Friday, November 30, 2007


This note from Martha Yee was posted to the FRBR discussion e-mail list.
I have written elsewhere about the fact that our rules and our cataloging data are already considerably FRBR-ized and that what is lacking for the creation of true FRBR-ized catalogs is adequate software support. ("FRBRization: a Method for Turning Online Public Finding Lists into Online Public Catalogs." Information Technology and Libraries 2005; 24:3:77-95. [also at the California Digital Library eScholarship Repository,].) We already collocate all of the expressions of a work using work identifiers (formerly known as main entries). However, it is still up to the user to look through all of the various expressions and manifestations of the work and make decisions about which one is the most useful.

With the proliferation of methods of reproduction in the 20th century, this set of all of the various manifestations and expressions of a particular work has become more and more chaotic, however. At the International Conference on the Principles & Future Development of AACR in Toronto in 1997, I thought I heard a desire to revise AACR to further FRBR-ize the rules so that catalogers went beneath work collocation and performed expression and manifestation collocation to aid users in navigating this chaos. Instead, RDA seems to be headed toward an increase in chaos by atomizing the bibliographic description into lists of data elements that are all tied to the FRBR entity manifestation. As Hal Cain so eloquently put it in his September 6, 2007, post to Autocat, "Compiled bibliographic information has greater value than just the value of the separate data."

I have been a vocal critic during this process, but it occurred to me that people might not really understand what I was talking about without a demonstration code, an alternative RDA, so to speak. Thus, with the help of many generous and intelligent friends, whom I acknowledge in the introduction, I have created such a code, which you can view at Since it is clear that we need to move toward more standard ways of coding our data within the sphere of the internet, I have made a stab at creating an RDF model of my cataloging code, as well. I'm certain that it is currently a very amateurish effort, as it is my first data model of any kind, but it might encourage more expert data modelers to help improve it as a group effort. (I should say that I have already received considerable help from the most generous topic map expert Alexander Johannesen). The data modelling process has already been valuable to me in that it has raised a number of issues that I suspect would arise in any effort to model the bibliographic universe (a discussion of these, including Alexander's comments and some from Sara Shatford Layne, can be found at:

It may well be that catalogers do not have enough information to collocate items at the expression and manifestation levels, and that the designers of our current Anglo-American cataloging practices were wiser than we seem to give them credit for these days in limiting collocation to the work level except in the case of prolific works, which get some expression collocation.It may also be that our illustrious leaders have so thoroughly deprofessionalized cataloging that there is no longer any personnel available to carry out this user service. If either or both of those propositions are the case, I would suggest that we abandon the current RDA development process and work instead on designing an effective RDF (or topic map?) model of our current cataloging rules and our millions of existing cataloging records.

The Yee rules also contain some suggestions for reforming our practices in other ways to bring our entity definitions into closer alignment both with those of our users and with those of our colleagues outside the Anglo-American world, in order to facilitate better international cooperation in creating a virtual international authority file.

So, with some trepidation, I put this forth for you all to tear apart (smile). Please send comments to the RDA, FRBR, and NGC4LIB lists, to my email address ( and/or post them to my blog at:

Thanks for your consideration!

I have added some active links.

LC Classification Schedule Q: Science

News from LC. "Due to our printing company's error, Library of Congress Classification schedule Q: Science, 2007 edition was delivered to CDS with pages 10 and 11 missing." They have mounted the missing pages on their website.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

RLG Programs Descriptive Metadata Practices Survey

The results of the RLG Programs Descriptive Metadata Practices Survey are now available.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Virtual Museum of Cataloging and Acquisitions Artifacts

The Virtual Museum of Cataloging and Acquisitions Artifacts is looking for additions to their collection. Although they love getting anything they are hoping to find:
  • a hand-written catalog card in "library hand"
  • artifacts of homemade or local early computer systems for cards and
    orders, e.g. keypunched cards, etc.
  • the ever-elusive Polaroid camera with attachment for taking pictures from the NUC
  • local manuals for typing cards, filing, etc.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Topic Maps in Libraries

Some of these people interested in applying Topic Maps in libraries created a mailing list to discuss and inform about new applications and advances in this issues.

Controlled Vocabulary Add-on for DSpace

The Odisseia Research Group at the University of Minho has just released a new version of the Controlled Vocabulary add-on for DSpace.
This patch adds a few improvements to the controlled vocabulary add- on currently present in DSpace:
  1. The Node Schema (see [dspace]/docs/controlledvocabulary.xsd) has been updated to support other types of relationships and/or properties that are part of a true thesaurus, and now all elements in this structure are properly processed and displayed by the add-on.
  2. The add-on recognizes thesaurus/controlled vocabularies described in SKOS standard schema. This vocabulary can be created according to the W3C recommendations and must be saved with the extension ".skos".
  3. In the DC metadata fields you wish to control, it is now possible to configure distinct vocabularies associated to specific communities. You may also define one or more generic vocabularies to be used by default on the rest of the communities. To use this functionality you have to edit the file [dspace]/config/input- forms.xml and place a new "controlled-vocabularies" element under the that you want to control.