Saturday, January 22, 2005


There is a debate raging on folksonomies vs controlled vocabularies. Both sides seem to adopt an either/or position, things are rarely so clear-cut. They seem to place librarians on the side of control and it is true we have developed subject heading lists, thesauri and classification systems. However, we also recognize the importance of fields 653 and 690 in subject cataloging. The inclusion of TOC information and summary statements that contain other terms useful to access for our users is also part of good cataloging. Good cataloging uses both controlled and uncontrolled vocabularies.

Another mistake the folks debating make is to assume all material deserves the same level of treatment. Those millions of pictures of cats or millions of abandoned weblogs are hardly deserving of much more than being spidered by Google, if that. Something like the Report on the Challenger Accident demands full treatment. I think it was Michael Gorman who years ago said that there are basically four levels of materials, those deserving of full cataloging (MARC, EAD, FGDC), those deserving of qualified Dublin Core or some similar level of minimal level of description, those deserving unqualified Dublin Core and those that the search engines can provide access for. Folksonomies can be useful in providing some kind of access to the great mass of material in the latter two categories. It can provide additional points of access in the previous two groups.

The other thing about folksonomies is that they could provide a useful topic of study. Users are wondering whether to use the singular or plural, they are finding that a popular term becomes useless when it becomes too common. This could be useful in showing how our users approach access issues and inform our practice.

Friday, January 21, 2005


cufts2marc, a MARC record generator for titles in CUFTS resources could be a useful tool for providing access to e-journals.
cufts2marc is a utility for generating USMARC bibliographic records for the full-text journals in the collections described in the CUFTS link resolver knowledgebase. CUFTS is part of the reSearcher suite of open source tools for locating and managing electronic information resources, developed at Simon Fraser University on behalf of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL).
And CUFTS is:
an open source (GPL) OpenURL link resolver designed for use by library consortia. It supports multiple sites from one server, online management tools, usage statistics, and includes a knowledgebase of about 165 resources with about 200,000 title records. Sites can individually activate resources they have access to, as well as subserts of titles for packages to which they only have partial subscriptions.

OCLC Research

Some new resources on the OCLC ResearchWorks page. Seen on Lorcan Dempsey's weblog
  • XSLTproc
    OCLC Research's XSLTProc is a tool for managing and using arbitrary XSLT stylesheets.
  • SchemaTrans crosswalk repository and schema transformation.
    Crosswalks in the SchemaTrans repository are initially modeled using METS, a standard for encoding metadata about objects in digital libraries. The resulting records are deposited into an OAI repository that can be searched by human or machine using the SRW/U protocol. SchemaTrans translates XML documents from the specified source to the target by matching the dependencies in the documents against the records in the METS database.
  • NACO Normalization service.
    OCLC Research's NACO Normalization Service enables systems to convert names and other text strings to a format more conducive to machine comparison and sorting.


The Texas Library Association seeks volunteers for the annual convention.
TLA 2005 needs volunteers to help run the conference. There is something for everyone - from staffing all the events and meetings (listed as: Meeting Rooms/AV/Tech/EVENTS) to providing on-the-spot references services at the Information Desk. Feel like getting away from the convention center and going for a walk around town? The Health (Fun Run) Committee is your place. Can't make up your mind? Consider volunteering at two locations! Talk to us and let us know what your needs are and we'll work with you to find a great placement.

The preliminary TLA program is now available. There are links across the top of the page for each day of the conference.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hennepin County Library Authority Files

Over on the RadCat e-mail list there has been some discussion about the sorry state of the Hennepin County Library Authority Files. As the files are currently presented they are only searchable by record number. Surely, such an important resource for historic, practical and educational purposes deserves better.

Maybe this could be a task for Hackfest? Or another open-source project. Maybe a grad LIS student at the host institution could enhance access as a student project. Something should be done to provide access to this database.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Global Information Locator Service

Community Information, Electrified by Tim Rogers, Atabong Fombon, & Erica Reynolds discusses two options for this information, the MARC Community Information format and home-grown solutions. One option they miss, and maybe many libraries miss also, is the Global Information Locator Service (GILS). This is a standard, widely deployed, Z39.50 accessible, and with already created tools. This standard was developed to cover contact information making it ideal for community information databases. Examples of the fileds are: hours of service, contact e-mail address, Web site address, FAX number, cost, order process and ending date.

