Friday, August 30, 2002

XML & Names

"XML and global name access control" by Ki-Tat Lam is a paper in OCLC Systems & Services v. 18 no. 2. "This paper discusses why the MARC21-based authority format has failed in a global setting and details the use of XML and its related technologies to achieve global name access control." The whole issue is worth a look.

Dublin Core Metadata

The latest issue of OCLC Systems & Services has the article "Qualified Dublin Core metadata for online journal articles" by Timothy W Cole.
This paper describes an implementation utilizing preliminary Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) guidelines for expressing Qualified Dublin Core (DCQ) metadata in RDF/XML. Primary source objects used in this research were online versions of articles published in more than 50 academic journals in physics and engineering. Articles were encoded in well-formed XML. While able to follow DCMI guidelines generally, it was necessary to augment DCQ semantics with local extensions in order to retain desired richness of semantics and structure. Also described is related work, including development of XML schema documents necessary to validate metadata and creation of a transforming XSL stylesheet to "dumb-down" metadata to simple Dublin Core. As a case study, this research illustrates issues encountered when expressing real-world DCQ metadata in RDF/XML. Significant initial investment of effort was required to develop RDF facilities and expertise. Pending more applications that exploit RDF, this investment may not be warranted in all domains.

XML and Taxonomies

XML and taxonomies A partnership cure for digital sprawl by Linda Farmer provides a business perspective on these tools. Information Highways v. 9, no. 2 (Jan.-Feb., 2002)
The judicious application of XML and taxonomies can go a long way towards stemming the sprawl of unstructured digital content throughout an enterprise and leveraging its potential in the service of business goals.

Thursday, August 29, 2002


Beloit College has released the Class of 2006 Mindset List. This list is always interesting and useful for understanding some of our patrons. The first 10 items are:
1. A Southerner has always been President of the United States.
2. Richard Burton, Ricky Nelson and Truman Capote have always been dead.
3. South Africa's official policy of apartheid has not existed during their lifetime.
4. Cars have always had eye-level rear stop lights, CD player, and air bags.
5. We have always been able to choose our long distance carriers.
6. Weather reports have always been available 24-hours a day on television.
7. The "evil empire" has moved from Moscow to a setting in some distant galaxy.
8. "Big Brother" is merely a television show.
9. Cyberspace has always existed.
10. Bruce Springsteen's new hit Born in the USA could have been played to celebrate their birth.

Economic Impact of Libraries

Marylaine Block has offered to create a Web page for stories of how libraries have helped individuals become more productive, taxpaying citizens. Seems like it could be a valuable project.
I know you have your own success stories, even if they're mostly anecdotes. You may also have conducted some follow-up surveys with the people who've attended your workshops. What we need to do, it seems to me, is start gathering these stories and systematically recording them. If we're not currently doing follow-up surveys of our workshop attendees, we should start doing so, at least occasionally. We can put the stories and the survey results in our annual reports, and publish them on our web pages. In fact, we could use our web pages to gather stories like this, by including an interactive page for users, called something like I LEARNED IT AT THE LIBRARY.

The next step would be to take these stories from libraries all over the country and consolidate the information so we can get a sense of the national economic impact of libraries. I can do that, with your help. I can create a page for library success stories on my web site.

The page doesn't exist yet, because I can't do it by myself. You need to supply me with the content for it. Send me your anecdotes, and the URLs for your posted survey results or press releases about them, to (please use the subject line "library success story"), and I will include them on the page. I'll let you know when it's up and running. Let's jointly create documentation we can brandish in the faces of mayors and city council members and company financial officers, proving our worth in the dollars and cents terms they understand.

Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2002.

Open Source Library System, Koha

The Nelsonville, Ohio, Public Library has recently announced that they will be migrating to Koha, a GPL'd library software system which is written in Perl. They have decided to contribute to the ongoing development of Koha and have released an RFP to solicit bids to work on full MARC support for the 1.4 release, the RFP is available.

I'd encourage interested parties to read carefully through the RFP and to join the koha-devel mailing list. It may also be worthwhile to join the #koha channel at to discuss the project in general or MARC support specifically. If you know anyone else that might be interested in responding to the RFP, please feel free to forward it as appropriate.

Further background on Nelsonville's announcement. For more information, please feel free to contact me by email at

Pat Eyler
the Koha project

Wednesday, August 28, 2002


This from Library Techlog, another possible solution to broken links.
Robust Hyperlinks and Robust Locations. URLs can be made robust so that if a web page moves to another location anywhere on the web, you can find it. Even if that page has been edited. (If the page has been deleted and no mirrors are available, you'll have to try something else, obviously.) Today's address-based URLs are augmented with a five or so word content-based lexical signature to make a Robust Hyperlink. When the URL's address-based portion breaks, the signature is fed into any web search engine to find the new site of the page. Using our free, Open Source software (including source code), you can rewrite your web pages and bookmarks files to make them robust, automatically. Although web browser support is desirable for complete convenience, Robust Hyperlinks work now, as drop-in replacements of URLs in today's HTML, web browsers, web servers and search engines.

