Friday, March 05, 2004

Fun with Metadata

D'Arcy Norman's Learning Commons Weblog contains the post Fun with Metadata about iPhoto's metadata.
I'm one of those people who firmly believe that metadata is important, but only if it is relatively invisible. It needs to be there, but can't get in the way.


The cool thing about iPhoto is that it works just fine straight out of the box, with nothing added. I don't have to add any more metadata, or spend any time organizing anything, and I'll still find iPhoto useful.

However, it really starts to sing if I take a small amount of time and massage the metadata (add titles rather than using the filename generated by my camera).

It seems folks other than librarian find metadata useful and are thinking and writing about it.

IFLA, Bibliography Section

Review of activities 2003-2004 by Bohdana Stoklasova and Talbott Huey of IFLA's Bibliography Section has been posted to the IFLA Web site. The section
furthers universal bibliographic control (UBC) by promoting standards and best practices in the production, content, arrangement, dissemination, and preservation of bibliographic information. In the context of UBC the Section is particularly concerned with the work of national bibliographic agencies. It is also concerned with the promotion of the importance of the discipline of bibliography to library professionals in all types of libraries, to publishers, distributors and retailers, and to end-users. While taking full account of technological capabilities, the Section will ensure that its solutions are not necessarily dependent on particular technologies.

Library Juice

Library Juice is always an interesting read. This issue contains:
  • COLUMBIA LIBRARY SCHOOL (Melvil Dewey's report, 1887)
  • Stay Free!/Illegal Art told to "cease and desist"
  • Mainstream Media Fails Itself (Peter Phillips on Haiti reporting)
  • International Congress of Information - Info'2004 in Havana

Happy Birthday

Now We Are Two. Two years ago I started Catalogablog. I saw it as an experiment in blogging, a possible way to keep in touch with news in cataloging and a way of archiving items of interest. It is still an experiment, though less so. I have found that posting items does make them stick in my mind slightly better, so it has succeeded as a method of tracking the news. It is better than hundreds of bookmarks for keeping track of past items, but it is not ideal. I'm still in need of a good supplemental memory.

As a secondary reason for beginning the 'blog I hoped doing a bit of writing every day would improve my writing skills. I'm not so sure that has happened. Feedback is important for change and this medium does not provide much.

My name is out there, for better or worse. I'll be speaking on blogging at a conference this Fall. I've been asked to do some writing on 'blogs. Strange, it is the blogging not the cataloging that I've been asked to speak and write on. I know there are many people more qualified to speak on cataloging. Maybe the number of folks available to speak on blogging is smaller.

This has been an interesting two years. I think it has been a good investment of my time. I hope you have enjoyed the long strange trip as well.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Cataloging Principles

The Greek translation of the "Frankfurt Draft Principles" have been posted on the IFLA website.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


All too often I hear that MARC is dead or something similar. And all too often it is based on a poor understanding of the topic. However, I've just read several criticisms of MARC that are based on reality. In Putting XML to Work in the Library by Miller and Clarke they discuss several flaws in MARC that are there. Just how important those problems are and if XML is the best solution may be open for debate but at least they understand MARC. See pages 102-116.

Metadata Object Description Schema

Version 3.0 of the MODS user guidelines are now available.

This document is a comprehensive guide to the use of MODS data elements. It should be used in conjunction with the MODS mappings and the Outline of elements and attributes. It includes introductory information about MODS and XML schemas, descriptions of all MODS elements with updated examples, a MODS "lite" for shorter MODS records, a few full record examples (more will be added soon) and an index of elements by element name.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons RDF-enhanced search-engine displays the rights and restrictions Web sites have in their CC metadata. Check your site to ensure it is being read properly. The add a URL function is there if your site is missing.

Does the institution you work for use a CC license on their Web site? I'd like to hear from you, especially if you are in NASA or a space science research institution. I'd like to get some examples of sites using this to convince our computer center that it is something we should investigate.


The Library Link of the Day points to Adding Substance, Not Just Frills, to a Library's Online Catalog by Janet L. Balas in Computers in Libraries
Integrating enhanced content and electronic resources into the OPAC is a trend that librarians cannot afford to dismiss. However, it is not enough to just add content or resources without determining if they actually provide good service to the OPAC users. Some enhancements can be absolutely worthless.