I seem to remember a company selling MARC community information records for national organizations. They provided a service with updates for changes in phone numbers, addresses, contacts, etc. They were not mentioned in the article, anyone using them? That would be a quick route into providing community information. Local information could build on and supplement the national records.

Also, in the same issue The Feel Good Standard by Gail Wanner discusses the NCIP standard.

Open WorldCat

OCLC has created a tutorial on deep linking to help libraries get the most out of the Open WorldCat program. Open WorldCat can help drive users to libraries and increase circulation if properly configured to support deep linking.

Deep linking helps users navigate all the way to a specific record in the library online catalog after finding the item through Internet search engines. Some libraries are already set up to support this; others need to complete and submit a simple form.


The Library of Congress has launched a Web-based learning center to promote core competency curriculum development for 21st century cataloging practitioners. The Cataloger's Learning Workshop is a cataloging and metadata training resource portal that features a discussion group, links to cataloging training providers and publishers, online training courses and suggested readings in bibliographic control. The Cataloger's Learning Workshop is hosted by the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) of the Library of Congress.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


The Shifted Librarian has some interesting thoughts on making our catalogs more user friendly. Ideas are illustrated by services like Flickr, FURL and and tools like RSS and folksonomies. Don't let the title and opening fool you, that is just an excuse/reason for the real meat of the posting.


Some interesting research being done. Can hardly wait for the results. I'm particularly interested in the first project. It is being done at my alma mater and I know some catalogers in that part of the state. Seen on the OCLC Web site.
OCLC Research and the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) have awarded research grants to Shawne Miksa (North Texas); Jun Wang (Peking), in collaboration with Hong Xu (Pittsburgh); and Peiling Wang (Tennessee).

Shawne Miksa, Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas will conduct "A Survey of the Extent and Utilization of Cataloging Tools and Resources within Technical Services in the North Texas Public Libraries." This study will employ survey, interview, and focus group approaches to study the utilization of cataloging tools and resources in technical service departments of public libraries in the North Texas Regional library System.

Jun Wang is Associate Professor in the Department of Information Management at Peking University and Hong Xu is Professor and Head of the East Asian Library at the University of Pittsburgh. Principal Investigator Wang and Co-investigator Xu will study "The Mining of Cataloging Knowledge from Bibliographic Data for Automatic Subject Cataloging," in order to build a cataloging knowledge base (CKB) for automatic cataloging by incorporating the cataloging model into the structure of the thesaurus or classification scheme. Automatic cataloging is achieved by extracting subject-rich terms from new documents and querying them against the CKB to find the relevant subject headings and class numbers. This research is expected to facilitate bibliographic control of Web resources.

Peiling Wang is Associate Professor at The University of Tennessee's School of Information Sciences. Her project, "A Dual Approach to Web Query Mining: Towards Conceptual Representations of Information Needs," will combine quantitative and qualitative techniques in order to mine Web query corpora to generate structured representations of conceptual information needs. The expected results will form a basis for redesigning user-system interactions and better organizing Web information objects to meet users' needs.

Subject Access

McCulloch, Emma and Shiri, Ali and Nicholson, Dennis (2004) Challenges and issues in terminology mapping: a digital library perspective
Effective information retrieval within digital libraries is limited by the lack of semantic interoperability between subject schemes used by online services and collections. The use of multiple terminologies and ad hoc modifications to standard schemes prevents users from cross searching multiple repositories, cross-sectoral resources and interdisciplinary material. In order to overcome this, improved compatibility between schemes is required. This paper considers potential solutions to the terminology problem, with a particular focus on the mapping approach. Key aspects of the mapping technique are discussed with reference to practical applications and initiatives.

Media Collections

Beyond Text: Libraries Create and Deliver Access to Rich-media Collections, January 26, 2005, 8 AM to 9 AM Pacific. Presented by Marshall Breeding
Today's information environment goes far beyond plain text. Some of the more compelling content comes in the form of digital images, sound, and video. Libraries interested in building well-rounded collections need the ability to incorporate all these types of resources.

Based on his experience with the large-scale digital video collections of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and other multimedia collections at Vanderbilt University, Breeding will present an overview of the issues, standards, and technologies surrounding rich media formats. He will describe some of the personnel, hardware, software, and other infrastructure needed to successfully tackle a digital project.

Thanks Dynix for this series of talks.