Friday, March 21, 2003

Library 'Blogs

Blake Carver and Steven M. Cohen have teamed up to provide LISFeeds. This is a one-stop-site for library related RSS feeds. There are about 25 sites so far. Just click on the 'blog title in the left hand pane and read postings in the right. Then click on the next interesting 'blog. I'm tempted to remove the blogroll at the left and just point to LISFeeds. Remember these guys next year when LJ is looking for the movers and shakers. Slick work, thanks Blake and Steven.

This is where I see RSS feeds really being useful. I have a news aggregator but do not find it as useful as other tools. I still visit the sites of most of the 'blogs I read. Until they become more functional and incorporated into browsers, I do not see most folks using them. However, the ability for a Web site to aggregate RSS feeds and then present a packaged group is a useful service. I've also seen 'blogs just display the title of postings from a variety of 'blogs in a sidebar. The ability to repackage and redistribute content makes RSS too important to ignore.


The Guidelines for the Use of Field 856 have been updated.
This document gives guidelines on the use of field 856 and is current as of March 2003. It includes all changes made to the field through the midwinter ALA conference held in January 2003.


A few changes have been made to the MARC Code Lists for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions. The most commonly useful may well be:

MARC Format Sources Changes:
Metadata object description schema (subfield $2 in Bibliographic records in field 887)

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Semantic Web

The latest issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, is devoted to the Semantic Web. Articles include:
  • The Semantic Web: More than a Vision by Jane Greenberg
  • An Overview of W3C Semantic Web Activity by Eric Miller and Ralph Swick
  • Semantic Web Services by Bijan Parsia
  • Metadata: A Fundamental Component of the Semantic Web by Jane Greenberg, Stuart Sutton and D. Grant Campbell
  • Ontologies and the Semantic Web by Elin K. Jacob


Among a host of bookmarklets to show mark-up of pages is one to display the metadata. Just drag it to your browser toolbar. Very nice. Seen on Library Techlog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


After reading the paper Hierarchical Gaps and Subject Authority Control Processing: an Assessment I'm not so sure this is a good way to go, at least for us. The paper describes how they added LCSH records for all broader terms needed when they added a new subject term. For example, when the term Venturia inaequalis was needed they also added Venturia, Venturiaceae, Pleosporales, Loculaoscomycetes and Ascomycedtes.

In our catalog these would all appear as blind references, a user would get no hits. A user who followed the list of broader terms could go far before getting a hit. He could not move to more specific terms, narrower terms are rarely used in LC records.

Part of the problem is in our OPAC. There are none, I know of, that display a subject tree based on the LCSH's. This structure is useful to some of our users. Yahoo has this structure and it gets used. The structure should also be able to display the number of items at all lower levels. For example, a search on Ascomycedtes should show that there was 1 item with a more specific heading as well as the fact there were none at that level. Should it show how many were higher in the tree? For some headings, it would be a google-like number, too large to be useful. For United States--History--Civil War, 1860-1865 the number of items in United States--History and United States would be useless. However, this is speculation, the system does not exist.

Personally, I like being able to move up and down a tree structure. I'd like to see this kind of access to our classification schemes also. But until our catalog offers that functionality or I see research showing adding those missing headings in the hierarchy does improve searching I'll not be adding them.


In 2003 NISO is launching an initiative to revise the leading standard for thesaurus construction: ANSI/NISO Z39.19, Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri.
This revision will address the needs of a changing information environment and a changing audience for this Standard. Searching and browsing of information systems are no longer limited to librarians, indexers, and other information professionals - individuals of all ages, professions, and nationalities use search tools for education, work and fun. Developers of Internet and Intranet-accessible Web pages, databases, and information systems need better metadata to support non-expert information searches, and metadata developers are recognizing the value of incorporating high-quality, interoperable controlled vocabularies and taxonomies into their schemes.
Lots more folks in the library cataloging and classification game, even if they do not speak our language.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Subject Authorities

The latest issue of Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 5, No. 2 (Spring 2003) has the paper Hierarchical Gaps and Subject Authority Control Processing : an Assessment by Daniel CannCasciato and Mary Wise.
This article assesses the frequency with which hierarchical gaps occur during subject authority control processing. The gaps referred to are those that will occur if supplemental authority records are not downloaded for the broader terms of the new subject headings. The results could have an impact on workflow, staff level assignment, and automated procedures for subject authority control. If the frequency of possible gaps in the hierarchical structure is significant, then they must be accounted for.
Available in both HTML and PDF.

Online Training

Library Standards: Why Use and Support Them?
Date: 19-Mar-03
Time: 9:00AM - 10:00AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)


Release 2.0 of the Bath Profile: An International Z39.50 Specification for Library Applications and Resource Discovery. This release of the profile defines four Functional Areas:
  • Functional Area A for Bibliographic Search & Retrieval, with Primary Focus on Library Catalogues: A definition of a core set of searches (and the associated attributes and attribute combinations) required for basic search and retrieval mechanisms needed by library users and a definition of additional searches required for more precise searches to support other information retrieval needs.
  • Functional Area B for Bibliographic Holdings Retrieval and Search: A definition of search and retrieval requirements to provide bibliographic and holdings information adequate to identify a library's holdings.
  • Functional Area C for Cross-Domain Search & Retrieval: A definition of searches and retrieval mechanisms to address cross-domain information retrieval.
  • Functional Area D for Authority Record Search & Retrieval: A definition of a core set of searches and retrieval mechanisms for searching for authority file records from online catalogues.

Bibliographic References

Z39.29-200x Bibliographic References Abstract: This standard provides rules, guidelines, and examples for the creation of bibliographic references to numerous types of print, audiovisual and electronic materials, both published and unpublished, arranged in fifteen broad categories. The bibliographic references should, as a minimum, result in the unique identification of most print and nonprint materials. This standard is intended for a broad audience, including the creators of bibliographic references, the processors who publish and otherwise display references, and the ultimate users of the references.

Status: Currently Balloting
Balloting Period: March 17, 2003 to April 30, 2003

Monday, March 17, 2003


This week is the Lunar & Planetary Science Conference. I'll be busy there, so posts may be shorter and/or less frequent.


How to's: What is XML? And What is RSS? Why Do I Want It Anyways? on ScriptyGoddess is an introduction and some commentary.