Friday, May 09, 2003


The conference Preservation, Archiving and Dissemination of Electronic Literature co-sponsored by Electronic Literature Organization and the Digital Cultures Project, April 3-4, 2003 has made MP3 files of the talks available for download. Talks include:
  • The Opposite of Property James Boyle
  • Presentation of Endangered Works: Marjorie Luesebrink
  • Library of Congress to the Rescue: Stewart Brand
  • Introduction to METS, the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard: Merrilee Proffitt

Easy News Topics

I've been looking at ENT1.0 and considering methods of constructing a cloud, or thesaurus in other words. The standard calls for the list to be in RDF, XMT or OPML. All well and good, but are there any tools to aid in constructing a cloud in those formats? I thought Radio Userland might be an answer, but I downloaded a trial version and can not find an outliner feature. Any other suggestions?

Catalog cards

Recently Bob Gaines asked the TLA automation mail list about programs to print catalog cards. With his permission here is a slightly reformatted version of his summary of replies.

PC Catalog Card Basic - $279
DIAKON Systems
3801 Glenmont Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76133-2955
By e-mail:
30-day demo for download (looks fairly sophisticated)

Catalog Card Creator - $199; support is $49/year
Right On Programs
778 New York Avenue
Huntington, NY 11743
By e-mail:
By Phone: (631) 424-7777 Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern Time US.
By FAX: (631) 424-7207 24 hours 7 days.
No demo (owner says librarians haven't paid for use, so he's stopped offering a demo).

Library 1.7 - $150
Church Related Online Software Systems, Inc.
3449 Cherryville Road
Northampton, PA 18067
Voice 610-262-3232
Fax 610-262-1679
No demo, but 90-day return allowed; they also sell card and label stock

All 3 appear to be actively upgraded and supported, probably because they sell primarily to churches and synagogues.

The Library Store used to sell Librarian's Helper, but according to a rep, they had trouble with the lack of support from LH -- which is still a DOS program -- and no longer sell it.

Regarding printing with ink jets, it appears that it depends on the specific model. Canons seem to work, and some HPs will work.


iCalShare is an interesting attempt to structure information.
The site, launched in September 2002, contains over 1250 calendars in more than 30 different categories. Calendars are free to download and can be used with such applications as Apple's iCal and Mozilla Calendar.
There is no search facility, you have to scroll through the descriptions in the categories. The site does have a nice clean look; you can e-mail, print, preview or subscribe to a calendar.

Why do more places not make available a downloadable version of their calendar? In many cases a calendar would be more effective than a 'blog. It is something more people understand. Used in conjunction they could be useful tools for keeping patrons informed. I'd like to see more libraries offer a calendar of events in such a format. Maybe they could offer a few, one for the library and another for community events and meetings. PHP iCalendar allows for an RSS feed as well. Mentioned on the Shifted Librarian.

Thursday, May 08, 2003


Grant application assistance was announced in the latest Primary Source newsletter, (May 2003) Vol. 5, No. 5
I am pleased to announce that IMLS has launched an on-line tutorial to help libraries and museums develop project plans for National Leadership Grant applications. We hope that this tool will help make it easier to develop competitive applications for an IMLS grants.


Attention All Reference or Public Services Librarians: Have you seen (or created) any good web sites lately? The RUSA/MARS Local Systems and Services Committee is seeking nominations to update our selective list of Innovative Web-Based Reference Services. Nominations may be made in the following areas:
  • Expert Systems
  • Locally-Produced Databases-Bibliographic or Full-text
  • Personalized Library Services
  • Reference FAQs
  • Reference Menu Organization
  • General Library Tutorials
  • Subject-Specific Library Tutorials
  • Virtual Reference
To see this site and learn about this list and the selection criteria and, most importantly to NOMINATE new sites, go to the ALA homepage and then to the RUSA page or you can go directly to the RUSA page.

