Friday, May 30, 2003


The minutes for the MARBI meeting held during the ALA Midwinter Conference in January 2003 are now available. Topics include:
  • Proposal 2003-01: Defining Subfield $2 in Field 022 for ISSN Center Code
  • Proposal 2003-02: Definition of Subfield $u (URI) in Field 538 (System Details Note) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
  • Discussion Paper 2003-DP01: Data Elements for Article Level Description
  • Discussion Paper 2003-DP02: Coding Graphic Images in Leader/06 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
  • Discussion Paper 2003-DP03: Adding Field 024 (Other Standard Identifier) to the MARC 21 Authority Format
  • Discussion of MARC and XML


" is running a "WHY LIBRARIANS MAKE A DIFFERENCE CONTEST"! Four lucky librarians can win young adult book titles valued at over $300.00 for their libraries. Both public and school librarians can apply." Blue Jean was a good magazine for girls, I was sad to see it go. It looks like they have continued with a Web site.


Another book I'm looking forward to reading is Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out. I expect that if it is anything like the predecessor, some pieces will have biting, black humor. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. I also expect it will provide lots of food for thought. It might be ideal as a selection in the Librarian's Book Club.

I'm also looking forward to doing some reading outside the field; Reinventing Comics : How Imagination and and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form is high on my list. McCloud's Understanding Comics is one of the 2 best books I've read on that medium. The other being Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Eisner's Graphic Storytelling is also on my reading list this summer.

Character Sets

There is a chart clearly setting out the hex value, graphic, UKMARC and MARC21 values of characters. This would be useful for moving between UKMARC and MARC21 but also as a guide between the hex value and MARC of either flavor.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Librarian Associations

I just stumbled across a library association that was new to me, the Network of Baha'i Librarians & Information Professionals. They have adjusted the Dewey and LC classification schemes to provide better coverage of their religion.

Metadata Glossary

A basic introduction to some of the terms we often use. A useful feature are the links to further information
In an attempt to summarize the relationship among various metadata formats and how they relate to building Internet systems I wrote a glossary. I then ordered and tied the terms together with a bit of narrative to explain the relationships among the terms.


Publishing standards in the medical community.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a center of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), created the Journal Publishing Document Type Definition (DTD) with the intent of providing a common format for the creation of journal content in XML.

For journals that do not have an SGML/XML model selected, NCBI will encourage the use of this DTD to define the incoming data for PubMed Central, the U.S. National Library of Medicine's digital archive of life sciences journal literature.

Archiving and exchange standards in that community.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) created the Journal Archiving and Interchange Document Type Definition (DTD) with the intent of providing a common format in which publishers and archives can exchange journal content.

This DTD was created from the Journal Archiving and Interchange DTD Suite, which provides a set of XML modules that define elements and attributes for describing the textual and graphical content of journal articles as well as some non-article material such as letters, editorials, and book and product reviews).


The NASA Technical Reports Server now uses the OAI-PMH. This is good news, moving towards standards. The bad news is they no longer provide access to the NASA Astrophysical Data Service. Here at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, these are important tools for my work.

The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is proving a useful tool for building catalogs of electronic resources. What this means for Z39.50 remains to be seen. Is there a place for both?


My copy of Unshelved arrived yesterday. I find it funny and so does my wife. If you have been getting a lift every day from this strip, consider supporting the creator's efforts by getting a copy. A signed copy might also make a nice gift or award.

Also available now is Biblia's Guide to Warrior Librarianship. Humor is a personal thing and this never hit my personal funny bone. If you have reading and finding the WLW funny, vote with your dollars and pick up a copy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Preparing 21st Century Catalogers

ALCTS/ALISE Task Force Releases Proposal for Preparing 21st Century Catalogers

A joint ALCTS/ALISE task force has responded to a call from the Library of Congress to recommend appropriate training and education for bibliographic control of Web resources. The task force report and recommendations are available.

An increasingly common notion is that libraries no longer need catalogers, and library and information schools no longer need to teach cataloging. Yet the need to organize information resources has become more pressing in the last ten years and the options for organizing digital resources have expanded. To address the challenge of cataloging 21st century library materials, the Library of Congress hosted a bicentennial conference on "Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium". John Byrum, chief of the Library of Congress Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, remarking on the genesis of the conference, said "libraries have witnessed an explosion in Web resources and they recognize the need to integrate them into their collections. The conference sought to enable an open discussion and the development of an action plan to pursue."

More than two dozen action items arose from the LC conference and two of them relate to education and training. Due to the strong commitment of ALCTS to the development of librarians engaged in bibliographic control, the Library of Congress asked that ALCTS take a lead role to accomplish these two action items.

As a first step, ALCTS appointed the joint ALCTS/ALISE task force, which also included partners from an OCLC regional network and the Library of Congress. The task force, which was chaired by Beth Picknally Camden of the University of Virginia, engaged principal investigator Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, associate professor of the School of Library and Information Science of the Catholic University of America, to survey ALA-accredited programs and to recommend fresh approaches. Camden notes "Ingrid's survey results and recommendations make a significant contribution to the field. Her research is the foundation of our plan to assist educators and anyone who cares about cataloging and metadata education to prepare for teaching in this area."

The joint task force proposes a five-part plan to help metadata and cataloging educators and trainers: to announce the task force's findings regarding the elements of bibliographic control expertise; to assemble a "metadata basics" package for use by faculty and workshop leaders; to create a listserv for sharing news; to set up a Web clearinghouse for pedagogical resources; and to hold a conference for educators and trainers to share expertise and ideas for integrating metadata topics into courses and workshops.

