Friday, February 29, 2008

Mass Digitization

Hahn, Trudi Bellardo. "Mass Digitization: Implication for Preserving
the Scholarly Record" [18]Library Resources & Technical Services
52(1) (January 2008): 18-26.

"Digitization is not preservation." This is a sentence that I've heard countless times at digitization workshops over the years. Trudi Bellardo Hahn takes libraries to task for allowing Google and other for-profit vendors to make the rules for the mass digitization, and ultimately preservation, of our scholarly record. Based on a talk she did in 2006 at the Eighth Annual Symposium on Scholarly Communication, Hahn cautions us to pause and think a little bit more about five areas: pace of developments, risk versus vision, justification for digitizing books, trust, and leadership. She argues that libraries should look at who's driving the car of mass digitization, and to make sure that they are more involved in every step of the process, especially when it comes to digitization leadership.

--Reprinted by permission from Current Cites 19(2) (February 2008)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LCSH: Pre- vs. Post-Coordination and Related Issues

"In 2006, the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access (ABA) at the Library of Congress (LC) requested the Cataloging Policy and Support Office to review the pros and cons of pre- versus post-coordination of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The final report recommended, and the ABA Management accepted, that LC catalogers continue to apply pre-coordination of LCSH terms.

Unsolicited comments were received from Lois Chan, Arlene Taylor, and Danny Joudrey, who are all professors of cataloging. They wrote to support the continuation of LCSH and spoke to the benefits of pre-coordination. The benefits include precision of searching, improved browsability, disambiguation of concepts, and suggestibility. By having pre-coordinated strings, users can infer context of the concepts, and the terms can be parsed by machines to take advantage of post-coordinated searching when that is desirable – getting the best of both worlds in a sense. In combination with complementary vocabularies from social tagging, a user can be led to the structured, controlled vocabulary to improve recall and precision of searching.

The LC report documents the recommendations approved in June 2007, regarding further automation of the assignment of subject heading strings, the expansion of machine validation of strings, further simplification of practices including the fixed order of subdivisions, exploration into LC’s use of the current generation of sophisticated search engines, the enabling of more social tagging additions to the LC records, and encouragement of Web applications that take advantage of LCSH. On this latter point, LC intends to make LCSH freely available on the Web in a SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization Schema) format for the world at large. "

Read more and link to report at:

(TS-SIS e-list)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Martha Yee's Cataloging Rules

"Martha M. Yee has updated her suggested cataloging rules and RDF model."


CONSER/BIBCO ALA At-Large Meeting Summary

Topics discussed include:

* CONSER standard record
* Title presentation on e-resource web sites
* PCC Series discussion paper
* Integrating resource cataloging manual issues


Monday, February 25, 2008

WorldCat Blog

"Welcome to the WorldCat Blog! – a fun spot to read about what’s happening on and to share cool ways that people are using the site and their libraries. ...

The team here at is working on new tools and new ways to allow you to make the most of all the resources WorldCat has to offer - to aid your interests, work, and library selections – and to collaborate and share with other WorldCat users. We will be sharing these things with you in this blog and hope that you will share your thoughts and ideas with us as well."

(Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Open Library

"At only 21, Aaron Swartz is attempting to turn the library world upside down. He is taking on the subscription-based WorldCat, the largest bibliographic database on the planet, by building a free online book catalog that anyone can update.

Many academic librarians are wary of Mr. Swartz's project because it will allow nonlibrarians, who may be prone to errors, to catalog books."


Open Library:

(Chronicle of Higher Education)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Harvard's Case for Open Access

See the piece by Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library:

"The motion before the FAS in support of open access to scholarly articles concerns openness in general. It is meant to promote the free communication of knowledge. By retaining rights for the widest possible dissemination of the faculty’s work, it would make scholarship by members of the FAS freely accessible everywhere in the world, and it would reinforce a new effort by Harvard to share its intellectual wealth."

(Library Journal Academic Newswire)

Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization: A White Paper

"The digitization of millions of books under programs such as Google Book Search and Microsoft Live Search Books is dramatically expanding our ability to search and find information. The aim of these large-scale projects—to make content accessible—is interwoven with the question of how one keeps that content, whether digital or print, fit for use over time.

This report by Oya Y. Rieger examines large-scale digital initiatives (LSDIs) to identify issues that will influence the availability and usability, over time, of the digital books these projects create. Ms. Rieger is interim assistant university librarian for digital library and information technologies at the Cornell University Library.

