Friday, September 27, 2002

Metatags

An End to Metatags (Enough Already) by Andrew Goodman. pt.1, pt.2
My recent editorial about metatags generated some helpful reader responses. My basic point still holds. Metadata as currently structured, in the context of a non-ideal world, is open to spam and deception, and most search engines give meta tags very little weight. The overworked site owner would probably find it a relief to simply stop using meta keywords and possibly descriptions entirely.

Structured Data

Here is an article written for the Web folks that discusses the advantages of having data in fields as opposed to free text. Harmonizing Search and Content Management by Carl Sutter.
A CMS can significantly improve site searches by normalizing (and even automatically generating) Meta information such as key words, page titles, content descriptions, structured asset descriptors, categories, and so forth. The result is improved site searches for your visitors, potentially improved Internet search engine rankings (Search Engine Optimization), and reduced cost and effort on your part to add these features to your site.

Sound Card

Here is a free tool to test your sound card. The RightMark Audio Analyzer 4.0 tests the audio performance of your sound card. Frequency response, THD, dynamic range, noise level, stereo crosstalk tests.

MS Outlook

If you are stuck using MS Outlook, here is a nifty tool. DialRight For Outlook will scan your entire Outlook contact list and inform you of how many area codes need to be updated. It does not fix them. With all the new area codes appearing this could come in handy.

LITA National Forum

The LITA National Forum will soon take place here in Houston. Here are some ideas for things away from the conference:
  • Contra dance. There is a dance Sat. evening. All are welcome.
  • International Dance. There is a dance Fri. evening. This is for those who know the dances.
The symphony, opera and ballet are all off that week. A shame. If you desire more information on Houston just drop me a line.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Personality of Catalogers?

Here is an interesting survey, Personality Characteristics of the Information Profession. It takes 30 or so minutes to complete the survey, so I'm not sure I'll take the time. I would be interested in the results.

Serials

The results of the CONSER Aggregator Survey are available. There was an overwhelming "Yes" to the question "Should CONSER create a single record for titles in aggregations?"

Cataloging

Core Concepts in Cataloging at the Fritz Library at the University of North Dakota are a nice succinct summary of Cutter, Ranganathan, and FRBR.

MARC Tools

Nathan Denny has kindly released as public domain the projects he has been working on. There is a program to manipulate MARC records, another to convert them into RDF/DC, a Z39.50 tool and more. They are written in Python (I've been hearing than name more often, maybe it is something worth looking into.) Thanks Matthew Eberle, of Library Techlog for pointing to this.

Safe Computing

The default setting for an account in XP is administrator. It would be safer for the machine and the rest of the Internet to run on a user level. Good advise from the Screensavers.

Koha

Koha 1.3.0 has been released. This release marks the beginning of public development and testing of the MARC compliant Koha we've been looking forward to. As the 1.3 releases stabilize and reach feature completion, they will become Koha 1.4.

This is an alpha quality release only. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE IT IN PRODUCTION SYSTEMS It may cause data corruption or loss, it may confuse patrons, it may cause books to refile themselves in strange places. IT SHOULD BE USED FOR TESTING ONLY. (I hope that's clear enough.) If you are want to use Koha in a production setting, please stick with the stable 1.2 release until the 1.3 series stabilizes enough for us to create Koha 1.4.0.

Significant new features in this release include:

  • Data is stored natively in a MARC based format.
  • Multiple flavors of MARC are supported.
  • Enhanced API supports both the new MARC format and the older Koha specific format.

Please note though, that from a users perspective, this release should look just like a 1.2 series release. All of the work so far has been in redesigning the data format and extending the API. User visible changes will be included once the infrastructure has stabilized.

It is also important to note that the simple acquisition system is currently broken. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT USING IT. The full acquisition system works correctly.

Paul Poulain
1.4 Release manager
the Koha project

Pat Eyler
Kaitiaki/manager
the Koha project

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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

MarcEdit

There is a service pack available for this tool.
The first Service Pack (SP) for MarcEdit 4.1 is now available for download. The SP introduces no new features, but instead, fixes a number of minor and one not so minor issue with the application. The most critical problem that this SP address is a bug that Microsoft introduced into Windows 2000 with the release of SP 3. After speaking with Microsoft, they have acknowledged that they have introduced a bug into the windows RichEdit component. So how does this affect MarcEdit? Well, MarcEdit utilizes the RichEdit in the MarcEditor.

