Web Magazine for Information Professionals

PICK: Library and Information Science Resources on the Internet

In 1995, the Thomas Parry Library, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, won funding for PICK, a project to build a gateway to quality resources in the LIS field. Here, Andrew Cox describes this gateway, and reviews the project's achievements at the end of the first year.

The Electronic Documentation Project is funded by the HEFC (Wales) as part of funding for specialist research collections in the humanities. It is based in Thomas Parry Library (formerly the ILS library) which is closely associated with the internationally respected Department of Information and Library Studies, UWA. The broad purpose of the project is to ‘collect’ (in some sense) Internet Resources in our field; integrate them into the existing collection and promote their use. Our core users are the students and staff of DILS, but potentially our Internet collection is of interest to any librarian or information worker.

The rationale of the project is simple: given that the library collects LIS material in all formats from books to videos to slides it is bound to explore collecting material published on the Internet too. Much of the information available on the Internet is only available there. Some services, such as journal indexes complement our existing collection. At the moment most services are free. The Internet also has the advantage of offering 24 hour, remote access. So for our increasing population of distance learners part of our collection becomes accessible. This will be supplemented by more and more in house databases and publications that the library plans to put on the Web. In turn there are many gains to the project from being based in a specialist library: immediate access to the latest printed publications and detailed knowledge of the information needs of a specific user community (eg from CAS profiles).

The project’s first target was to produce a library homepage (URL http://www.aber.ac.uk/~tplwww). We then moved on to creating PICK, a gateway to quality Internet resources in library and information science (URL http://www.aber.ac.uk/~tplwww/e/). This is a subject directory rather in the style of SOSIG and OMNI, filtering for quality, organising resources by subject, highlighting the best resources.

the PICK icon

Resource Discovery

Resource discovery is a long term, on-going enterprise. We have made some systematic searches (using Alta Vista and Lycos and the broad subject trees). We have looked at existing collections of LIS resources on the Internet. E-mail lists such as Web4lib, PACS, Nettrain and of course Lis-link are valuable for announcements of latest resources. The printed literature is also useful eg Computers in libraries, Electronic Libraries, Database; as well as Web based alerting services such as Herriot Watt’s Internet Resources Newsletter, and the Web version of IIS’ Inform.


The dominant factor governing how we select resources is simply content. We are looking for substantial, current information. We naturally emphasise UK based resources, but draw on relevant services from any part of the World. Design of the resources for easy access eg availability of a site specific search engine is an important but secondary criterion in selecting material.


E-mail conferences, telnet access to library catalogues, BUBL are established and recognised Internet resources in the LIS field. But there are an impressive array of new resources. Some idea of the scope of the subjects covered by PICK is apparent from the contents displayed on the index page, for example:

We have tried to illustrate the depth of information available on some servers by outline reviews of some of the main servers, some National libraries, IFLA, NISS, BUBL. We have tried to put as much added value into our pages as possible, from annotating lists to producing in depth reviews of important resources.


We have divided the resources into broad recognisable subject areas, and all accessed from the main index page, rather than via a complex hierarchy; in addition there is a subject search capability (using Glimpse on a manually created index), a site map and a what’s new page.

Promotion and integration

Many of our pages are designed to be printed out so that the user can have a hard copy to read. They are in the style of library resource sheets, and are available in the library in printed form. We have always tried to integrate printed references with online resources, so stressing that the Internet is just one among a number of potential sources for a particular topic.
A series of library displays have explored different ways of promoting and integrating Internet resources with existing collections.

Continuing issues

The Internet is in a constant state of flux, new resources appearing, old resources moving, changing, disappearing, while the client software itself is continuously evolving. Part of producing a quality service is keeping our information current and accurate by continous checking.

Changes in the client software are both an opportunity and a problem for the Web designer. They are an opportunity to improve the visual appeal and functionality of Web pages. But they threaten also to obscure the message in glossy presentation, and to disenfranchise users with text only browsers or older versions of Netscape, say. The emphasis in the project has always been on promoting access to information, rather than producing glossy logos and images. Many of these site management issues will be relieved when we start using the software developed by ROADS, hopefully in the near future.

Work in hand

The project has recently won funding for a second year, current work in hand includes: We invite Ariadne readers to visit and explore PICK, URL http://www.aber.ac.uk/~tplwww/e/ and contact us with general comments or suggestions of resources to add.

Andrew Cox amc@aber.ac.uk

Thomas Parry Library
University of Wales
Llanbadarn Fawr
SY23 3AS