From the RUSA page, select MARS and then Publications (in the red border) and then the Innovative Web-Based Reference Services: A Selected List.

You can nominate as many sites as you want and you can nominate sites from your library or from other libraries. Please help us make the list a useful one for other librarians, by nominating innovative sites. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 2, 2003.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

1st Amendment

Check out how well your school lives up to the 1st Amendment and find ideas on how to make it better.
First Amendment Schools: Educating for Freedom and Responsibility, co-sponsored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the First Amendment Center, is a national initiative designed to transform how schools model and teach the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that frame civic life in our democracy.


The nomination form for The New York Times 2003 Librarian Awards is available. Nominate someone you know and work with. It is open only to public libraries and public library systems within the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.


New uses for RSS formatted data are appearing. Displaying RSS Feeds in WebCT explains how to add a feed to that tool. Seen on The Blog Drivers Waltz.

The tool used to place the feed in WebCT is RSS-box viewer by Adam Curry

This RSS-box viewer can display the formats RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92, RSS 1.0 (w/o modules) and Scripting News 2. It provides a neat way to embed such RSS-boxes in any HTML document via a generated JavaScript tag.
Syndicated content: it's more than just some file formats by Paul Miller appears in Ariadne no. 35 (March/April 2003).
Takes a look at issues arising from the current enthusiasm for syndicating content to portals or other web sites, and offers some guidelines for good practice.
Danny Ayers has written Simple Semantic Resolution - RSS 2.0 Module Seen at Semantic Blogging Demonstrator.
This specification defines the Simple Semantic Resolution (SSR) Module for the RSS 2.0 syndication format. The purpose of SSR is to provide a mechanism by which the semantics of an RSS 2.0 document can be unambiguously resolved to an RDF model. This is done by declaring the RSS 2.0 file as being an RDF representation and provide a mapping between the RSS 2.0 syntax and the RDF model. The mapping is declared using an XSLT to give an RSS 1.0-based representation, this RDF/XML serialization providing anchorage to the RDF model. The role of the XSLT stylesheet is as part of a module's specification, processing with it will not be needed in most circumstances.


EDItEUR has released ONIX for Books 2.1.
New in Release 2.1:

Expanded character set support - direct support for XHTML in designated text elements - new Website composite enables website links to be specified in many different contexts - enhanced Title composite - support for name coding, for personal and corporate names - comprehensive specification of worldwide territorial rights and other non-territorial sales restrictions - new ability to handle re-issues - provision for sending stock information - new elements and code lists to meet the special needs of the US religious book trade - and much else besides.


In the comments to the posting about "Non-Member Use of Cataloging Records" Mr. Houk left this comment.

Please identify the place in my presentation where I use the term rogue. I believe this is a completely false statement. I have read all of the AutoCat postings on this subject and there is a great deal of misinformation about OCLC's cataloging services. We offer a wide range of cataloging services to our membership to meet a wide range of workflows. For smaller libraries, CatExpress provides inexpensive access to the entire WorldCat database. I encourage all libraries to check out the OCLC web site or to contact their regional network for information on the best solution(s) for their library.

Gary R. Houk
Vice President
OCLC Cataloging & Metadata Services

I must admit I misquoted Mr. Houk; nowhere does he mention rogue libraries. For some smaller libraries, CatExpress may be an option. I could not find pricing anywhere, but it works by selling blocks of 500, 1000 or 2000 records.

OCLC and RLG are both fine institutions. Without them standards would be far less pervasive than they currently are. In addition, OCLC has done research in areas like metadata and classification that has been invaluable. The library world would be a far poorer place without them. However, I do believe there are a host of small libraries, elementary schools for example, that are not served as well as they could be by the utilities. That is why there is a feeding frenzy at conferences when they find EZ-Cat. Maybe OCLC has services that would be cost effective for these institutions, they just need to market it better. Again my apologies to Mr. Houk for saying he used the term "rogue libraries", that was not in his presentation.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


The article "What OCLC and RLIN don't want you to know about the future of cataloging" by Jeffrey Beall PNLA Quarterly v. 66, no. 3 (Spring 2002) is mentioned in the OCLC in the PowerPoint presentation "Non-Member Use of Cataloging Records". He considers the impact of Z39.50, consortia, and increased standardization.