Titles

Here is a field I was unaware of until recently: 242 Translation of Title by Cataloging Agency. OCLC documentation. We can translate the tile to provide better access to these items. This is not for parallel titles but a translation done by the person cataloging the item. I sometimes need a field brought to my attention. Thanks Dr. Joanna Fountain for making me notice this one.

Technology

Use the toolkit at Monitors Direct to check the performance of your monitor. Free. No software to install or download.

Career Development

If I was young and single, I'd look into this, Exchanging Jobs. "We are a free matching service for people who work in libraries and the information field. Our specialties include one-day job shadowing and job exchanges that can last for days, weeks, or even months." The job shadowing might be useful for someone considering entering the field or in school and trying to decide on an area.

Monday, September 23, 2002

RSS 2.0

Missed this standard update when it happened last week. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Summary) now has a new version, RSS 2.0. RSS 0.9X is on a seperate track and may become RSS 3.0 at some point in time. It does not look like the two protocals are going to merge.

Houston Area

The University of North Texas School of Library and Information Science is having an alumni gathering Friday evening, October 4. Prospective students are also invited.

I like my alma mater. It has been innovative in delivering MLS education to remote areas. I took the extension courses here in Houston. I had been driving 150 miles each way every Sat. to Austin before UNT began the extension courses. Now they offer on-line courses and real-time classes at distributed sites. They are doing interesting work on Z39.50. If interested in the get together, drop me a note and I'll put you in touch with the organizers.

Information Access

My wife uses a handheld as a replacement for her Franklin Planner. I get by fine with my old Timex Data Link. This past weekend I was messing with her PDA and installed AvantGO on it and selected Catalogablog as my channel. It worked rather nicely. It did download all the links from the left side of the page, which were useless but the text was clear and readable. The links did not work, since this was a download not a WIFI connection.

This would be a nice way to keep up with 'blogs, news sites, any Web site that changes on a regular basis. Maybe this is common knowledge to PDA users but it was an "AHA" moment to me. We might want to design or redesign sites to display better on these devices. For example, if I placed the link lists on the right side of my 'blog then they should show after the postings. (Maybe someday, but not soon) Less scrolling for the user. What other uses and considerations should be made for the PDA user?

Web Standards

Library Techlog pointed out this useful tool for standards compliant Web pages. The Demoroniser cleans up MS-only codes.
Western language HTML documents are written in the ISO 8859-1 Latin-1 character set, with a specified set of escapes for special characters. Blithely ignoring this prescription, as usual, Microsoft use their own "extension" to Latin-1, in which a variety of characters which do not appear in Latin-1 are inserted in the range 0x82 through 0x95--this having the merit of being incompatible with both Latin-1 and Unicode, which reserve this region for additional control characters.

Book Sales

This is from Library News Daily. The California State Library's Rural Initiative is pleased to present a free, interactive webcast and videoconference on Maximizing Library Book Sales. The program will take place from 10am - noon (Pacific time) on Thursday, September 26. It does require registration.

Open Archives Initiative

OCLC's XtCat available through OAI-PMH. The Experimental Thesis Catalog is now available for OAI-PMH v2 harvesting from the baseURL. This repository contains 4.3 million thesis and dissertation records extracted from OCLC's WorldCat Database and is available in oai_dc and NDLTD's oai_etdms formats. A subset of about 8000 electronic theses and dissertations is available by specifying the set "ETD". From the OAI Web site.

Serial Subscription Information

Aggregation of serials in databases has created problems for the description and access to serial titles for libraries. NIOS has been studying the problem and has a description of the problem in the white paper The Exchange of Serials Subscription Information by Ed Jones.
Over thirty organizations were surveyed representing serials aggregators, library consortia, vendors of integrated library systems, STM publishers, and serials subscription agents. In parallel, NISO invited the library community-at-large to participate in a web-based survey on this matter.