Thursday, July 10, 2008

Classify from OCLC

Classify is a service from OCLC. Search, the resulting FRBR set is checked and then the classification numbers used displayed. Quick, simple way to get a class number. No need to be an OCLC member. Does Dewey, NLM, and LCC at least. Not sure about other less used classification schemes, like the one at the US Geological Survey.

Seen on Lorcan Dempsey's weblog.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


PRISM (Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata) has announced the availability of the new PRISM Cookbook.
The PRISM Cookbook builds on the PRISM Specification and assumes users have a basic understanding of metadata and PRISM. It does not answer questions such as “What is metadata?”, “What is PRISM?”, and “Why choose PRISM?”, but assists implementers by providing a set of practical implementation steps for a chosen set of use cases and provides insights into more sophisticated PRISM capabilities.
There is also an online video about the Cookbook.

A Best Buy

Special offer for NEW members: JOIN WAML FOR 1/2 OFF

The Western Association of Map Libraries (WAML) is looking for folks who want to expand their knowledge of maps and geospatial information through fun-filled networking opportunities and information-packed meetings and journals!

$15 (normally $30 a year) -- Good for NEW members only. Membership offer good from now till July 31, 2008.

The Western Association of Map Libraries (WAML) is an independent association of map librarians and other people with an interest in maps and map librarianship. Membership in WAML is open to any individual interested in furthering the purpose of the Association which is "to encourage high standards in every phase of the organization and administration of map libraries."

Subscription to the Information Bulletin (IB) Discounted registration fees to WAML's bi-annual meetings Practical workshops on topics such as aerial photos, scanning projects, and map cataloging Networking regarding geospatial and cartographic information Participation in WAML's electronic discussion board

WAML's Information Bulletin is issued three times a year and enjoys worldwide readership. It includes feature articles, photo essays, Association business, book and electronic resources reviews, new map lists, and selected news and notes.

WAML meetings are THE most fun-filled library-related events you can attend!! They occur in the Spring and Fall. They are small (around 50 people), held in great locations such as Las Vegas, Denver, Flagstaff, and Pasadena, and have great field trips and delicious banquets. The presentations deal only with geospatial topics.
Roundtable discussions and workshops take place at every meeting. The registration fee runs from $35 to $60. The accommodations are reasonably priced, the camaraderie is great, and the tone is relaxed. Often, WAML has a 'map exchange' where attendees bring their withdrawn and extra copies of maps and make them available for others.

We are headed to the San Diego in October 2008!!

Field trips have taken WAML members to national parks, volcanoes, mountain tops, museums, and vineyards/wineries.

In the last 5 years, WAML has met in Las Vegas, Denver, Flagstaff, Pasadena, Vancouver, Fairbanks, Chico California, and Santa Cruz. Future meeting sites include San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Yosemite National Park.

If that weren't enough, you are invited to give presentations at the conferences OR write articles for the Information Bulletin. Presentations and papers run from the very formal to 'how I done good.' In the past WAML presenters and IB authors have been not just librarians but scholars, novelists, artists, map collectors, map dealers, scientists, and cartographers.

Come join us. The price is right. The offer is available for a limited time. Good times, good friends and good maps await you!

Copied from email on distribution list.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Viewzi is a new search tool, a search mash-up (smash?). They have made it possible to create different views and parameters for a search. On search brings up screens for photos, videos, 4 search engines combined, etc. Interesting approach, they will have an open API where custom views can be constructed.

This inspired a couple of thoughts, first, there is no book search. There is an Amazon view. How about one with Worldcat, LibraryThing, Open Content Alliance, Google Books, and Project Gutenberg. Or whatever sites/collections make sense.

Second, is there anything here that could make our OPACs, i.e. the front ends to our catalogs, better. What ideas, or presentation or results work. The views often break things up by facets, MP3s, Videos, Websites, etc. Is faceting the results useful? Other times they provide results from just one resource, Techcrunch for instance. Can this inform our metasearch tool development? Maybe not, but maybe there is something worth considering.

