Thursday, June 12, 2003


Any long time reader knows, I think the must underused useful MARC field is 024, Other Standard Identifier. Just for fun while I'm on vacation there is a poll on the field. Just go to the bottom of this page and vote.

See you in a while. I don't expect to post much, if any, for the next week.


The Structure of content and metadata is a glossary of some terms used by the community. Not definitive definitions, but some interesting thoughts and ideas. Seen on Column Two.


Can't find a favourite file? Apply some human logic to your computer by Graeme Philipson deals with taxonomy. "One of the most important things about any body of knowledge is its taxonomy: how it is structured and how its different components relate to each other." Seen on Column Two.

Sandy Berman

This is copied from LIS News, there are also some interesting comments including one by Sandy. Posted with permission.

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Last summer one of the worst disasters in post-WWII librarianship took place at the Hennepin County Library - Charles Brown decided to end using the Berman/Freedman Bibliographic Database founded by current ALA prez Mitch Freedman and built by HCL head cataloger Sandy Berman and his staff. I started a petition to save it. Subsequently HCL and the University of Illinois recently signed the legal documents that provides access to the database to the public thru the ALA Archives housed at UI.

Chris Prom, the assistant university archivist, is in charge of the transfer. He recently told me that anyone who is willing to sign the sub-licensing agreement can send a CD-R to him and he will return a copy of the database. You can reach him at: He will be sending out a public press release by the beginning of July. I am just writing this as the person who worked with Casey Hill at New Pages, creating a petition signed by more than 100 librarians and others from around the world. I have also been asking Mr. Charles Brown and his staff about gaining the access they promised a year ago. Given what they have done to Sandy - like discard all of his books from their collection, hire expensive private investigators to find out WHO discarded them, and eventually finding NO ONE - all this after they forced him to retire (see Revolting Librarians Redux for the full story plus a state-of-the-library article by Berman)- I have no reason to believe anything they say. Luckily Chris Prom is not like those people.

My copy was mailed by Mr. Prom today - Monday, June 9th. I have no idea how I will use it - but I will. Hopefully thousands of people, including catalogers, will acquire their own copies, and somehow use his patron-friendly subject indexing to continue the work that Berman and Freedman began so long ago. I know that LC catalogers continue to totally ignore Sandy's many suggestions - they won't respond to his letters in any way. They did create a new subject heading last summer in record time - mountaintop removal mining - after Sandy, myself, and other anti- MTR people in Appalachia wrote LC.

Congrats to Chris Prom, the University of Illinois Archive (also for hosting the Sandy Berman website) and Madeline Douglas, the webmaster, for fighting for Sandy - the librarian who fought for us all.

At the same time as we applaud the rescue of the databases, we should also encourage UI to make them accessible on-line as an OPAC with the bibliographic database and authority file interacting."


The 7th edition of Understanding MARC Bibliographic is now available from the Library of Congress. In a single publication, Understanding MARC Bibliographic defines MARC records and provides useful information needed to evaluate them. It also provides descriptions of several commonly-used MARC fields, helpful examples of MARC records and definitions of commonly-used MARC terms.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


This notice was sent to OCLCCAT. It ties in with the post from yesterday about issues to consider in the change.

Change in Connexion client and end of life for Passport/Cataloging dates

The Windows-based Connexion client interface is currently in field test, and we have discovered some performance issues related to response time which do not meet the criteria that OCLC cataloging members have come to expect. Improving the response time for both the client and browser interfaces is a top priority for OCLC staff. Because we want you to have a positive experience when you migrate to the client, OCLC has decided to delay the release of the client interface. At this time, we expect the first release of the client (online cataloging functionality without NACO) to be in the September/October 2003 timeframe. Since our top priority with both the Connexion client and browser is providing adequate performance levels, we will not be able to move all Passport functionality to Connexion in the schedule previously outlined. As a result, OCLC will extend the life of Passport for cataloging past the previously announced end of life date of December 31, 2003. The new end of life date for Passport for cataloging will depend on the release dates for the first and second phases of the client. OCLC will provide at least a six month notice of the new end of life date.