The next step is to carry out the joint task force's plan. An implementation group has been appointed with members from ALCTS, ALISE, the Library of Congress, OCLC, and other organizations with a stake in supporting metadata and cataloging educators and trainers. Meanwhile, a second ALCTS task force, chaired by Carol Hixson of the University of Oregon, is preparing recommendations for changes and additions to continuing education programs for catalogers. Hixson's task force expects to present its plan for approval at the 2003 ALA annual conference in Toronto.

The ALCTS/ALISE joint task force was appointed by ALCTS-the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association. ALISE-the Association for Library and Information Science Education-provides a forum for library and information science educators to share ideas and to seek solutions to common problems.

For more information, contact Diane Baden of NELINET ( or Olivia Frost of the University of Michigan (

Posted with permission.


MARC 21 LITE is a subset of the MARC21 standard. It is intended to be used when the full MARC21 scheme would be too complex. It could be used by smaller libraries, for bibliographies, or material of an ephemeral nature.
The MARC 21 LITE Bibliographic Format is a subset of the markup defined in the full MARC 21 Bibliographic Format. It includes all essential data elements that are needed to create bibliographic descriptions of information items. It is a true subset of the data elements in the complete MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data and does not collapse or change any data tagging found in the full format. Records using only the elements in this document are valid MARC records and may be integrated with fuller records without alteration. If elements from the full format are needed for special reasons in an implementation, they can always be added to LITE records by the implementer or user.
An overview is MARC 21 Lite?? by Margaret Beecher Maurer in TechKNOW Vol. 9, Issue 2 (May 2003).

This 'Blog

I did not receive any mail this morning from Bloglet, but it shows it is working. I'll give it another day.

The URL does not seem to work as well as If you have bookmarked or are pointing to the former please change it.

Voidstar seems to have gone. If you were getting an RSS feed that has recently stopped working, select another from the Catalogablog page. Both seem to be working and stable.

Subject Access

The Information Management Resource Centre (IMRC) of the Canadian government has a page, Classification, Thesauri and Controlled Vocabularies.
The resources in this section are directed at persons interested in improving the organization and retrieval of information. Classification, thesauri and controlled vocabularies are used to classify and describe information resources, thereby permitting concepts within a particular field of knowledge to be represented in a standard manner that reduces ambiguity for users.
A Canadian and governmental focus, naturally.

Preservation Metadata

New Initiatives for Resource Description and Preservation Metadata is a effort to move MARC into a more flexible structure.
MARC, sitting on a NISO/ISO standard for record structures, has been a sound basis for the development of a very large automated bibliographic infrastructure globally. But the newer XML record structure provides a flexible environment for use and manipulation of data and, especially, for linking data. Providing an evolutionary pathway from MARC "classic" to MARC in an XML structure, and then developing new approaches in the XML side is the topic of this session. A MARC Toolkit is being developed by the Library of Congress (with community collaboration) that contains data transformation components and enables use of Dublin Core, ONIX and other metadata in the MARC environment. It can help standardize the sometimes chaotic metadata landscape. The purpose and uses of a new simplified MARC companion on the XML side, MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema), will also be described.


The Computational Linguistics for Metadata Building (CLiMB) is an interesting research project.
The techniques to be developed in the CLiMB project thus offer the promise not only of improving the creation of descriptive metadata, but also of increasing access. Such metadata will be extracted from text which is in some way associated with an image, either explicitly or by topic. We will collect this metadata to explore its use for image collections. We propose a thorough and ongoing assessment of the metadata and an evaluation of its use within existing platforms.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


It has been a while since the e-mail feature provided by Bloglet has worked. I think I have fixed it. If you use this tool on your 'blog, I fixed it by pointing to the RSS feed rather than the Web page.


I've just cataloged a book that could serve as an example of the worst publishing. Asteroids: Overview, Abstracts and Bibliography seems not to have been proofread at all. It is full of angle brackets and formatting commands and Web links with the coding intact, as it would be seen on the source view of a Web page. I noticed this in just skimming the item as I was cataloging. How could they allow it to be published like this? I tried to leave a comment on their Web site, but their commenting feature is broken.


The METS Implementation Registry contains descriptions of METS projects planned, in progress, and fully implemented. Currently about 20 projects are listed. METS is the Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard.


The Impact of Information Technology on Job Requirements and Qualifications for Catalogers by Zahiruddin Khurshid appeared in the March issue of Information Technology and Libraries.
Information technology (IT) encompassing an integrated library system, computer hardware and software, CD-ROM, Internet, and other domains, including MARC 21 formats, CORC, and metadata standards (Dublin Core, TEI, XML, RDF) has produced far-reaching changes in the job functions of catalogers. Libraries are now coming up with a new set of recruiting requirements for these positions. This paper aims to review job advertisements published in American Libraries (AL) and College and Research Libraries News (C&RL NEWS) to assess the impact of the use of IT in libraries on job requirements and qualifications for catalogers.


The article Unlocking URLs: Extensions, Shortening Options, and Other Oddities by Greg R. Notess describes some of the more obscure forms of URLs. Understanding URLs can be important; there are enough of them in our catalogs. Once we could catalog an item and then go on to another, except for serials. Now we must go back to those records with URLs and check if they are still working. My last check only found 4 problems out of about 1000 links, not bad. However, those catalog records are never finished. When I fix the URL I check to see if the content has been changed as well as the address. The sites that change the content but leave the address the same are currently undetectable. I could use a service that alerts me to changes in a page, but every day I'd get a list of pages with minor changes. Who has time for that? There is not yet an easy answer, but papers that help us understand the structure of the link are valuable.