Open Shelves Classification

LibraryThing is building the Open Shelves Classification (OSC), a free, "humble," modern, open-source, crowd-sourced replacement for the Dewey Decimal System.
The vision. The Open Shelves Classification should be:
  • Free. Free both to use and to change, with all schedules and assignments in the public domain and easily accessible in bulk format. Nothing other than common consent will keep the project at LibraryThing. Indeed, success may well entail it leaving the site entirely.
  • Modern. The OSC should map to current mental models--knowing these will eventually change, but learning from the ways other systems have and haven't grown, and hoping to remain useful for some decades, at least.
  • Humble. No system--and least of all a two-dimensional shelf order--can get at "reality." The goal should be to create a something limited and humble--a "pretty good" system, a "mostly obvious" system, even a "better than the rest" system--that allows library patrons to browse a collection physically and with enjoyment.
  • Collaboratively written. The OSC itself should be written socially--slowly, with great care and testing--but socially. (I imagine doing this on the LibraryThing Wiki.)
  • Collaboriately assigned. As each level of OSC is proposed and ratified, members will be invited to catalog LibraryThing's books according to it. (I imagine using LibraryThing's fielded bibliographic wiki, Common Knowledge.)
I also favor:
  • Progressive development. I see members writing it "level-by-level" (DDC's classes, divisions, etc.), in a process of discussion, schedule proposals, adoption of a tenative schedule, collaborative assignemnt of a large number of books, statistical testing, more discussion, revision and "solidification."
  • Public-library focus. LibraryThing members are not predominantly academics, and academic collections, being larger, are less likely to change to a new system. Also, academic collections mostly use the Library of Congress System, which is already in the public domain.
  • Statistical testing. To my knowledge, no classification system has ever been tested statistically as it was built. Yet there are various interesting ways of doing just that. For example, it would be good to see how a proposed shelf-order matches up against other systems, like DDC, LCC, LCSH and tagging. If a statistical cluster in one of these systems ends up dispersed in OSC, why?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Universal Decimal Classification

Maintenance of the Universal Decimal Classification: overview of the past and preparations for the future by Aida Slavic and Maria Ines Cordeiro and Gerhard Riesthuis appears in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control 37(2):pp. 23-29.
The paper highlights some aspects of the UDC management policy for 2007 and onwards. Following an overview of the long history of modernization of the classification, which started in the 1960s and has influenced the scheme's revision and development since 1990, major changes and policies from the recent history of the UDC revision are summarized. The perspective of the new editorial team, established in 2007, is presented. The new policy focuses on the improved organization and efficiency of editorial work and the improvement of UDC products.

Better Targeted Ads

Computing Semantic Similarity Using Ontologies by Rajesh Thiagarajan, Geetha Manjunath, and Markus Stumptner is a new HP Lab Report.
Determining semantic similarity of two sets of words that describe two entities is an important problem in web mining (search and recommendation systems), targeted advertisement and domains that need semantic content matching. Traditional Information Retrieval approaches even when extended to include semantics by performing the similarity comparison on concepts instead of words/terms, may not always determine the right matches when there is no direct overlap in the exact concepts that represent the semantics. As the entity descriptions are treated as self-contained units, the relationships that are not explicit in the entity descriptions are usually ignored. We extend this notion of semantic similarity to consider inherent relationships between concepts using ontologies. We propose simple metrics for computing semantic similarity using spreading activation networks with multiple mechanisms for activation (set based spreading and graph based spreading) and concept matching (using bipartite graphs). We evaluate these metrics in the context of matching two user profiles to determine overlapping interests between users. Our similarity computation results show an improvement in accuracy over other approaches, when compared with human-computed similarity. Although the techniques presented here are used to compute similarity between two user profiles, these are applicable to any content matching scenario.