Tag of the Month

The latest Tag of the Month from Follett is a MARC Record Sample -- Cartographic Material -- Atlas. Once again, I'm not happy with the 0XX fields and the missing 255. However, it does give a starting place to construct a record.

Windows Tools

About a year ago I wrote about Konfabulator a nifty tool for creating small applications in OS X. I wished the same existed for Windows, since so many of our users have that platform.

Well, it does and has existed, I just never bumped into it. DesktopX has around 1,400 desktop objects available to download.

You can also build and download desktop themes with DesktopX, and you can turn your computer into a lockable desktop environment (perfect for building an Internet kiosk). Did we mention it's free?

The free version includes authoring tools so you can create objects, scriptable via VBScript or JavaScript.

Are any of those 1400 apps library related? Should they be?

Metadata for Digital Still Images

Automatic Exposure - Capturing Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images is an RLG
Initiative, supported by the Consortium for Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI), the Digital Library Federation (DLF), and the Museum Computer Network (MCN).
The RLG initiative Automatic Exposure – Capturing Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images seeks to minimize the cost of technical metadata acquisition and maximize the cultural heritage community's capability of ensuring long-term access to digital assets. The goal of the initiative is to lower the barrier for institutions to capture the data elements proposed by NISO Z39.87: Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images [Draft Standard for Trial Use].1 NISO Z39.87 defines a standard, comprehensive set of data elements key to an institution's ability to manage and preserve its digital images.

Monday, March 01, 2004


The new issue of Info Career Trends is now out. It includes:
  1. Career Q&A From the Library Career People (moving from special to academic librarianship)
  2. Reach Out to Give Back
  3. Giving Back to the Next Generation
  4. Mentoring Tenure-Track Librarians
  5. Supporting the LIS Field: The Personal Development Payback
  6. Giving Back
  7. What's Online? Recommended
  8. But I Want To Hold It In My Hand! Reviews: Keeping Current and Straight From the Stacks
As always, worth reading.

Top Technology Issues

At ALA, Joan Frye Williams, Clifford Lynch, Walt Crawford, Roy Tennant, Thomas Dowling, Tom Wilson, and Marshall Breeding meet to discuss the top technology issues. Here is their list
  1. XML and Interoperability
  2. RFID
  3. Copyright
  4. Metasearching
  5. OPACs and User Behavior
  6. Policies and Technology
  7. User Interface Design
  8. Security, Digital Rights Management
Several of these are of concern to catalogers and we should be in the midst of the discussions. It seems to me XML and Interoperability, Metasearching, OPACs and User Behavior and User Interface Design fall within our scope, at least. Who ever thought cataloging was a dying profession?

Web Standards

The Code Style site is a useful place for Web site developers. It covers both formal and informal standards, those things that can make your site more accessible to more readers.
The Code Style Web site aims to answer key questions for Web developers. Which Web fonts are most common? What is the best way to use media dependent stylesheets? How can I design more robust, accessible Websites?
Worth a bookmark, if you have some Web responsibilities.


The Open Archival Information System Reference Model: Introductory Guide by Brian Lavoie is a useful introduction and survey of this preservation model. The 20 page PDF file did take a while to load, give it time, it is worth the wait. (Do not confuse OAI and OAIS).
The significance attached to OAIS compliance, both now and in the future, ultimately rests on whether it produces a tangible impact on stakeholder confidence in a digital archive’s ability to meet its preservation objectives. Libraries, museums, and other collecting institutions, for example, are faced with the prospect of entrusting irreplaceable portions of the scholarly and cultural record to digital archiving systems whose capacity to provide effective long-term stewardship is as yet unproven. Does OAIS compliance make this decision easier? At this stage in the reference model’s development, a tentative “yes” seems appropriate. The OAIS reference model has been quite successful in consolidating understanding of the fundamental requirements for securing the long-term persistence of digital materials. A shared perception of these requirements is a necessary condition for building well-understood, sustainable, and ultimately, trusted digital archiving systems.