Friday, November 04, 2005

Houston Area - Open Source Software in Libraries Workshop

Title: Open Source Software in Libraries
Date: February 17, 2006
Early Bird Deadline: 1/06/2006
Location: North Harris Montgomery Community College District Libraries, The Woodlands, TX

According to the Open Source Initiative, "the basic idea behind open source is very simple: when programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing."

This workshop will provide structured opportunities for participants to experience how open source software can be used to implement many library-specific processes. Learn how open source software can help simplify such processes such as reading and writing MARC records, creating and maintaining databases, providing user-friendly interfaces to indexed content, hosting a World Wide Web server, and most importantly, bringing all of these processes together to providing meaningful library collections and services.

Participants in this hands-on workshop will learn skills enabling them to:
  • Bring up a Web server and serve simple HTML files
  • Write and run very simple computer programs
  • Use a Z39.50 client to search for and download Library of Congress MARC records
  • Read, write, and create reports against sets of MARC records
  • Index MARC records and HTML files and make these indexes available on the web as CGI scripts
  • Read, write, and convert XML files
  • Create a very simple library catalog using a relational database
Library directors, managers, catalogers, reference librarians, bibliographers, archivists, electronic resource librarians, systems librarians, IT managers -- all types of librarians.

Participants should be able to type, have an understanding of the fundamental principles of librarianship, and most importantly, be willing to learn.

Eric Lease Morgan is head of the Digital Access and Information Architecture Department at the University Libraries at Notre Dame. He considers himself a librarian first and a computer user second. His professional goal is to discover new ways to use computers to improve library and knowledge services. Applied research and development has included investigations into traditional library science, digital libraries, information retrieval, and human-computer interaction. In 1994, he began the Mr Serials Process, a systematic method for collecting, indexing, and disseminating electronic serials. This matured into Index Morganagus. One of his more recognized accomplishments is the development of a portal application called MyLibrary. In 2002, he was awarded the Bowker/Ulrich Serials Librarianship Award for his serials work as well as MyLibrary. In 2004, he was awarded the LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for outstanding communication in library and information technology.

For more information.

I attended this workshop a while back in Dallas and it was worth it. Now it is here in my area. Well worth attending.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rex Libris

The second issue of Rex Libris is out.
Rex's preparations for a book retrieval mission to Benzine V are interrupted by crisis in the library. A hapless patron has become lost in the labyrinth of literature and only Rex can save her from certain doom, for amidst the shelves of books lurks a terror, a hideous, malefic entity whose unspeakable purpose can only be guessed at!


MKDoc Ltd. has announced the first beta release of MKSearch, under the GNU General Public Licence. Source and pre-compiled binary downloads are available from the project Web site.

MKSearch is a metadata search engine that indexes structured metadata in Web documents, not free text in the document body. The data acquisition system:

  • Conforms to the Dublin Core metadata in HTML recommendations
  • Supports other application profiles, such as the UK e-Government Metadata Standard
  • Indexes native RDF formats, including RSS 1.0
MKSearch is a research project to develop a metadata search engine. The system is composed of two linked systems; an indexing Web crawler and a public query interface. The indexing component extracts Dublin Core metadata from Web documents and stores them in RDF format. The query interface matches documents in the index using an RDF query language and can return the results in a variety of formats including standard HTML and as a standing RSS feed.

Functional Requirements for Describing Agents

There is now a draft version of Functional Requirements for Describing Agents by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative - Agents Working Group. Looks it over and submit your comments.
This document aims to set out the requirements and the metadata elements needed for unambiguously describing OR identifying the agents associated with resources. Agent descriptions may be contained within DC metadata records, or linked to the DC metadata records for particular resources as an associated metadata description. It is not within the scope of this document to consider the issue of where agent descriptions should be located. The functional requirements set out in this document will form the basis for development of a core set of metadata elements for describing agents.


Bella and Yakov and Tillie's Panties: What I learned in "Construction and Maintenance of Indexing Languages and Thesauri" by Jeanette Ezzo appears in the latest issue of Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NISO Newsline

The November issue of the NISO Newsline is on available.
NISO's had a "bumper year" with a number of key standards reaching completion - this month we are reaping the harvest with the release of the "new" Z39.19, now titled Controlled Vocabularies. We are also releasing this month the first round of Metasearch tools. One item to take note of is the report on Ranking and Access Methods - this is the first serious examination of this topic since Cliff Lynch's seminal study in 1998. What's next? Well, far from resting on our laurels we are "planting" new standards projects: in collaboration with the Digital Library Federation and EDItEUR NISO is launching a new working group to think through a standard for the exchange of license information between publishers and libraries.

Naked Metadata

Naked Metadata by Jonathan O'Donnell is an interesting concept, one that seems sound in principle. The details look OK to me, but I only skimed them.
The problem
Metadata in Web pages often doesn't get updated when the pages get updated.

The solution
Tag data, and point to it from the appropriate metadata field. The metadata is 'naked'. That is, it is visible on the page, rather than being hidden in the header.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

NSDL Metadata Registry

The NSDL Metadata Registry provides projects within the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) with the means to registry their metadata schemas (element/property sets) and schemes (controlled vocabularies) for purposes of discovery and reuse in support of metadata interoperability.

Cartographic Materials

Cartographic Materials: A Manual of Interpretation for AACR2, 2002 Revision, edited by Elizabeth Mangan, is now part of the Web version of Cataloger's Desktop.

Monday, October 31, 2005

OCLC's The Future of Libraries

In the report The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation, the DaVinci Institute, a nonprofit futurist think tank, has put together 10 key trends that are affecting the development of the next generation library. They are:
  • Time compression is changing the lifestyle of library users
  • Libraries are transitioning from a center of information to a center of culture
  • We are transitioning from a product-based to an experience-based economy
  • The stage is being set for a new era of global systems
  • The demand for global information is growing exponentially
  • Over time, we will be transitioning to a verbal society
  • Search technology will become increasingly more complicated
  • We havenÃ?’t yet reached the ultimate small particle for storage, but will soon
  • All technology ends and all technologies commonly used today will be replaced by something new
  • Communication systems are continually changing the way people access information
Their recommendations:
  • Evaluate the library experience
  • Preserve the memories of your own communities
  • Embrace new information technologies
  • Experiment with creative spaces so the future role of the library can define itself
From the e-mail message OCLC Abstracts.

I'm not so sure about "Over time, we will be transitioning to a verbal society." They seem to mean folks will be talking to their computers. Well, if you can imagine a room or plane full of people all talking to their machines you can see the drawback. And you thought mobile phones were a disturbance. Maybe if they could be used in a cone of silence.

FRBR Review Group

For your reading pleasure, Minutes of the FRBR Review Group's Meeting Oslo, August 18, 2005.

NASIGuide: Serial Holdings

Now available the NASIGuide: Serial Holdings by Frieda Rosenberg, edited by Betty Landesman and Lillian DeBlois.
This guide is designed to serve libraries automating their local serial holdings, particularly those implementing the MARC21 Format for Holdings Data (MFHD). It also aims to help anyone who needs to understand the format. The Guide focuses on the functions of MARC coding in general serials control and display of information. Users may look at a range of options and alternatives provided in the Format, rather than single solutions. The hope is to design a guide that is easy to use.