Friday, December 03, 2004


The NISO Newsline for December 2004 is now available.


  • NISO Hosts International Standards Meeting
  • The ARK Identifier Scheme: A New NISO Registration
  • Next Generation Resource Sharing
  • IETF Approval of NISO's INFO URI Expected
  • NISO Metasearch Survey Sets Direction for Standards
  • Reminder: Midwinter Meeting 2005
  • Getting a Handle on Data
  • Moving Beyond Metasearching: Are Wrappers the Next Big Thing?
  • Breaking Down Information Silos: Integrating Online Information
  • Binary XML Proponents Stir the Waters
  • EPA Builds a Better Search
  • Digital Memories, Piling Up, May Prove Fleeting
  • Data-Mining
  • Sony Lab Tips 'Emergent Semantics' to Make Sense of Web
Just yesterday I saw mention of the ARK Identifier Scheme for the first time. Now here it appears as a NISO registration. Maybe something to keep an eye on.

Topic Maps

Still struggling to understand topic maps. A collection of papers on them is at techquila. Another group at ontopia.


Typographical and Factual Errors in Library Databases by Jeffrey Beall appears in the December issue of the Informed Librarian Online.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


As part of two projects funded by the U.S. Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), we have been creating a MySQL database of the MARC 21 Concise Format for Bibliographic Data documentation. We have created a public mirror site to our application to let people see what we have done so far.

This is a work in progress and should be considered a draft version of what the final product will look like. As a result of this structuring of MARC documentation into a database, we will be able to generate different views of the data and documentation. We will be able to generate, for example, tab or comma delimited output of all the tags and their associated indicators, and subfields. We are working on an XML output of this as well.

Posted to the MARC e-mail distribution list. This work is being done at the University of North Texas, my alma mater. Anyone looking for an MLS should investigate UNT, some very interesting work is being done there.

Persistent Digital Object Identifiers

An open source release of a tool for generating unique persistent digital object names and other identifiers has been made. The tool, called "noid" (nice opaque identifier), can be used as a major piece of an overall identifier strategy no matter which naming scheme you choose (e.g., ARK, DOI, Handle, LSID, PURL, or URN). The documentation, updated Nov 30, is technical on the whole, but it starts with a general overview and a brief tutorial section. This software release is available as open source.

A paper describing the motivation for persistent identifiers and for ARKs (Archival Resource Key).

The "noid" (rhymes with void) tool creates minters, or identifier generators, and accepts commands that operate them. Once created, a minter can produce persistent, globally unique names for documents, databases, images, vocabulary terms, etc.

Properly managed, minted identifiers can be used as long term durable information object references within naming schemes such as ARK, PURL, URN, DOI, and LSID. At the same time, alternative minters can be set up to produce short term names; for example, transaction identifiers and compact web server session keys. These are some of the ways in which the California Digital Library is using noids.

A minter can bind arbitrary metadata to identifiers with individual stored values or rule-based values. Included are instructions for setting up a URL interface and a name resolver. Based on open source Berkeley DB databases, minters are extremely fast, scalable, reliable, and easy to create, and they have a small technical footprint.

Naming and identifying are decisions of what constitutes a work, manifestation or expression and have implications in cataloging.


RSS... What Is It and Why Should I Care? appears in the latest Amigos Agenda & OCLC Connection. A decent introduction including some screen shots of various readers.

Lorcan Dempsey's weblog

Lorcan Dempsey, VP of Research for OCLC, has weblog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My TEI publisher

Eric Lease Morgan describes a set of tools he uses to publish, index and distribute his writings, My TEI publisher. Pieces, or the whole, could be useful in other settings.
As a librarian, it is important for me to publish my things in standard formats complete with rich meta data. Additionally, I desire to create collections of documents that are easily readable, searchable, and browsable via the Web or print.

In order to accomplish these goals I decided to write for myself a rudimentary TEI publishing system, and this text describes that system.

N.B. This is not a TEI/XML editor, rather a publishing system.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Subject Searching

Subject searching in the OPAC of a special library: problems and issues by M.S. Sridhar in OCLC Systems & Services (2004) vol. 20, no. 4 pp.183-191
This paper draws on data from a comparative study of use of the online public access catalogue (OPAC) and the card catalogue of the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) library, and examines the steady decline in the use of subject searching by end-users and the associated problems and issues. It presents data to highlight the negligible use of Boolean operators and combination searches, variations in descriptors assigned to books of the same class numbers, and too many records tagged to very broad descriptors. The article concludes that moving from a traditional card catalogue to a modern OPAC has not made subject searching more attractive or effective.


Antelman, Kristin (2004) Identifying the Serial Work as a Bibliographic Entity. Library Resources & Technical Services 48(4):pp. 238-255.
A solid theoretical foundation has been built over the years exploring the bibliographic work and in developing cataloging rules and practices to describe the work in the traditional catalog. With the increasing prevalence of multiple manifestations of serial titles, as well as tools that automate discovery and retrieval, bibliographic control of serials at a higher level of abstraction is more necessary than ever before. At the same time, models such as IFLA’s Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records offer new opportunities to control all bibliographic entities at this higher level and build more useful catalog displays. The bibliographic mechanisms that control the work for monographs--author, title, and uniform title--are weak identifiers for serials. New identifiers being adopted by the content industry are built on models and practices that are fundamentally different from those underlying the new bibliographic models. What is needed is work identifier for serials that is both congruent with the new models and can enable us to meet the objective of providing work-level access to all resources in our catalogs.


ZOpenArchives, an OAI implementation for Zope, transforms Zope or Plone into an OAI Data Provider and Aggregator has been released. Written in Python, same as Zope.

This product is an OAI implementation for the Zope server, it provides the following components :

  • Zope OAI Server : Which will contain ZCatalog Harvesters
  • Open Archives Agregator : Which will contain OAI Harvesters
  • OAI Harvester : Which will do the harvest from external OAI servers
  • ZCatalog Harvester : Which will provide ZCatalog records as OAI records

NISO Standards

Three standards are out for review and ballot and these ballots are due in December.

Z39.86-200x Specifications for the Digital Talking Book
This standard defines the format and content of the electronic file set that comprises a digital talking book (DTB) and establishes a limited set of requirements for DTB playback devices. It uses established and new specifications to delineate the structure of DTBs whose content can range from XML text only, to text with corresponding spoken audio, to audio with little or no text. DTBs are designed to make print material accessible and navigable for blind or otherwise print-disabled persons. Ballot closes December 1, 2004

NISO Z39.18-200x Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation and Preservation
This standard outlines the elements, organization and design of scientific and technical reports, including guidance for uniform presentation of front and back matter, text, and visual and tabular matter in print and digital formats, as well as recommendations for multi-media reports. Ballot closes December 18, 2004

ANSI/NISO Z39.78-200x Library Binding
Binding is the first line of defense in library preservation and can be a major part of a library's preservation budget. Developed jointly by NISO and the Library Binding Institute, this ANSI/NISO/LBI standard describes the technical specifications and materials to use for first-time hardcover binding of serials and paperbound books intended for the rigors of library use. It also covers rebinding of hardcover books and serials. Following this standard will give you volumes that are sturdy, durable and flexible. Ballot closes December 16, 2004