Friday, July 30, 2004


An Introduction to the Search/Retrieve URL Service (SRU) by Eric Lease Morgan appears in the latest Ariadne.
This article is an introduction to the "brother and sister" Web Service protocols named Search/Retrieve Web Service (SRW) and Search/Retrieve URL Service (SRU) with an emphasis on the later. More specifically, the article outlines the problems SRW/U are intended to solve, the similarities and differences between SRW and SRU, the complimentary nature of the protocols with OAI-PMH, and how SRU is being employed in a sponsored NSF (National Science Foundation) grant called OCKHAM to facilitate an alerting service. The article is seasoned with a bit of XML and Perl code to illustrate the points. The canonical home page describing SRW/U is also a useful starting point.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Understanding Metadata, an introduction to metadata that includes an overview of leading metadata contenders and examples of practical applications, is now available as a free download from the National Information Standards Organization. The publication covers a range of fundamentals, from a definition of metadata and descriptions of the types of metadata, to practical advice on creating metadata and future directions.


In The Pleasure of Finding Things Out Feynman relates how as a boy he developed an interest in the calculus and went to the library to get an introductory text. The librarian informed him that was not something he would understand. He was quick enough to say it was for his father. Stories like this are bad for my teeth, I end up grinding them. I hope this has stopped. It could have been the circulation clerk, since folks often think everybody in the library is a librarian. The clerks should also have the training to let everybody check out whatever interests them. It doesn't matter how available we make things in the catalog if our efforts are sabotaged by misguided but well intentioned staff.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Librarians' Book Club

The book selected for August/September is Envisioning Information.

Open Source OPAC

This was posted on oss4lib
Romano writes: "JOpac2 is a open source project we started in 2002. The idea came out because we need a OPAC able to integrate different data sources without data transformation. For this, JOpac2 is written in Java and is build on a class structure that make easy to load data in any ISO2709 format (ISIS, UNIMARC and text-only if you map it on a ISO2709 structure). JOpac2 is currently used by the University of Trieste for two small catalogs: non SBN data from a old ISIS based system and a journal catalog. Now at v.1.0, we are working for a new release and a loan module."
Seems to be in Italian.


The 2003 edition of the MARC 21 Concise Formats is now available from the Library of Congress. Also, the second edition of Understanding MARC Authority Records is now available from LC. This will be available on-line later in the year.

Remote Resources

I noticed in recent postings on AUTOCAT that the AACR amendments, due soon, will allow description of the collation of remote resources. About time. This is long overdue. Now our patrons can see if that JPEG is 100 KB or 100 MB. That is useful to know before clicking on the link. Also, records missing the collation just look incomplete to me, so I've had a stylistic dislike for this as well as an access concerns.

Now if we could just get AACR to accept the IFLA GMDs for electronic resources. Much more descriptive and useful.

MARC Code Lists

Additions to the MARC Code Lists for Relators, Sources, Description

MARC Relator Codes Additions:

  • cng- Cinematographer [use only after September 27, 2004]
  • vdg - Videographer [use only after September 27, 2004]
MARC Term, Name, Title Sources Addition:
  • icpsr - ICPSR controlled vocabulary system (subfield $2 in Bibliographic and Community Information fields 600-651 [use only after September 27, 2004]

Monday, July 26, 2004


On identifying name equivalences in digital libraries by Dror G. Feitelson appears in Information Research, v. 9, no. 4 (July, 2004)
The services provided by digital libraries can be much improved by correctly identifying variants of the same name. For example, this will allow for better retrieval of all the works by a certain author. We focus on variants caused by abbreviations of first names, and show that significant achievements are possible by simple lexical analysis and comparison of names. This is done in two steps: first a pairwise matching of names is performed, and then these are used to find cliques of equivalent names. However, these steps can each be performed in a variety of ways. We therefore conduct an experimental analysis using two real datasets to find which approaches actually work well in practice. Interestingly, this depends on the size of the repository, as larger repositories may have many more similar names.