Friday, December 17, 2004


The following document is available for review by the MARC 21 community:This paper will be discussed in a meeting of the MARC Advisory Committee on Sunday, January 16, 2005 in Boston. I had never thought much about it before, I guess because I deal mostly with text, but there is a diference in the way we discuss pictures and texts. A document is about something, a picture is of something. Should this distinction be made in the MARC record?

A draft agenda for the meeting is available.

Problems in the Catalog

The Murky Bucket Syndrome by Roy Tennant appears in the latest Library Journal. He describes the problems of standardization of large historical datasets, like our catalogs. "As we try to do things programmatically, the structure and content practices really matter in ways they might not have before (FRBRization, data mining, etc.)…." However, greater uniformity in content pratices means more rules in AACR and greater granularity in structure means a more complex MARC. He has in the past argued that things are too complex already. The XML version of a MARC record is much larger and complex than the MARC version, for example. The experience of Dublin Core shows the probelms in trying to make something simple and easy to use. Those records are even more of a problem than our MARC records, and they have only been created over a few years not decades.
I've been hitting on metadata issues hard in this column, especially in recent months. I am increasingly disturbed by our inability to get this right, at least given today's needs. The library profession seems fond of assuming that its bibliographic infrastructure is the best ever devised, worthy of respect and admiration. There is some truth to that but also some self-delusion. If this is the best bibliographic infrastructure ever devised, then we (and, more importantly, our users) are in trouble. We must fix it, and soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Professional Reading

The December issue of D-Lib Magazine has these articles that may be of interest:
  • A Repository of Metadata Crosswalks by Carol Jean Godby, Jeffrey A. Young, and Eric Childress
  • Metadata Development in China : Research and Practice by Jia Liu
  • Resource Harvesting within the OAI-PMH Framework by Herbert Van de Sompel; Michael L. Nelson; Carl Lagoze and Simeon Warner
  • The Role of RSS in Science Publishing: Syndication and Annotation on the Web by Tony Hammond, Timo Hannay and Ben Lund
The RLG DigiNews has the articles:
  • X Marks the Spot: The Role of Geographic Location in Metadata Schemas and Digital Collections by Stephanie C. Haas
  • PREMIS -- Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies Update 2: Core Elements for Metadata to Support Digital Preservation by Rebecca Guenther

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

New Blog

I have to mention a new 'blog here in Texas, Library Technology in Texas by Christine Peterson, of Amigos, our OCLC service provider. Most of the items apply to libraries outside Texas so give it a read. Today she has some low cost, easy it do, tips on safe computing.


A metadata schema, new to me, is the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI).
The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an effort to establish an international XML-based standard for the content, presentation, transport, and preservation of documentation for datasets in the social and behavioral sciences. Documentation, sometimes called metadata (data about data), constitutes the information that enables the effective, efficient, and accurate use of those datasets.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

OLAC Conference

The conference reports, handouts and PowerPoint presentations from OLAC
are now available on the OLAC website. Papers include:
  • Expanding Access: FRBR and the Challenges of Non-print Materials
  • Expanding Access, Expanding the Challenges
  • Descriptive Cataloging of Music Scores
  • Cataloging Cartographic Materials on CD-ROMs
  • Cataloging and Indexing of Still and Moving Images
  • Cataloging Unpublished Oral History Interviews and Collections
  • Improving Access to Audio-Visual Materials by Using Genre/Form Terms
  • Future of the GMD: What Can Be Done to Improve It or to Find Alternate Ways to Fulfill Its Function?
  • Videorecordings Cataloging Workshop
  • Cataloging Electronic Resources: The Long and the Short of It
  • Introduction au Catalogage des Ressources Int√©gratrices = Introduction to Integrating Resources Cataloging
  • Descriptive Cataloging of Sound Recordings = Le Catalogage Descriptif des Enregistrements Sonores Musicaux

Monday, December 13, 2004

Midwinter 2004 MARBI papers available

The following documents are available for review by the MARC 21 community:
  • Proposal No. 2005-01: Definition of Field 766 in the MARC 21 Classification Format.
  • Proposal No. 2005-02: Definition of Subfield $y in Field 020 (International Standard Book Number) and Field 010 (Library of Congress Control Number) in the MARC 21 Formats.
  • Proposal No. 2005-03: Definition of Subfield $2 and Second Indicator value 7 in Fields 866-868 (Textual Holdings) of the MARC 21 Holdings Format.
  • Proposal No. 2005-04: Hierarchical Geographic Names in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.
  • Proposal No. 2005-05: Change of Unicode mapping for the Extended Roman alif character.

These papers will be discussed in a meeting of the MARC Advisory Committee on Saturday, January 15, 2005 and Sunday, January 16, 2005 in Boston.


Today is the 1 year anniversary of my auto accident. A good deal of my time and effort this past year has been to get well. Doctor visits, shots, tests, pills and physical therapy still continue. My life is now back to normal in many ways. I can walk without a limp, no one would know I was in an accident by looking at my walk. I go swimming. Currently I can do 1/4 mile, not bad but not as good as before the accident. Cora and I have been dancing. Yesterday we tried English country for the first time in a year. I could do most of it but had some problems with the skip step. We have been contra dancing several times and I've lasted 2 hours at one of the dances. Again, not too bad but not up to pre-accident levels. I can climb a ladder, tie my shoes, drive, reshelve books (even on the bottom shelf), I am not limited in many ways. I do have time and repetition limits that are lower than before.

Over the past year many people have contributed to my recovery. Thanks to y'all. And thanks to everybody who sent "get well soon" messages and cards. Those also have helped me get through this difficult time.

Open Source ILS

Out of Finland comes Emilda, another open source library system.
Emilda is a complete Integrated Library System that features amongst others an OPAC, circulation and administration functions, Z39.50 capabilities and 100% MARC compatibility. MARC compatibility is achieved using Zebra in conjunction with MySQL.
On December 7 Emilda 1.2-rc1 was released.
The first release candidate Emilda 1.2-rc1 for the upcoming Emilda 1.2 stable release is now available for testing. We encourage all Emilda users with available testing resources to evaluate and stress-test this release, and report all anomalies to Emilda Developers or the Emilda Bug Database. For Emilda 1.1 users, this release brings tons of improvements, such as: new search capabilities, LDAP support, web-based setup, item types, subjects, etc. Translators are called upon to begin possible translations of Emilda as language by this release has been frozen.