Wednesday, February 25, 2015

OBS/TS name that grant contest

Posted on behalf of the OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Committee

Name that Grant Contest!

Did you know that TS and OBS offer a grant to do research? Did you know that research can be as simple as evaluating an app?

A recent survey says that many people are confused by the name of the OBS/TS Joint Research Grant. (Hint, it's not about researching joints!)

We'd like you to rename the Grant!

We’re holding a contest to find a creative, catchy name that will also accurately represent the purpose of the Grant (See below for Grant Guidelines).
  • All AALL members are eligible to enter
  • Multiple entries are allowed
  • Entries will be accepted from February 16th through March 16th
  • Winner will be determined by vote
  • The winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • All entrants will be entered into a raffle for a free membership to OBS-SIS or TS-SIS

Go to the Name that Grant Contest to enter*.

*You will need to register with the contest website in order to enter the contest or vote

Friday, February 13, 2015

PCC news

Phase 3A of RDA changes to name authority records were completed in December 2014.

The announcement contains details on the changes and has links to other information of interest to NACO authority file users.

The Library of Congress’ Policy and Standards Division has also prepared a posting describing the changes:

The bulk of these changes seem to have affected music headings and were necessary for phase 3B, scheduled for April 2015.

Additionally, the PCC recently released a Vision, Mission and Strategic Directions document outlining its vision and direction for the period January 2015-December 2014.

Common ground: Exploring compatibilities between the linked data models of the Library of Congress and OCLC
Godby, Carol Jean and Dennenberg Ray, Common ground: exploring compatibilities between the linked data models of the Library of Congress and OCLC, January 2015.

This white paper, jointly issued by the Library of Congress and OCLC Research, documents the areas of alignment and difference between OCLC's project and the Library of Congress' BIBFRAME initiative. The paper concludes with some recommendations for closer alignment of the two linked data projects.

The paper has been widely recommended and provides a worthwhile perspective as we think about future directions for our bibliographic data

Monday, February 9, 2015

MARC, Linked Data, and Human-Computer Asymmetry
Salo, Dorothea, "MARC, linked data, and human-computer asymmetry." Library journal, February, 2015

This article addresses the question of why libraries should find linked data a useful construct. The author reminds us that "everyone has discovered and rediscovered that designing data based solely on how it should look for human beings, without considering how computers may need to manipulate it, leases inexorably to ruinously messy, inconsistent data and tremendous retooling costs." In the end, "Given computer-friendly data, humans can instruct computers to produce human-friendly data displays, in addition to doing all the fascinating behind the scenes manipulation that fuels useful applications from search indexing to text mining."

The author ends the article by listing principles that distinguish data structures that work for computers from those that work only for humans.
  • Atomicity, also known as granularity
  • Consistency
  • Reliable, unchanging identifiers

Report from the Jane-athon

I was fortunate enough to attend the "Jane-athon" pre-conference workshop at ALA Midwinter last month. Workshop participants were asked to choose among eight different groups with which to work, each group concentrating on a particular kind of Jane Austen-related material. Using the RDA-visualization tool created by Deborah and Richard Fritz (RIMMF3), participants generated RDA-compliant, linked bibliographic data for the different categories of materials, which included print and non-print versions of Jane's works; film and TV adaptations; literary and other adaptations; sequels, prequels and spinoffs; translations; biography and literary criticism; and realia such as games, dolls and tea-towels. For two and a half hours, the room was a hive of activity as the various groups created their linked data and tried to figure out how to designate the relationships among Jane Austen, her works, and the works being cataloged. The realia group wondered how to describe the relationship between Jane Austen and an item depicting her. Finding no relationship designator in RDA for "depiction of," they settled for (but were unsatisfied with) "honouree." The translations group wondered what to do with a hypothetical aggregation of several French translations of a single Jane Austen work. Should there be such a thing as a "Super-Expression" to be used in such a situation? The Jane-athon put both RDA and the concept of linked bibliographic data to the test in a fun, hands-on way, with plenty of support from a group of experts who were on hand to facilitate and answer questions. This was a terrific learning experience; in a post-workshop evaluation form, I said that it was one of the best continuing education programs I had ever attended. The Jane-athon organizers have expressed interest in holding similar events in other venues. I hope they are able to maintain their momentum and bring this valuable learning experience to many more who seek a deeper understanding of library linked data. You can find more information about the Jane-athon and RIMMF at:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Link Rot, Content Drift, and Reference Rot

The Internet is a fluid machine and the pages that make up the Web are only representative of the present. Links to web pages from last year, and sometimes even last month, are frequently obsolete. As these references become more common in published works, from law review articles to Supreme Court decisions this breakdown evidence supporting arguments progressively becomes more problematic.

To take a look at the challenges we face and some of the solutions that are available (or being developed), The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore takes a look at the work of Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive in her article “Can the Internet be archived?

Friday, January 9, 2015

RIMMF 3 now available from The MARC of Quality

Some of you may be familiar with the original "RIMMF," which stands for "RDA in Many Metadata Formats." RIMMF was developed by Deborah and Richard Fritz of The MARC of Quality (TMQ), a library training and consulting firm, as a visualization and training tool for learning RDA. RIMMF 3 was released in early January, and it has come a long way since its first version! It encourages ("forces" is such a harsh word) the cataloger to "think in RDA;" in other words, think about bibliographic data in terms of entities, attributes, and relationships. I have just begun to experiment with RIMMF 3 ( and its 18 online tutorials (, created in support of the upcoming "Jane-athon" ( taking place at ALA Midwinter. TMQ is offering a free RIMMF 3 training webinar on January 20 (register at as preparation for the Jane-athon, but there is no reason why those not attending the Jane-athon cannot also take advantage of this training opportunity. I find that working through the RIMMF 3 tutorials gives me a real, hands-on taste of what cataloging might look like as we transition from MARC to a linked data-based cataloging environment.