Friday, September 19, 2003

Subject Headings

The paper "Subject headings for OCLC rare book records: a case study" by Edna McClellan appears in the latest OCLC Systems & Services v. 19 no. 3.
This study presents an overview of the quality of 232 OCLC rare book cataloging records. Of the 232 records, 31 that needed subject headings were not provided with any. A total of 791 headings, including main headings (428) and subdivision headings (363), were examined and 69 discrepancies were found. The discrepancies were mainly obsolete headings. The error rate was 9 per cent. Only one typographical error was found. Moreover, 95 per cent (191) of the 201 records had been replaced at least once but the discrepancy rate remained very high at 8 per cent. Since the records examined were not randomly selected and the sample size was small, the result of this study cannot be generalized. However, the overall results indicate that the quality of OCLC rare book records need attention as much as, if not more than, other records.

Movable Type

The folks using Movable Type have the ability to use categories, one reason I keep thinking of moving to that tool. Now the categories can have a hierarchical structure thanks to the plugin by Chad Everett. I find a tree structure is a handy way to move through data. Now MT users can provide that option to their users.

IMS VDEX authoring tool

An Open Source IMS VDEX authoring tool is now available.
The core functionality of the tool is the authoring of VDEX encoded vocabularies, which should make the creation and re-use of application profiles (adaptations of a standard for a particular community's needs) quite a bit easier. 'Reload+VDEX' also allows authors and cataloguers of learning objects to explore VDEX encoded vocabularies for inclusion in the metadata of the object.

The browsing functionality represents quite an improvement to the learning object workflow: application profile specific vocabularies can simplify the huge amount of choices the LOM represents, and the structure and 'human friendly' descriptions that are supported by IMS VDEX make it easier to work with unfamiliar vocabularies.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Ontology Tool

Protege-2000 is an open source tool for working with ontologies. Looks very slick and stable.
Protege-2000 is:
  • a tool which allows the user to:
    • construct a domain ontology
    • customize data entry forms
    • enter data
  • a platform which can be extended with graphical widgets for tables, diagrams, animation components to access other knowledge-based systems embedded applications;
  • a library which other applications can use to access and display knowledge bases.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

MARC Records

Cornell University has announced that catalog records for the Cornell Digital Math Books Collection are now available. The records include durable links that allow free online viewing. The set of 511 MARC records the collection is now available via a downloading site.

Details about the Cornell project.

The University of Michigan Historical Mathematics Collection also has a MARC record set available for downloading.

Very nice. Cornell also has 2 other sets of MARC record sets there for downloading. This is such a good idea. Their work in digitizing and cataloging the collection pays dividends since more institutions provide access to the materials via their catalog. The Math folks must be very happy.

Controlled Vocabularies

Synonym Rings and Authority Files by Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel is part 3 in their series on controlled vocabularies and faceted classification.
Synonym rings and authority files are simple, common-sense ways to help users connect the various semantic concepts that are inherently intertwined with the term they choose. They are particularly good for large decentralized sites that are search dominant and have little centralized control over content.

Most of us know by now that users tend to use a small number of words for each search. They should not be forced to consider all the synonyms their search terms might have. Tim Bray said it well: 'If you need to know about cow farming, you're probably also searching for cattle ranching, beef (or dairy) production, and Kuhbauernhof, whether you know it or not."

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


"An XML document repository: A new home for University at Buffalo, library systems" by Mark Ludwig appears in Library Hi Tech News vol. 20 no. 6 (2003) I first heard Mark describe this at a LITA Forum a few years back and it blew my mind. The millions of Web pages catalog, University at Buffalo XML Public Catalog is described.
The long-hyped application of XML technology to large library catalogs is finally becoming reality. XML and the model of a documentbase provide a completely new and upscale approach to library systems. It is finally possible to create catalogs that are natively Web-based and not purveyed through the facade of an interface.

Dublin Core

The status report of the DCMI is now available. It has been a busy year.

Classification has been linking to classification systems lately.

Open Source

An interesting project, Bibliographic.
This project intends to provide a comprehensive and high quality bibliographic function within OpenOffice. The planned bibliographic function will utilize the latest open standards and will make the fullest use of emerging XML technology.


If the project's objectives were achieved, it would then be possible to convert a scientific, technical or academic paper to the style required by a different journal, simply by selecting the required style convention and then generating the new version. So far as we know, the only WYSIWYG word processor that provides these features is Nota Bene, it is a good example of the type of Bibliographic and word processing integration we would like to achieve with OpenOffice.


Generation of XML Records across Multiple Metadata Standards by Kimberly S. Lightle and Judith S. Ridgway appears in the Sept. issue of D-Lib Magazine.
This paper describes the process that Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) staff went through to develop crosswalks between metadata based on three different standards and the generation of the corresponding XML records. ENC needed to generate different flavors of XML records so that metadata would be displayed correctly in catalog records generated through different digital library interfaces. The crosswalk between USMARC, IEEE LOM, and DC-ED is included, as well as examples of the XML records.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Houston Area

The University of North Texas, School of Library and Information Science alumni are having a Houston gathering.

October 11, 2003, 6:30 p.m.
Buca di Beppo
5192 Buffalo Speedway

If you are a prospective student, dinner is free. This is a good program. I appreciate that in the early 90's they began a distance program here in Houston and I could stop the 150 mile drive to Austin to take a class.

It does fall on Sukkot, I think.


The weekend I began reading Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles, the September selection of the Librarian's Book Club. One thing it drove home was that large libraries attract destruction. Those seeking religious purity or political power find a larger centralized collection an easy target. Natural disasters can also wipe out a great collection.

A better option for preservation is small widely dispersed collections. If the library at Alexandria had not stolen the text from the ships in the harbor more might have survived. The LOCKSS project is an important step in the right direction. They are attempting to create multiple digital repositories of journal articles. The Bush/Scowcroft article is an example of the problem with a centralized database. The delete button is just too tempting to use. Our digital libraries will have serious challenges to their integrity if they rely on outside sources for content.

Revisionist History

Rewriting history is an important aspect of political control. Electronic versions only make this easier. Something we should keep in mind as we move towards the all digital future. Case in point, Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft published an article titled "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" in Time Magazine March 2, 1998. That article has disappeared from the online archives.


The Dewey pages have been redesigned and some have moved. Both New and changed entries and LCSH/DDC numbers of interest have new locations.

Cites & Insights

Now available: Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large v. 3 no. 12 (whole issue #41, a milestone issue), October 2003.

The 20-page issue (PDF as usual) includes:

  • Mini-Perspectives: 41 at 58
  • First Have Something to Say: Chapter 18: Hiding Behind PowerPoint
  • The Library Stuff (two items)
  • The Censorware Chronicles
  • The Good Stuff (four items)
  • Mini-Perspectives 2: 41 at 58, Continued


If anyone from L520 - Bibliographic Access and Control - Crosby, selects to monitor this 'blog, please drop me a copy of your review. I'd be interested in your opinions.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Frodo and Bilbo.