The paper describes four large-scale projects—Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project—and their digitization strategies. It then discusses a range of issues affecting the stewardship of the digital collections they create: selection, quality in content creation, technical infrastructure, and organizational infrastructure. The paper also attempts to foresee the likely impacts of large-scale digitization on book collections."

(Library Journal Academic Newswire)

The Vanishing Librarians (Article in LJ)

Read the article by John N. Berry III in Library Journal.

Here's one snippet:

"Our catalogers began to disappear with the takeover of that function by OCLC, the nonprofit that aspires to be a corporation in this brave new retail library world. The standardized result of the effort is bypassed by patron and librarian alike, as they turn to the more friendly Amazons, Googles, et al., for the less precise, more watered-down “metadata” that has replaced what used to be cataloging. Apparently, users don’t miss the old catalog, except as a familiar artifact, which is testimony to how low this dumbing down has taken us."

(Library Link of the Day)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New LC Permalink Service

The Library of Congress is pleased to announce "LCCN Permalink" -- a new persistent URL service for creating links to bibliographic records in the Library of Congress Online Catalog using the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN).

LCCN Permalink is a convenient way to cite items from the Library's collection in your bibliographies, reference guides, emails, blogs, databases, web pages, etc. Not only can you easily construct a permalink yourself, but we also display them as part of the bibliographic record in the LC Online Catalog (

How to create an LCCN Permalink

Simply begin your URL with the LCCN Permalink domain name -- -- then add an LCCN.


LCCNs should be formatted according to the info:lccn URI specification ( Instructions are also available in the LCCN Permalink FAQ:

How LCCN Permalink works

An LCCN Permalink retrieves a MARCXML-formatted bibliographic record using the Z39.50/SRU protocol. Both valid and cancelled LCCNs (MARC 21 fields 010a and 010z) are searched. LCCN Permalink displays are based on the Full Record display in the LC Online Catalog. Not only can you link directly into the LC Online Catalog, but you can also view the record in MARCXML, MODS, and Dublin Core formats.

More Information

The LC Permalink FAQ at provides additional information on this new service. Specific questions can also be sent to the Library's Ask-A-Librarian service at

(AUTOCAT e-list)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Survey on Library Systems

Breeding, Marshall. "Perceptions 2007: An International Survey of Library Automation" (January 9, 2008). At:

This electronic only publication provides a snapshot of the perceptions of library systems and library system vendors from a library point of view. By investigating various dimensions of customer satisfaction through questions to libraries about their current systems, their ILS (integrated library system) vendor, customer support services of vendors, and the likelihood the library would purchase another ILS from their current vendor, Breeding provides a perspective on library systems that isn't often discussed. Used in conjunction with Breeding's annual "Automated Systems Marketplace" article in Library Journal (, these two pieces provide a comprehensive look at the state of ILS' marketplace today.

--Reprinted by permission from Current Cites 19(1) (January 2008)

Quick Guide to Institutional Repositories

Bailey, Jr., Charles W. Institutional Repositories, Tout de Suite (2008). At:

If you've been looking for a good, introductory bibliography on institutional repositories, this is it. In 10 pages, Bailey provides sources that can answer questions related to what institutional repositories are, why institutions might want one, what self-archiving is, author's rights, software for implementing repositories, issues related to obtaining repository deposits, general information on how to find repositories, as well as suggestions for further reading. Highly recommended for the person just getting into repositories or for those occasions where you need to bring someone up to speed quickly.

--Reprinted by permission from Current Cites 19(1) (January 2008)

Technology in Three Time Horizons

The Horizon Report: 2008 Edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium & the Educause Learning Initiative, 2008. At:

The Horizon Project brings together a group of knowledgeable individuals (36 for this year, including Cliff Lynch of CNI) to discuss, research, and decide on which technologies will become important in "learning-focused organizations" in three time horizons: 1) a year or less, 2) two to three years, and 3) four to five years. The process for coming up with this list of technologies seems thorough and thoughtful, and is highlighted both in prefatory comments as well as in a section of the report devoted to describing the methodology. There are two technologies identified in each time horizon: 1) One year or less: grassroots video and collaboration webs, 2) Two to three years:mobile broadband and data mashups, and 3) Four to five years: collective intelligence and social operating systems. Each technology is highlighted with an overview, its relevance for the educational enterprise, examples of the technology in use in learning environments, and further reading. Although weighing in at only 33 printed pages, one could spend days reading about and exploring these technologies. The report also discusses "megatrends" that have become evident after five years of producing these reports. Highly recommended.