Subject Headings

Currently I'm reading the book Subject Determination During the Cataloging Process by Alenka Sauperl. The processes it describes sounds much more realistic than how the process was described in cataloging class. In class it ran (1) Examine the item to determine the subject. Look at the title, index, preface, and TOC. (2) Consult the subject heading list and determine the term(s) that match. In Sauperl's study it shows that the subject selection begins during descriptive cataloging. Looking at the publisher, series statements as well at the title and authors. Then the process becomes iterative moving back and forth from the vocabulary list to the item and to the catalog to see how similar items have been treated. How our users would look is also considered. Much messier. Better for our catalogs. It makes sense to consider how similar items have been treated. That's part of the collocation function of the catalog. Also, consideration of the user is basic. The 1st law (if I remember right) is save the reader time. If you are reading this while still in library school, do not believe the neat description from your cataloging class.


Project Muse is now offering journal data for download. No need to be a member either. It is available in Excel, tab delimited or comma delimited formats. No MARC format, still have to use jake2marc for that. Still it should make things easier for some folks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002


The TEI Consortium, a non-profit membership organization that continues the efforts of the Text Encoding Initiative, will hold its second annual members meeting at the Newberry Library, Chicago, October 11-12, 2002. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend the first day of the meeting, which will include a rich programme of technical briefings and presentations about the full variety of TEI applications. Further information is available.


Joint Steering Committee to Meet in York, England, 9-11 September 2002. Discussion topics and agenda are available.

Translation of Numbers

The site Numbers from 1 to 10 in Over 4500 Languages could be helpful if stuck cataloging in an unfamiliar language.

New Monthly

Free Range Librarian A Monthly Meditation from Librarians' Index to the Internet
This is the debut issue of Free Range Librarian, a monthly think piece from the Librarians' Index to the Internet. Each month we will feature one article or review on issues important to librarianship.

We welcome submissions (500 to 1000 words) but regret we cannot offer payment for publication other than an mug or t-shirt and a copyright agreement that allows you to retain rights to your content.

The 1st issue is "The Gospel According To Marvin: A Review of A Festschrift in Honor of Marvin H. Scilken" by Karen G. Schneider. This is an extended review of the book Getting Libraries the Credit They Deserve: A Festschrift in Honor of Marvin H. Scilken, by Loriene Roy and Antony Cherian. However, it goes beyond reviewing to a recollection of the man.


LC has added examples to illustrate the ideas in Displays for Multiple Versions from MARC 21 and FRBR.


Last night Janis Ian was on the Screen Savers discussing file swapping of MP3s, copyright and the music industry. The Web site reprints The Internet Debacle -- An Alternate View and provides links to some other resources. Her ideas do not have the force of law only common sense behind them.

Monday, August 26, 2002


Catalogablog is configured to support FeedMe. This is a slick tool. It allows you to be e-mailed the contents of an RSS feed. If you have any problem using FeedMe with this site, please let me know. These RSS functions are the first applications I'm seeing of XML on the Web.


"We're going to move our library services onto Open Source platforms, culminating with the conversion of our existing server system to Koha." says Stephen Hedges of the Nelsonville Public Library (NPL). "We want to use the Internet to offer some cutting edge information services to our library patrons, but we realized that this would require us to have control of our automation and database software. We needed the freedom to change things, to change the code if necessary, because the types of things we want to do are not going to appear in commercial library software for years."

Koha, being open source, provided the access that NPL required and the level of stability and functionality that they needed. NPL has committed to help support the development of Koha by funding some of the work on three specific projects. This support is seen as a wise investment, NPL expects to save as much money per year as they initially invest in Koha. More importantly, they will be able to offer what they consider to be "the best online services available anywhere in the world."

"NPL's involvement is a real validation of our model." says Pat Eyler, Kaitiaki (manager) of the Koha project. "We've got a solid base system. As people want to add onto it, they can make a small investment to fund the work (far less than they would for a comparable closed source solution) and everyone will benefit. I hope that we'll see other libraries pitching in too."

More information about Koha

NPL provides services to approximately 36,000 active borrowers through seven branches. Their collection includes over 250,000 items.


Here is a nice use of the Open Archives Initiative, Citebase. This searches arXiv, cogprints and Biomed Central. "Citebase allows researchers to search across free, full-text research literature eprint archives, with results ranked according to many criteria (e.g. by citation impact), and then to navigate that literature using citation links and analysis."


Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may be aware, a special task force recently studied the mission, management, programs, and operation of the National Agricultural Library in pursuit of its legislated mandate to serve as the chief agricultural information resource of the United States. The task force report and recommendations appear in the "Report on the National Agricultural Library 2001".

Please see the announcement of the release of the Report and invitation for public review and comment along with a link to the full report

We are announcing the availability of the Report and the period of public comment to a wide audience with the hope that we will get many comments from a variety of customers, stakeholders, and partners. We invite you to review and comment on the report recommendations.

Susan McCarthy
(301) 504-5510


Keeping an eye on Metadata by Glyn Moody from Computer Weekly. Short article with plenty of links. Interesting because it shows computer folks are recognizing the importance of cataloging, by whatever name.
Few people bother to look at the code underlying Web sites they visit, but it is often worth doing so - not just to see how good pages are put together, but to examine any metadata lurking there. For metadata - data about data - is becoming an increasingly important area of Web technology (the World Wide Web Consortium has some background on the subject).

Not Cataloging

Here is a site that shows what the demographic folks think of where you live, You Are Where You Live. Interesting, for me some of the things are right on, others miss completely. I guess it shows why it has been valuable in the past, a 20% hit rate is better than just guessing where you customers are. However, with micromarketing using more precise tracking tools, cookies for instance, demographic profiling may become as useful as spam. I just finished the book Next: the Future just Happened and it discussed how this new marketing will break up national markets and introduce more customization and choices.