Friday, August 13, 2004


Does anyone know of MARC documentation being available as a database or spreadsheet? One of our computer guys would like it in that format. I don't recall ever having seen it like that but that doesn't mean it isn't out there somewhere. I have shown him the DTD for MARCXML at LC but he was having a problem downloading it this morning.

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, now has a Web log with an RSS feed for announcements and other occasional administrative matters. Now you can get notified of new issues via your newsreader.

The RSS feed uses the ATOM format so some older newsreaders may not recognize it as valid RSS. Time to find a new newsreader, if that is the case.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

National Bibliography of U.S. Government Publications

GPO is seeking comments on The National Bibliography of U.S. Government Publications: Initial Planning Statement, June 18, 2004, on GPO Access. To fulfill its statutory mission under 44 U.S.C. Secs. 1710-1711, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) plans to develop a comprehensive and authoritative National Bibliography of U.S. Government Publications.

GPO's is examining ways to improve the comprehensiveness of our cataloging and metadata programs, to enhance the usability of GPO's bibliographic products and services, to operate a standards-based national library quality program, to demonstrate GPO leadership in the bibliographic services arena, and to enhance the public's ability to identify and locate U.S. Government publications.

The comment period has been extended until September 7, 2004. Comments on this document may be sent to Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents,

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


A List Apart (the other ALA) has the article Enhance Usability by Highlighting Search Terms by Brian Suda. That is a nice feature and one I wish all OPACs would employ. We are currently building a Web OPAC from scratch and this is another feature I'm going to add to the list.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Tracking changes is important when content becomes fluid, as it does in digital forms. There have been, for quite some time, Web page watchers that send an e-mail message when a page is updated. WatchThatPage is one example. I use this to keep track on some important Web pages such as the MARC Announcements. Other sites providing the same service are ChangeNotes and WebMon.

Blogs and Wikis use an automated Ping system to inform Web services that changes have been made. WikiPing and Weblogs.Com are the two examples of those systems. There are many more for 'blogs but a simple Web form is available to easily ping all available services.

CVS has been a standard for tracking changes in software. Now there is Subversion, the new publication Version Control with Subversion alerted me to this new tool.

These tools can alert us to changes on a page, but how often should we check to see if they are great enough to change our bibliographic record? With content being so fluid, does it matter, should we leave it to the Web services, or find some means of updating our records via ping? Or do we only consider more document-like resources? Just some random thoughts.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Scout Portal Toolkit

SPT version 1.3.0 has been released, and is now available for download on the Scout web site.

This is a BETA release, which means that it is not recommended for use on a live public site. There are more new features and more new code in this version than usual, but that will probably also mean more new bugs. The previous stable SPT version is still available on the download page.

With this release we have also synchronized the SPT and CWIS version numbers (both are version 1.3.0) to reduce confusion between versions.

Highlights of the release include:

  • support for OAI sets
  • support for customizable templates for saved search e-mails
  • ability to export Tree, Controlled Name, and Option values
  • increased field size for adding/editing classifications
  • importing of data now translates \t and \n (tab and newline) to literal values
  • new optional unique field for data import


Just a personal comment about my use of e-mail. Back in the late 80's early 90's I thought e-mail was the best form of communication in most instances and was thrilled with the ease and usefulness of the format. Then spam happened. This morning I had 3 spam messages for every real message. This is destroying the medium. If anyone wishes to contact me by e-mail here are some things to avoid, all are deleted before opening.
  • No subject
  • Vague subject
  • Exclamation points in subject
  • Attachments (folks attaching a v-card might want to reconsider that practice)
  • Misspellings in subject
  • Very poor grammar in subject
  • Hidden address in From field
  • Cute/Hype address in From field
  • Most Subject fields beginning Re: ... if I can not remember sending a message with that particular subject.
  • Any message marked urgent
If everybody received 3 telemarketing phone calls for each personal call or 3 spam IM messages for every real one I don't know if those formats could survive or if it would be allowed to continue. Something has got to be done. For a while I was using Spambayes and found it a good beginning but my current setup at work does not permit it to be used. So I mass delete based on the From field and the Subject field.