--Reprinted by permission from Current Cites 19(1) (January 2008)

NISO Forum "Next Generation Discovery"

NISO will be hosting a forum on "Next Generation Discovery: New Tools, Aging Standards" in Chapel Hill, N.C. on March 27-28, 2008.

"Discovering scholarly information and data is essential for research and use of the content that the information community is producing and making available. The development of knowledge bases, web systems, repositories, and other sources for this information brings the need for effective discovery -- search-driven discovery and network (or browse) driven discovery -- tools to the forefront. With new tools and systems emerging, however, are standards keeping pace with the next generation of tools? What's coming up and where might standards fit to assist in this arena? The forum will include both a look at the current state of discovery tools and at new visions of what these tools might look like in the next several years. "

(LITA-L e-list)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The ILS Minus the Catalog

"The greatest amount of action happening today regarding library user services is the separation of the user interface from the integrated library system (ILS)." Read more at:

(Coyle's InFormation)

Friday, February 8, 2008

NISO Issues Best Practices for Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU)

NISO Issues Best Practices for Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU)

Slightly more than one year after the Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) Working Group was formed, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has issued "SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding" as part of its Recommended Practice series
(NISO-RP-7-2008). The SERU document's publication follows a six-month trial use period, during which time librarians and publishers reported on their experiences using the draft document.

SERU offers publishers and librarians the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement by agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith.

"SERU is a wonderful example of librarians and publishers working together to create a new option for electronic resource transactions that is convenient and legal," said Working Group co-chair Karla Hahn, Director, Office of Scholarly Communications, Association of Research
Libraries. "Small publishers, especially, will be able to use SERU to reduce licensing costs making them more competitive and easier for librarians to work with."

Co-chair Judy Luther, President of Informed Strategies, added, "Based on a decade of licensing experience, SERU represents widely adopted practices already in place in North America, and is both library and publisher friendly."

"The SERU Working Group developed a document that addresses the key issues in a manner that is nuanced and creative, and they did it in record time," said Todd Carpenter, NISO's Managing Director. "The feedback we received during the trial use period was uniformly
positive." The trial use period ran from June 20 through December 20, 2007.

The Recommended Practice and a SERU FAQ are available from the SERU webpage ( In accordance with plans laid out by the SERU Working Group, which concluded its work with publication of the Recommended Practice, NISO will produce additional materials to help publishers and libraries adopt a SERU approach,
maintain a registry of participants, and continue to promote, educate, and plan for regular review and evaluation of SERU.

Cynthia Hodgson
NISO Technical Editor Consultant
National Information Standards Organization
Phone: 301-654-2512

(reposted from Serialst list)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Presentations from ALA Midwinter

There are presentations from ALA Midwinter in January 2008 available on OCLC's website:
  • New Leadership for New Challenges (streaming video)
  • OCLC Update Breakfast (streaming video)
  • ALCTS Forum: Moving Library Services to the Network Level (3 sets of PowerPoint slides)
(OCLC Abstracts)

In Search of a New Model

Read the Library Journal article "In Search of a New Model" in which Robert Wolven reflects on what's next for cooperative cataloging.

(Cataloging Futures)

Subject Navigation Presentation Slides

John Mark Ockerbloom presented at the ALA Catalog Form and Function Group meeting on January 12, 2008. His topic: Mapping the Library Future: Subject Navigation for Today's and Tomorrow's Library Catalogs.

For highlights and link to the slides, see:


Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media

"The Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media document is available on the OLAC website. Created by the CAPC Streaming Media Best Practices Task Force, it presents best practice guidelines and examples for cataloging both streaming video and audio, based on AACR2. It also presents definitions and examples of resources that can be considered as streaming media."


Libraries Set to Use WorldCat Local Service

"Following results from several pilots, Cornell University Library, the State Library of Ohio and the University of Delaware Library have signed agreements to use WorldCat Local, a new service that combines the cooperative power of OCLC member libraries worldwide with the ability to customize as a solution for local discovery and delivery services."

(OCLC Abstracts)