Friday, October 07, 2005

Dewey Browser

From the OCLC Research Announcement:
The DeweyBrowser has been deployed over two new collections of resources.

In addition to ebooks, the following collections are now accessible:

  • wcat 2.2 million of the most widely held WorldCat records
  • abr14 selected data from the Abridged Edition 14 of the Dewey Decimal Classification
The wcat collection has been grouped based on the OCLC FRBR work-set algorithm and includes links to the Open WorldCat 'Find in a Library' service.

The second new collection, abr14, is a non-bibliographic database which consists of selected data from the Dewey itself.


On the Theory of Library Catalogs and Search Engines Supplementing the talk on "Principles and Goals of Cataloging", German Librarians' Annual Conference Augsburg 2002 by B. Eversberg has been updated. The topics examined are: What is a good catalog?; Standard searching situations; What should catalogs do?; Comparing Catalogs and Search Engines.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Library Journal's Movers and Shakers Nominations

It's time once again for nominations for Library Journal's Movers and Shakers issue. Please participate -- we want to be able to show off the full range of talents and specialties within the profession.

The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying the emerging leaders in the library world. Our fifth annual Movers & Shakers supplement will profile 50-plus up-and-coming individuals from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. From librarians to vendors to others who work in the library field, Movers & Shakers 2006 will celebrate the new professionals who are moving our libraries ahead. Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2005 To nominate someone for Movers & Shakers 2006, please print out the form and return it to Ann Kim, Library Journal, 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010 or fax to 646-746-6734. Movers & Shakers 2006 will be distributed with the March 15 issue of Library Journal.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

NASA and the Library

NASA has recently noticed that libraries are centers for information and learning and has begun to direct attention and money in that direction. The NASA Explorer Institutes (NEI) are part of that.
The Informal Education Division has initiated a new national level program called the NASA Explorer Institutes (NEI). NEI will provide, " only NASA can," engaging experiences, opportunities, materials, and information to members of the informal education community including, but not limited to, representatives of science centers, museums, planetariums, libraries, parks, aquaria, nature centers, botanical gardens, youth groups, and community-based organizations.
Emphasis added. Last year the Mountain Plains Library Association was the only library group involved.

Dublin Core Meeting

The reports of the Libraries working group meeting at the recent Dublin Core conference in Madrid are now available as Session 1 and Session 2. These reports will be added to the DC Libraries web pages next week.

Arising from the second session they have an action to establish a sub-group to participate the development of Resource Description and Access (RDA) and also find a representative for a related US committee.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hackfest 2005

Hackfest 2005, associated with the Access conference (Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 17) needs projects! A roomful of library geeks stand ready to realize your dream application! (Or at least come as close to it as possible in a day's work). Please submit a brief description of your idea.

Hackfest is a "collaborative effort to solve real world library problems using freely available tools". Projects can be large or small, easy or difficult. Results are not in any way guaranteed, but are likely to range from clever-but-unfinished to surprisingly-useful to no-one-chose-this-project.

More information about Hackfest 2005.

Results from previous hackfests:

Free Speech in the Catalog

Do You Really Want to Be a Forum? by Leonard Hitchcock appears in the current issue of Library Philosophy and Practice.
This article examines what a public forum is, and whether or not a library can legitimately claim to be one. Beginning with an imaginary visit to a rather odd public park, and a brief review of the development of the legal doctrine of the public forum, an attempt is made to establish that the library 1) falls far short of being a genuine public forum, 2) is actually ambivalent about being a forum at all, and 3) could, if it really wanted to, become much more of a forum by making a very simple change in its online catalog.
He suggest allowing patrons to comment on materials and having those links in the catalog.

MARC Field Usage

A few days ago I mentioned the UNT MARC study of field usage in MARC records. It seems a similar study was done in 1997 in Germany. They found 33 elements that appeared in more than 1% of the records. Only 5 fields were used in 100% of the records (245, 260, 300, 050, 008). The study was of over 4 million records from LC, the UNT study is using a much larger sample and breaking it down to the subfields. Still using the Walt Crawford, study in 1988, the German study in 1997 and the UNT study will give us a view over time. Someone strong in statistics could combine the studies to do a meta-analysis. The German study is in German, naturally, but since MARC uses numeric tags, even those of us not able to read German can grasp some of the results.


Disambiguation of terms, to some extent, seems possible even in a free-tagging environment. One of the drawbacks often heard about just letting folks put whatever term they lake is that the English language has too many words that are spelt the same but mean something different. Venus could be a planet or a goddess, Mercury a statue, planet, god, or car. However, if enough people use more than one tag software can cluster results based on other terms used. These clusters can then group like items together. Flickr is using this to create clusters of photos. Try searching for Turkey and then click on the cluster option, the results form the country have been seperated from those for food and Thanksgiving. Not perfect, but good enough in many instances. Interesting

Now the next hurdle is to include in the cluster synomyns and plurals/singluars, verbs/gerunds, etc.

Houston Area

Looks like the TLA District 8 Fall Meeting will happen. It is now scheduled for November 12. I'll be talking about some free MARC tools to use to make our catalogs a bit cleaner or richer.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Open Content Alliance

Here is a new digital text initiative, the Open Content Alliance.
The Open Content Alliance (OCA) represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that will help build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. Content in the OCA archive will be accessible soon through this website and through Yahoo!
Their 4th principle is "The OCA will offer collection and item-level metadata of its hosted collections in a variety of formats." Wonder where this cataloging is going to come from and what the formats will be.