Friday, January 10, 2003


The Faceted Application of Subject Terminology project will be discussed at mid-winter. It deserves consideration.
Recent trends, driven to a large extent by the rapid growth of the Web, are forcing changes in bibliographic control systems to make them easier to use, understand, and apply, and subject headings are no exception. The purpose of adapting the LCSH with a simplified syntax to create FAST is to retain the very rich vocabulary of LCSH while making the schema easier to understand, control, apply, and use. The schema maintains upward compatibility with LCSH, and any valid set of LC subject headings can be converted to FAST headings.


There is a mail list covering the Functional Requirements for Bibliographical Records. To subscribe, send the message "subscribe" to

Thursday, January 09, 2003

OLAC Conference

The presentations from the OLAC Conference Electronic and Media Cataloging for the 21st Century are now available. There is a summary for each presentation and often a link to the PowerPoint presentations or handouts. The workshops include:
  • Creating Annotations for NonBook Materials
  • Cataloging Electronic Resources: AACR Chapters 9 and 12
  • Cataloging Graphic Materials
  • Map Cataloging
  • Cataloging Moving Image Materials using AMIM
  • Advanced Realia Workshop
  • Cataloging Digital Sound Files: AACR2 Chapters 6 and 9
  • Videorecordings Cataloging Workshop
Thanks to OLAC for putting together such a useful resource.

Music Metadata

Manage metadata with MusicBrainz by Uche Ogbuji describes the RDF metadata scheme used by the digital audio database MusicBrainz.
The RDF subsystem of MusicBrainz is defined in the MusicBrainz Metadata Initiative 2.0 specification, which defines RDF for encyclopedia entries and for queries. MusicBrainz defines several base URIs (which they call namespaces) for the different (though related) RDF vocabularies it provides.
Will this translate to MARC? Have they discussed with librarians the potential issues and considered our solutions? Would that even be useful, maybe this is the best format for the information and we should leave it at that.

Web Design

I've recently read a couple of books about comics. Understanding Comics : the Invisible Art by Scott McCloud and Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Both are worth reading on their own merits.

However, it occurred to me that many of the design principles could also be applied to Web design. Each Web page is much like a comic page, different spaces that are read in a certain order. Then the next page is served/turned. Considering Web design in this way might make for more interesting and reader friendly pages. What the Web needs is an Will Eisner or Walt Kelly to show the way.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

This 'Blog

I've set up another RSS feed, this one in 0.91. It does display better in AmphetaDesk than the old one in 0.92. However, it does not validate and the other does, go figure. If you read this on your news aggregator you may want to switch.

The problem with the titles has been solved. Everything should now be working, if you experience any bugs, please let me know.

Union Bugs

The Proposal for Inclusion of Union Label Description In Bibliographic and Archival Cataloging Guidelines is available. This is information that may be useful to rare book catalogers. It deserves to be included in a description of an item if it will aid in distinguishing it from another edition or printing. I've seen these and never paid much attention to them. Seen at

Open Source OPAC

Seen on oss4lib: On behalf of the Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (FCEN-UBA), and the Biblioteca Central "Dr. Luis F. Leloir" of FCEN-UBA (Central Library), we are pleased to announce the distribution of OpenOPAC, our OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog), as a free software, with open source under LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License).

It has been a couple of years now that we have been developing our OPAC on WXIS (also know as WWWIsis, though note that WXIS is not open source), and it has reached some level of "evolution"; meanwhile, the idea has grown in us that it is a good thing to tend towards the open source concept, among other reasons, as a way of cooperation between countries/institutions/peoples with few resources. That is why, very humbly, yet with some pride, we want to announce that we have made ready a set of IsisScripts combined with HTML and JavaScript for a Web-based OPAC (using WXIS). Showing some lack of imagination, we have called it "OpenOPAC", but we are open to better ideas.

