6.0142 Q: E-library Catalogues and Difficult Searches (1/57)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 20 Jul 1992 12:23:23 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0142. Monday, 20 Jul 1992.

Date: Fri, 17 Jul 92 13:41:59 EDT
From: junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu (Peter D. Junger)
Subject: Electronic library catalogues and unreadable searches

Here at Case Western Reserve University they have just put a new
electronic library catalogue on line, which is known as Euclid Plus,
that uses the Innopac (as I believe it is called) software. Although
the new catalogue is not fully operational (and certainly has not been
debugged) the University has gotten rid of its old electronic catalogue,
which was called Euclid, that used Geac (or something like that)
machines and was pretty useless, since it had no authority control and
did not allow any Boolean searching.

So far my opinion is that the new catalogue is a great
improvement, except for one little detail that makes it almost unusable.

The problem is that if one records (or, as Procomm Plus puts it,
logs) one's search to a file on one's computer--whether one accesses the
new catalogue directly through telnet or indirectly over telephone lines
using a modem--the resulting record will be filled with VT102 (ANSI)
escape codes, which are used to draw boxes and control the appearance of
the screen, and will have hardly any carriage returns or line feeds.

The result is that the record is to all intents and purposes
unreadable and uneditable by non-mechanical means. (On an MSDOS machine
_with ANSI.SYS loaded in the CONFIG.SYS file_ the file looks all right
if it is output to the screen with the TYPE command.) I am now writing
a filter which I hope will interpret and remove the escape sequences, so
that the resulting file will be readable and contain nothing but
printable ASCII characters, spaces, carriage returns, and line feeds.

Our library has told me that in thirty days--they later
changed that to three days, but the three days are up--they will have a
solution to this problem. The solution is to make something called
Procite available as part of the electronic catalogue. As they describe
Procite it allows one to download information to one's local PC in
selected bibliographical formats. That would be a very nice option and
would certainly make the system more usable, but I do not believe that
it will allow a user to keep a readable record of the wild goose chases
one makes while searching through a library catalogue. (What one
records is, after all, the flow of characters that are being sent to
one's PC, and that includes the escape codes that cause the problem.)

So I have a couple of questions:

1.) Have others had this trouble with other Innopac machines?

2.) If so, is there a solution to the problem?

a.) If so, is the solution Procite?

b.) Or is it a filter program like the one I am

c.) Or what?

Peter D. Junger

Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, OH