Thursday, September 04, 2003

Bates Task Force 2.3 Review

A few days ago, I mentioned the Bates Task Force 2.3 Review. I've now had the chance to read it, and it was well worth the time spent.

Something new to me was the 1:30 ratio humans like when dealing with information. When looking at a short title list we like to see about 30 times more information when we select an item. Some examples from the report:

  • A book title is 1/30 the length of the TOC.
  • The TOC is 1/30 the back index.
  • An abstract is 1/30 the length of the item
Interesting and important for the developers of OPACs.

In the initial Library catalog screen (p. 44) "Browse Library Classification system" is an option. Yes. We have the LC classification in MARC. Present folks with a tree structure of the scheme and let them drill down. Have it searchable and linked to the LSCH records. If a patron searches planet Mars they should receive a link to QB641.

I'm not sure most users would understand the co-indexing function. Perhaps a better wording or catch phrase would help. My eyes were glazing over reading the description at the bottom of page 45.

The suggestion that institutions try to bring order to one bibliographical family (or work in FRBR terms) sounds workable. It could have some useful results and the effort would be valid research.

Cluster vocabularies are an interesting idea. Not sure, that basing one on a commercial product is the way to go. The work of Lee and Dubin might offer some options for automation of the process.

Bates provides Amazon as a model for access. While they have done many things right there are other bibliographic databases that are innovative and deserve mention. The NASA Astrophysical Data Service, I feel, would be a better model.

This is an interesting and important report, worth reading all 50+ pages. It should be required for all cataloging classes.

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