This development is far from perfect, but it is a starting point from which we might generate the critical mass necessary to do things in this direction (ISIS/WXIS + open source). It is also a call to collaborate, for those interested in making a better code. If you want a copy of OpenOPAC, please send an email asking for it, including the name of the Institution you work at, to

This 'Blog

I've upgraded the software on this 'blog from Blogger to Blogger Pro. If you experience any problems with the new version please let me know. Pro has the ability to create titles, only it does not seem to be working. If you can give me an idea of how to fix it I'd appreciate it. Until it does get fixed, the entries will be without titles.

More RSS

I've added a Kunekt button to the 'blog. This is an RSS feed of contact information. I first saw it on The Shifted Librarian.
Never again send out notifications by email, post or fax! Just make a change to your Kunekt Card and everyone who subscribes to your Kunekt Card will be automatically notified.
This has possibilities. It is free and easy to use. What I'd like to see would be for the vCard folks to create a DTD and then use that as the basis for the RSS feed. I'd like something I could drag and drop into Outlook or my PIM. Standards only increase the potential uses of the information.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Authority Tools for Audiovisual and Music Catalogers

The latest edition of Authority Tools for Audiovisual and Music Catalogers is now available The list now contains annotations for roughly sixty reference sources that are helpful when creating authorized headings. The annotations are contributed by colleagues who highlight the strengths (and weaknesses) of each source. Thanks to OLAC's Cataloging Policy Committee for such a useful tool.

First Monday

The latest issue of First Monday has some articles of interest.
  • The Usability of Open Source Software by David M. Nichols and Michael B. Twidale
    In this paper we review the existing evidence of the usability of open source software and discuss how the characteristics of open source development influence usability. We describe how existing human-computer interaction techniques can be used to leverage distributed networked communities, of developers and users, to address issues of usability.
  • Digitizing Old Photographs for the Web by Ruth Garner, Mark Gillingham, and Yong Zhao
    In this article, we discuss reasons for digitizing. We describe an ongoing project in which children and adults in a technology-oriented after-school program in rural Michigan are digitizing photographs for a local historical society

Monday, January 06, 2003


Cleveland Public Library is launching an eBook system that will let people download publications onto their PCs and personal digital assistants. While these experiments are interesting, they do tend to be hyped-up. Here in Texas, anyone with a public or college library card has access to over 20,000 e-books. The service does not include digital audio or video, but I wonder how much will be included in the Cleveland catalog. We can only download to a computer, as far as I know. I can't imagine reading on a PDA, much as I like them. Maybe, something like Notes for Serial Catalogers if I just wanted to see one tag.

I'm also concerned about the formats supported by the system. They mention Adobe Acrobat, Palm Digital Media, and Microsoft Windows Media Player Technologies. Notice there is a corporate name for each of the formats. Nothing open source it seems. They do provide for MARC records.

New Books Project

LC is looking for comments on the New Books Project.
Participating publishers provide information about forthcoming books to the Library of Congress. New Books records are created by computer programs from this information and made available on the Library of Congress homepage. These records are also distributed by the Library of Congress's Cataloging Distribution Service to libraries and book sellers worldwide.
This is a different program than CIP. The format of the records has yet to be determined, XML seems likely. The idea is for the new book record to point to the bib record. The format of the new book record allows indexing by Web search engines and provides an access point to the library catalog.


Jessamyn West at raises an interesting question about our OPACs. Does adding cover art and enhanced records from services like Syndetic Solutions Inc. amount to labeling? Only the most recent books and publishers with the deepest pockets can afford to have their information made available. The small independent publishers are less likely to be included in the service. Older materials are not there at all. I believe, the service only covers materials to the early nineties. Are books without the additional content less visible to our users? Are we morphing into a mega-bookstore?

I've long believed that the vendors drive too many decisions in our libraries. I often hear that some non-standard technique is used in cataloging since the system does not handle the standard right. This is just another example of that power. We must be careful in our decisions. Maybe content enhancement is for the better, maybe not. However, we should be making the decision not the vendor.