for each of the five campus libraries. These lists are customized to meet each library's varying wants and needs.

Kathy noted that the daily journal lists are retained for 30 days. The weekly lists are retained only until the next list is produced and they currently have the monthly lists for three years.

CIT began using Perl scripts with their November 1999 lists. Lists are FTP'd out of their INNOPAC and run against Perl scripts to create html files. Once the lists are completed librarians are notified of their availability via e-mail.

Samples of CIT's lists can be found at: http://library.caltech.edu/techservices/new/newmaterials.htm. A copy of Kathy's presentation can be found at: http://library.caltech.edu/techservices/iug/iug2001.htm

Keven Riggle, Marquette University Libraries