Friday, September 05, 2003


Sometimes it is useful to verify an ISBN. Some online verifiers are:

Bar Codes

It time again to mention BarCode-1, a good 1st stop for all things barcode.
Welcome to BarCode-1, your one source for bar code information. BarCode-1 is an Adams Communications World Wide Web publication and has been running since November 1, 1994.

Here you get unbiased information much like you find in a magazine. We don't sell any bar code products. We offer information about bar code free of charge.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Bates Task Force 2.3 Review

A few days ago, I mentioned the Bates Task Force 2.3 Review. I've now had the chance to read it, and it was well worth the time spent.

Something new to me was the 1:30 ratio humans like when dealing with information. When looking at a short title list we like to see about 30 times more information when we select an item. Some examples from the report:

  • A book title is 1/30 the length of the TOC.
  • The TOC is 1/30 the back index.
  • An abstract is 1/30 the length of the item
Interesting and important for the developers of OPACs.

In the initial Library catalog screen (p. 44) "Browse Library Classification system" is an option. Yes. We have the LC classification in MARC. Present folks with a tree structure of the scheme and let them drill down. Have it searchable and linked to the LSCH records. If a patron searches planet Mars they should receive a link to QB641.

I'm not sure most users would understand the co-indexing function. Perhaps a better wording or catch phrase would help. My eyes were glazing over reading the description at the bottom of page 45.

The suggestion that institutions try to bring order to one bibliographical family (or work in FRBR terms) sounds workable. It could have some useful results and the effort would be valid research.

Cluster vocabularies are an interesting idea. Not sure, that basing one on a commercial product is the way to go. The work of Lee and Dubin might offer some options for automation of the process.

Bates provides Amazon as a model for access. While they have done many things right there are other bibliographic databases that are innovative and deserve mention. The NASA Astrophysical Data Service, I feel, would be a better model.

This is an interesting and important report, worth reading all 50+ pages. It should be required for all cataloging classes.

The times they are a'changing

The latest Beloit College Mindset List is now available. Always fun.


A classification scheme for industrial designs, the the Locarno Classification. This is used in most of the world. In the U.S. we use the trademark classification from the Patent Office.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

This 'Blog

Bloglet has begun working again. That is the service that e-mails postings from web logs each night. No need to visit a site, a good option for folks who like e-mail. However, this summer it has provided erratic service, not so nice. Since it is a free service out of my control, I can't complain too much. I've decided no longer to have a box to subscribe. I've replaced it with one for Blogarithm.

This free service, not in my control, will send an e-mail providing a link to a 'blog that has been updated, but not the postings. I've used it for quite some time and have found it to be stable. I've not received spam from either service. Use either if you find them useful. Check out Keeping Current: Advanced Internet Strategies to Meet Librarian and Patron Needs by Steven M. Cohen to see if he has something to say about either.

Dublin Core

The DC-2003 Conference now has abstracts available online.


Bibliographic records in the computer age by Alan Danskin and Ann Chapman appears in the Sept. issue of Library + Information Update
The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records set out to update the cataloguing model for the computer age. Ironically, however, by advocating a departure from the straitjacket of the 5x3 card, FRBR marks a return to an earlier tradition of cataloguing, in which the catalogue rather than the record is seen as the end product. The combination of the FRBR structure with modern computer systems offers enormous potential for improving the efficiency of resource discovery. But the benefits this confers are being weighed with the costs of implementation, in particular of retrospective implementation. People are looking into this whole area, but this remains an area in which more research and application studies would be welcome.

Hackfest 2003

Seen at usr/lib/info
You are all cordially invited to participate in the Access 2003 Hackfest, the second incarnation of what proved last year to be an exciting new highlight of an always exceptional conference.

This year's Hackfest brings a new format: the entire day (October 1, 2003) before the beginning of the main conference track will be devoted to Hackfest activities, with two entire computer labs rented nearby for twelve hours just for the occasion. Also, we're hoping to bring a broader contingent of folks into the event, including as many non-technical people as possible. There will be plenty of hacker-types around, too, but all through last year's event participants wished more people with primary responsibilities in reference, cataloging, and administrative roles (rather than systems) were present. Like last year, hackfest participants will present their projects during a session on the last day of the conference. So come one, come all!


VIAF: The Virtual International Authority File is a joint project of OCLC with the Library of Congress and Die Deutsche Bibliothek.
Once the existing authority records are linked, shared OAI servers will be established to maintain the authority files and to provide user access to the files.
  • Users then will be able to see names displayed in the most appropriate language.
    • For example, German users will be able to see a name displayed in the form established by the Die Deutsche Bibliothek, while
    • American users will view the name as established by LC.
    • Users in either country will be able to view name records as established by the other nation, thus making the authorities truly international and facilitating research across languages anywhere in the world.
This is something Barbara Tillett has advocated for years. Good to see her efforts are paying off.


Review of current practices and state of the art, a report from The European Library (TEL) is available.
The report contributes to the general review phase of the TEL project. It combines a review of the state of the art, based on desk research, with a survey of current practices among the partners. Special attention has been paid to recommendations regarding metadata for digital publications that have been made by various European library projects, international web consortia and national activities.

The core of the report consists of an analysis of responses to a questionnaire, which deals with various aspects of metadata, such as terminology, creation, availability, exchangeability and linking mechanisms. This analysis is matched with findings from the desk research, which results in numerous recommendations.

The report shows that there are many differences among the TEL partners regarding the creation and use of metadata for electronic publications. There are many issues to be resolved, to be able to reach interoperability within the TEL testbed. There is not enough consensus yet to be able to identify now a core metadata scheme for TEL. The report concludes with various issues that need to be dealt with before a common metadata model can be identified.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Readers Advisory

An excellent article Taking Back Readers' Advisory by Barbara Hoffert appears in the current Library Journal. This is an important service to our communities.

While nothing can replace reference staff trained in RA, we can ensure our records help the reader. Most cataloger users appreciate summaries or abstracts. We should try to get them for as many titles as possible. Maybe the annotation that is written for the Web site reading list should also be included in the bib record? How about linking to on-line reviews? Table of contents information can help our readers. GSAFD? These are just a few ideas off the cuff. RA responsibility does not stop at the "Staff Only" door.

The Web presence for annotated lists should consider some content management systems, like Movable Type. These blogging tools can make the lists available to our patrons on the Web, via e-mail and RSS. Patrons can decide the format that suits them, which is always a good idea. The archiving function will be helpful. The creation tools make it easier to get it up and available. Could be a good fit.

Digital Libraries

Papers from the NSF Post Digital Library Futures are available. Some of the papers are:
  • Douglas W. Oard, Transforming Access to the Spoken Word
  • Bob Englund, Digital Libraries, Cultural Heritage and Interpol
  • Bruce R. Schatz, Navigating the Distributed World of Community Knowledge
  • Christine L. Borgman, Personal digital libraries: Creating individual spaces for innovation
  • Clifford Lynch, Reflections Towards the Development of a “Post-DL” Research Agenda
  • Eric Miller, Enabling the Semantic Web for Scientific Research And Collaboration


The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication by Rachel Singer Gordon will soon be available.


The new issue of Info Career Trends is now available. Articles include:
  1. Editor's Note
  2. Career Q&A From the Library Job People
  3. Taking the Independent Research Plunge
  4. Branching Out by Working Abroad
  5. Branching Out With Creativity
  6. 21st-Century Archivist
  7. Paths to Becoming an Army Librarian
  8. What's Online? Recommended Resources
  9. But I Want To Hold It In My Hand! Print Resources


The MARC Tag of the Month at Follett this month is a sample record for a videocassette.