Friday, March 28, 2003


The Library of Congress Geography and Map Division will sponsor a Special Project during the summer of 2003. As in past years, the 2003 Project will be limited to cooperative participants from university and college libraries in the United States. Visit the Geography and Map Division homepage for more details.


Next week is the Texas Library Association annual conference. Postings may be spotty since I'll be involved in the 3rd largest library conference in the U.S. Anyone who wants to pitch hit next week covering this 'blog just let me know.

Too many good sessions and no time for lunch. There are parties at night so there is some time to visit.

Stop by the Texas Regional Group of Catalogers and Classifiers table shared with the Special Libraries Division. I'm bringing 600 CD-ROMs to distribute, Space Science Reference Guide. Be sure to pick up one at the booth. Marianne Dyson is giving a session Home on the Moon. That book just crossed my desk. My co-worker is giving the session Out of This World Collaborations, shows what the LPI is up to with public libraries. Chuck Bearden, a classmate of mine from UNT, is speaking on Open-Source Software and Libraries: A Good Fit?

Ill be wearing my OCLC button Cataloging Is a Public Service.


The draft of the paper Quality Assurance for Digital Learning Object Repositories: The Power of Metadata by Sarah Currier and Jane Barton is available for comment.
Much work has already been done within the learning technology community to assure metadata quality. So far this effort has focused on the development of the metadata infrastructure, in the form of standards and specifications, and the implementation of this infrastructure within repositories. There has been an assumption that metadata creation will be straightforward. However, repositories are beginning to report significant difficulties in obtaining good quality metadata from their contributors and it is increasingly apparent that the issue of metadata creation warrants attention.

This paper draws together the growing body of evidence, both from within the learning technology community and from related disciplines, to scope the issue of metadata creation and to identify questions for further investigation. It is anticipated that this will form the basis for a programme of work that will inform future policy development in this important area.

This addresses the old "garbage in, garbage out" problem. Good metadata or cataloging is more than just following rules and filling in spaces in the record. Seems others are finding this as news. However, we can learn from their research and perhaps fine tune our own systems.

Thursday, March 27, 2003


All to often we forget to say thanks. I know I could be better about it. However, it gives the person such a lift. Just now, I'm cataloging the book Home on the Moon by Marianne Dyson and there in the acknowledgments was my name. I can't remember giving her that much help; it was enough to be included though. It just gives my spirits a lift.


I'm all for the separation of content from presentation. For example, a MARC record can be presented to different users in many different ways, but the data remains separate from that decision. Therefore, we can share records without concern about the system used. That was one of the great faults of HTML, it mixed presentation tags < italic > with content tags < cite >. That is why Smarty appeals to me without much investigation. Those more in the PHP loop can better understand the details.
Smarty is a template engine for PHP. More specifically, it facilitates a manageable way to separate application logic and content from its presentation. This is best described in a situation where the application programmer and the template designer play different roles, or in most cases are not the same person.


HYPOTHESIS: The Newsletter of the Research Section of MLA is available on-line. The latest, Fall 2002, issue contained articles such as:
  • Non-Visual access to the digital library: The use of digital library interfaces by blind and visually impaired people by Peter Brophy and Jenny Craven
  • Evidence-Based Librarianship Levels of Evidence submitted by Jon Eldredge, MLS, PhD
  • The Campbell Collaboration: Preparing, maintaining, and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of social and educational policies and practices submitted by Elizabeth Schneider


An interesting looking conference is the Evidence Based Librarianship 2003 2nd International EBL Conference. It takes place June 4 - 6, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Nice time to be there, better there than Houston.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

MetaSearch Initiative

NISO is sponsoring a MetaSearch Initiative.
Recognizing that cross database search capabilities and metasearching tools are a growth area in the marketplace, a leading group of content aggregators and library systems and services providers convened an open meeting at the American Library Association midwinter conference in Philadelphia in January 2003 to discuss those aspects of metasearching which impact both system performance and the content providers' delivery of services to libraries.

