School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Online Vol. 17

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Printed, online, and CD-ROM indexing and abstracting publications are familiar reference tools in libraries. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recognizes 3 types of abstracts: 1. indicative or descriptive, 2. informative, and 3. combination (indicative and informative). The quality of the abstracts in 3 major CD-ROM general periodical indexes that contain abstracts - Reader's Guide Abstracts, Resource-One, and Magazine Article Summaries - was tested using quantitative or objective tests to provide a generalized view of quality. The abstracts were examined for: 1. consistency of style and readability, 2. the extent to which the ANSI standard was observed, and 3. informativeness. Readability was determined using Grammatik-IV software. The results indicate that the abstracts of Resource-One are the easiest to read, but the Reader's Guide abstracts, with an average of 110 words, most closely match the ANSI standards for recommended length (100 to 250 words). The Reader's Guide was also judged the most informative, with 81% of its abstracts of the informative type.

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