Friday, June 18, 2004

Describing Cultural Objects

Cataloguing Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Objects and Their Images by the Visual Resources Association.
Over the last decade, many organizations and agencies have been working toward the development of data standards for creating descriptions of and retrieving information about cultural objects. Data standards not only promote the consistent recording of information; they are fundamental to the efficient retrieval of information. They promote data sharing, improve the management of content, and reduce redundancy of effort. In time, the accumulation of consistently documented records across multiple repositories will increase access to content by maximizing research results. Ultimately, uniform documentation will promote the creation of a body of cultural heritage information that will greatly enhance research and teaching in the arts and humanities.
This is a draft, VRA would appreciate comments.

Catalog Enrichment

Dr. Klaus Graf commented about catalog enrichment and points to a Wiki page, in German, listing catalog enrichment efforts in many countries. If you are involved in such an effort post a link to your project. It is also useful to see what others are doing outside the US.

I'm posting this because this is such a useful resource and anyone getting posts via e-mail or RSS would miss his comment.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Houston Tex. Area

An announcement and a question for those in the greater Houston Area.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute will be holding Space Day this Sat. Info towards the bottom of the page.

Anyone aware of hoop dancing in this area? Looks like fun. I'm not ready for it yet, still recovering from the accident, but it would be something to look forward to trying. My wife and I tried a "balance and swing" a basic contra move, recently and we were pretty slow and I had some pain. The skips in English Country would also be a bit much now. Hoop dancing looks a bit easier, at least to my limited knowledge.

Catalog Enrichment

This month Roy Tennant discusses Enriching the Catalog in Library Journal. Some very exciting work is being done and soon to see light.


Managing Content with Automatic Document Classification by Rafael A. Calvo, Jae-Moon Lee, and Xiaobo Li appears in Journal of Digital Information, vol. 5, no. 2.
News articles and Web directories represent some of the most popular and commonly accessed content on the Web. Information designers normally define categories that model these knowledge domains (i.e. news topics or Web categories) and domain experts assign documents to these categories. The paper describes how machine learning and automatic document classification techniques can be used for managing large numbers of news articles, or Web page descriptions, lightening the load on domain experts.
Seen on ResourceShelf.


The June issue of the OLAC Newsletter, v. 24, no. 2, is now available online. It can be found on the OLAC Website in two versions:


The latest issue of the Plain Text Gazette is now available. The focus of this issue is "bad language in the public domain" but others sectors can apply the ideas as well.


RSS: Less hype, more action by Roddy MacLeod is a very useful introductory article about RSS.
There are several practical ways in which the LIS community can both exploit the content of RSS, and improve their services through the presentation and re-presentation of RSS feeds. These do not amount to a revolution, but rather represent a step on the path to better information services, and one which takes advantage of advances in technology.

Dublin Core

The Usage Board is pleased to announce the approval of two new terms with the status of "conforming":
  • License - "A legal document giving official permission to do something with the resource."
  • Rights Holder - "A person or organization owning or managing rights over the resource."
The full text of the decision is available.

These terms were proposed by Stuart Weibel, Andy Powell, and Eric Miller to meet the basic needs of identifying a license associated with a resource and identifying (or naming) a person or organization holding rights over the resource. Users are cautioned that given the DCMI model of a resource with properties, there is no implied or inherent relationship between a License and a Rights Holder.

The Usage Board recognizes that meeting these basic needs may be insufficient for many applications, and the approval of these two terms is not intended to preclude the use of more sophisticated solutions for describing rights.

The new terms will be described in DCMI Metadata Terms and related documents, as well as in RDF and XML schemas provided by DCMI.

Metadata Interoperability

SIMILE is a joint project conducted by the W3C, HP, MIT Libraries, and MIT CSAIL. SIMILE seeks to enhance inter-operability among digital assets, schemata, metadata, and services. A key challenge is that the collections which must inter-operate are often distributed across individual, community, and institutional stores. We seek to be able to provide end-user services by drawing upon the assets, schemata, and metadata held in such stores.

SIMILE will leverage and extend DSpace, enhancing its support for arbitrary schemata and metadata, primarily though the application of RDF and semantic web techniques. The project also aims to implement a digital asset dissemination architecture based upon web standards. The dissemination architecture will provide a mechanism to add useful "views" to a particular digital artifact (i.e. asset, schema, or metadata instance), and bind those views to consuming services.

Interesting work.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Is anyone using a script to take the results for an OAI search and turn it into a the skeleton of a MARC record? OAI is based on the Dublin Core, so the crosswalk is there. There are some rich bibliographical databases available via OAI, so the resources are there. The XML version of a record seems simple enough for even a script kitty to write some Perl to change it into basic MARC. It could save some typing or even be used to add minimal level records to a catalog.

To see the raw XML do a search at MyOAI and just select XML view for any result.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Detailed Dates

Results for How often do you use a detailed date in 008?
  • 42% - Whenever the information is available (13 votes)
  • 10% - Only in certain cases (3 votes)
  • 16% - Never (5 votes)
  • 32% - What is an 008 (10 votes)
I was surprised that the majority use them some or all the time. I don't often bump into them in records.

The poll had a comment about creating full rich records the first time. In theory I agree. However, there are circumstances when less then full records are all that is required. For example, here at the Lunar and Planetary Institute I give full cataloging to most Q and T materials. I don't spend much time on the computer manuals like PowerPoint for Dummies. It is not important to our collections and will likely be weeded when the next presentation software is bought. Items like that I generally accept without any checking or enrichment. Just a matter priorities and very real time constraints.

Cataloging Service Bulletin

I've received the latest edition of the Cataloging Service Bulletin.

The subject heading Bildungsroman has been changed to the plural form. While they were at it, why not change to something users can understand and spell? Coming of age stories, for instance.


ETD2MARC: A semiautomated workflow for cataloging electronic theses and dissertations by Brian E. Surratt and Dustin Hill appears in Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services vol. 28, no. 2, (Summer 2004) pp. 205-223.
This article describes a semiautomated workflow for cataloging electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). A perl script is used to query the metadata in an institutional ETD database and create a machine-readable cataloging (MARC) record for each ETD. The MARC records are imported into the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) WorldCat database using the Connexion service, proofread, updated, and exported to the local catalog. Topics discussed are the cataloging decisions that were made prior to the creation of the script, the benefits, and limitations of this workflow, future applications of the workflow, and future opportunities for research.