At this time, we are focussing on Passport functionality, and we have not finalized the plans for migrating CatME functionality. No end of life date has been set for CatME. The third phase of the client will include offline local files, batch functionality, and other CatME-like features. More information about phase 3 and the end of life for CatME will be announced at a later time.

Web Seminar

Dynix is sponsoring another free Web seminar. I caught part of the last one, on selecting an ILS. PowerPoint slides are sent to your screen and the voice is carried by a phone line. There is a form to send a question to the presenter and some buttons to indicate volume is too low or loud. This will never replace an in-person presentation, but is good when that is not possible.
Digital Campus Architecture -- Trends and Issues
June 17, 2003 9 AM Mountain

This seminar will examine portals and explore the architecture that is required to support a dynamic and diverse campus. Join John Fowler in his focus on the building blocks that surround Web Services Architecture and relationships between other on-campus applications and resources.


The Access 2003 Conference is coming up on Oct. 1 to 4 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Access is one of the premier technical conferences for libraries.

The theme for this year's conference is "Extending Our Abilities", focusing on using technologies to extend the capabilities of libraries in new and creative ways. The conference will feature leading-edge presentations, Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) sessions, and a pre-conference Hackfest.

I've never been, but this sounds like a wonderful conference. Some useful work is done at the Hackfest. Presentations from last year give a good idea of the conference.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


The Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR (JSC) Format Variation Working Group Update for MARBI is now available. It will be presented in a meeting of the MARC Advisory Committee on June 22, 2003 in Toronto, Canada.

The updated agenda for that meeting is available online


The latest Fedlink Technical Notes Newsletter has the article "Choosing a Migration from OCLC Passport for OCLC Cataloging" on page 4. It contains some useful things to consider before making the move.
Are you still using Passport for cataloging? Should you migrate to OCLC CatME or to the Connexion Browser? What about the Connexion Client? This information will lead you down the right migration path.
The issue also has an article on JSTOR.


This Friday, June 13, I'm off to Mass. for vacation. Still looking for someone to cover cataloging news for the week I'm gone. Any takers? Ian, are you willing again? Still open to any suggestions on things to do and see in the greater Boston area. Anyone reading from that area have any suggestions? Drop me a note.

Monday, June 09, 2003


I've pointed to the PowerPoint presentation, bibliography and examples for the talk The Catalog vs. The Homepage: Best Practices in Connecting to Online Resources, by Georgia Briscoe, Karen Selden, and Cheryl Nyberg. Now they have published it as a paper in Law Library Journal Vol. 95:2.
Connecting users to the best available sources of legal information is one of the traditional functions of the law library. These sources now include Web sites, electronic journals, and subscription databases. This article explores the best way to bring these useful Internet resources to the attention of users, concentrating on the pros and cons of using the catalog or the home page.

Web Standards

An interview with the developer of TypePad appears on A List Apart (the other ALA). TypePad has been designed to generate standards-compliant sites, and the application itself is built with web standards.
TypePad is a personal publishing service that combines easy tools for creating weblogs, photo blogs, photo albums, and all the other pieces of a full-featured personal website with hosting and maintenance and updates of the software.

Subject Reference Structures

The SAC Subcommittee on Subject Reference Structures in Automated Systems has a final draft of their working document "Report of the SAC Subcommittee on Subject Reference Structures in Automated Systems: Recommendations for providing access to, display of, navigation within and among, and modifications of existing practice regarding subject reference structures in automated systems"
The subcommittee concentrated on maximizing the use of existing subject reference structures in automated systems; we tried to avoid recommendations that would require major restructuring of existing subject reference structures. We envision these recommendations as appropriate for system designers and also for institutions making choices among systems, customizing systems, and requesting enhancements to existing systems. We have also included two recommendations aimed, not at system designers or implementers, but at the portion of the library community responsible for setting policies and practices regarding the creation of MARC 21 authority records.