The disagreement I have with the piece is that what he describes is not the future but rather the present. For many small libraries Z39.50 is now the way they get records, macros are widely used in cataloging (as are custom templates, that are not mentioned), many library systems now ship with Z39.50 tools. It is considered so standard that the open-source system Koha includes it. Also, many libraries are already cataloging Web sites and/or including those records in their catalogs. Our catalog is small but I have about 1000 links in the catalog. A good overview of where we are now.


The presentations from "Sharing the Knowledge" International CIDOC CRM Symposium are available. Papers include:
  • It Is What It Does: The Pragmatics of Ontology for Knowledge Sharing
  • Some strategic issues for sharing information in museums
  • Ontology Driven Information Systems in Action (Capturing and Applying Existing Knowledge to Semantic Applications)
Not all presentations are available yet. I hope they are in time, since there are some interesting topics being discussed.

Tag of the Month

This month Follett's Tag of the Month is a sample record for a CD-ROM.

Digital Media

I'm all for labels that make our cataloging more accurate, informative and save time. This proposed bill sounds good to me:
Senator Ron Wyden recently introduced the Digital Consumer Right-to-Know Act (DCRKA), a bill that would require entertainment companies to label products with copy-protections that limit consumer use. Support the DCRKA if you think the content industry should be ordered to clearly label media that restricts your rights!
You can send a prepared letter to your senators from the Electronic Freedom Foundation site.

Monday, May 05, 2003

MARC Code List for Languages

The 2003 edition of the MARC Code List for Languages is now available from the Library of Congress. This new publication contains a list of languages and their associated three-character alphabetic codes that allow for the designation of the language or languages in MARC records. References from variant forms and specific language names assigned to group codes are included. This edition contains 457 discrete codes, of which 55 are used for groups of languages.

It is also available on-line.


Guidelines for the Non-Sorting Control Character Technique has been posted by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office Library of Congress.
With Proposal No 98-16R (Nonfiling characters in all MARC formats), the MARC 21 community approved the use of beginning and ending control characters to block off nonfiling or non-sorting characters in MARC 21 records. These new MARC 21 characters are based on the NSB and NSE characters of ISO 6630 (Bibliographic Control Numbers). For the MARC-8, UCS/Unicode representations of these characters, see the appropriate MARC 21 Specifications pages.

Discussion Paper 118 and Discussion Paper 2002-DP05 explored specific guidelines on how to apply these characters. After much discussion, it was decided that prescriptive guidelines should be drafted that present using the control character technique to indicate non-sorting characters, particularly for initial articles, in a limited number of fields. These guidelines with the allowed fields and subfields are presented below.


One of the sites linking to Catalogablog has the description "A cataloging Web log. Not as boring as it sounds" Well, cataloging does not sound boring to me. I think it is a fascinating profession. To take an item and craft a bibliographic description that will both distinguish the item from all others and establish how it is connected to other items is interesting work. I used the word craft, because I do believe cataloging to be one. No two catalogers will arrive at the exact same record, yet often both will be correct. Just as cabinetmakers will each have a different vision, so too with cataloging. That personal approach within the constraints of standards makes for such interesting work.

Another reason the field is so interesting is that currently, it is changing at the theoretical level. Metadata, FRBR, and automation are some of the topics of discussion in the cataloging community. People other than catalogers are discussing subject access, controlled vocabularies, and classification. While they could often benefit from listening to the library community, some do bring a unique perspective to the discussion. Cataloging boring? I think not.

Librarian's Book Club

The Librarian's Book Club now has a 'blog.