To continue this important dialog NISO is sponsoring a Metasearch Initiative that will enable:

  • metasearch service providers to offer more effective and responsive services
  • content providers to deliver enhanced content and protect their intellectual property
  • libraries to deliver services that distinguish their services from Google and other free web services.
The first major activity will be a 2-day Strategy Session in early May in Denver, CO.

Image Metadata

Fotonotes allows text to be associated with areas of JPEG images.
It allows you to embed stories in a picture and, as you roll your mouse over the image, sections are highlighted and the text appears .... Now, think about how Fotonotes can be used to embed metadata in images so that they can be related by database functionality.
MPEG 7 is supposed to have metadata abilities. This might be less a metadata tool and more of a linking or annotation tool, still valuable but not the same. Seen at the Shifted Librarian.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


The Email Encoder makes it less likely spammers will capture addresses from Web pages. It transforms an ASCII email address into its equivalent decimal entity. Looks natural in most browsers. I have used it to encode my address that appears at the upper left as my name. If you do not see David Bigwood but rather something like #098;&105;#103;&119;&111;#111;&100;&064; please let me know. If not I'll be using this for all e-mail addresses in these pages.


How have I missed this, there is a Perl4Lib mail list. It is hosted by Rice University, just up the road. My subscription request has already been sent. Aside from the list archives, there are other resources available
  • is a Perl 5 module, composed of a set of programs, which read, manipulate, create or convert transmission format MARC records. This program can be downloaded.
  • Cutting Down on Clicks: Using Perl Behind the Scenes to Access Information from a Z39.50 Catalog, by Eric Stedfeld, New York University. Can you use Perl to trick your Z39.50 catalog into delivering up a web page without having to click through a lot of intervening pages?
  • A MARC Interpreter program, by Ashley Sanders. This program makes use of many features of Perl. It is brief, well-constructed, and makes a good learning exercise for an advanced-beginner/intermediate Perl person.
  • Manipulating Subfields in a MARC Record by Bill Birthisel, is a simple example and explanation of field and subfield updating using the Perl module

Monday, March 24, 2003

Comic Books

Free Comic Book Day is May 3. I hope some libraries participate in this. I'll donate some comics to any library in the League City, Texas area, if they want to get involved. Then the kids could get an old and new comic from the same place.


The annual conference for the North American Serials Interest Group is scheduled for Portland, Oregon, June 26-29. Some sessions of interest to catalogers include:
  • Cataloging for the Non Cataloger
  • Cataloging Survival for non Catalogers, or you thought you would never need to catalog again
  • Serial Aggregations, Multiple Versions and the Virtual Union Catalog: the combined Digital Library, SUNY and ExLibris experiences
  • Case Studies in Serials Cataloging, or: What am I Supposed to do With This?
  • From Catalogers to Ontologists: Changing Roles and Opportunities for Technical Services Librarians
  • Electronic Resource Management and the MARC Record: The Road Less Traveled
  • Using the Library's OPAC to dynamically generate web pages for e-journals
Much more on acquisition, management, preservation and other aspects of serials.


The Creation and Persistence of Misinformation in Shared Library Catalogs: Language and Subject Knowledge in a Technological Era by David Bade.
A detailed look at the causes of and cures for "the two fundamental types of misinformation found in bibliographic and authority records in library catalogs: that arising from linguistic errors, and that caused by errors in subject analysis, including missing or wrong subject headings." Author David Bade--a cataloger at the University of Chicago's Joseph Regenstein Library--makes the case for getting it right the first time through "strict self-review" and cooperation among catalogers. Not simply an indictment of current cataloging practices, this paper raises awareness of how the mistakes happen in the first place and suggests specific preventions, making it required reading for beginning and experienced catalogers alike.
This sounds interesting, I'll try to get a copy once it is published.


Just a short time ago I mentioned ERIC for the first time, now it seems it needs some help. ERIC has a long and distinguished history. It deserves to continue that into the future.

The page ERIC Reauthorization News contains information on the threat and how to show your concern.