Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The RDA Toolkit blog is a great resource for catalogers!

The RDA Toolkit blog ( is a valuable resource for catalogers gearing up for RDA, and may be viewed without a subscription to the RDA Toolkit. In addition to RDA-related news and announcements, the blog features an ongoing series called "Tips in Threes." "Tips in Threes" is intended to give Toolkit subscribers information that will enhance their user experience with the Toolkit. Recent posts offer tips on workflows, quick search, and advanced search. In October 2011, the blog began featuring a series of interviews with representatives from RDA test libraries in order to glean their insights about the RDA test and their experiences with cataloging in RDA. Libraries interviewed so far include Emory University Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and North Carolina State University Library. During the summer, the blog conducted interviews with library automation vendors to find out what, if anything, they were doing to prepare for the eventual implementation of RDA. Among the twelve vendors interviewed are Ex Libris, OCLC, SkyRiver, SirsiDynix, Serials Solutions, VTLS, and Innovative Interfaces. Toolkit subscribers may be interested in checking out the RDA Toolkit Virtual User Group (, a webinar-based forum for user interaction and information sharing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Skyriver or OCLC?

Judy Janes, Interim Director of the University of California at Davis Law Library, recently compared Skyriver and OCLC on Spectrum Online. The following questions were used to compare the two utilities.

1. Do each provide a source for clean, full, Marc cataloging records?
2. What percentage of records sought are found in each database?
3. What are the relative costs for the services?
4. What are the notable efficiencies of each system?
5. Does the system accommodate file downloads of vendor cataloging records?
6. Do the databases provide full name authority records and Library of Congress subject headings?
7. What vital services, if any, are not provided?

Friday, November 18, 2011

But who will organize the stuff?

In addition, the catalog primarily organizes things; resources, books, CDs and DVDs. Where we need to go is to KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION. Not STUFF organization.

This is Karen Coyle's declaration, in her October 2011 keynote address to LITA, linked here.

And she is right, absolutely. It's just that we actually still have a large amount of stuff that needs to be organized.

Other interesting points include,

Why does Google (Yahoo, Bing) use keyword searching? Because it's easy. It is mechanical. It is a match between a string in a query and a string in a database (even with all of its enhancements, that's the bottom line). It requires no knowledge of the topic, no human intervention, no experts. Keyword searching is NOT knowledge organization. . . .Did you ever wonder why so many searches turn up Wikipedia in the first few hits? Wikipedia is ORGANIZED INFORMATION. To me it is the proof that organized information is needed, works, and helps people find and learn. Wikipedia does have pages for concepts, it does have links between related subjects, it IS organized knowledge.


Where does this leave us? We've spent the last 15 years re-making cataloging (for the fourth time in 50 years), but we are still using the Knowledge Organization (Library of Congress Classification, Dewey Decimal Classificatin, Library of Congress Subject Headings) from a century ago; three Victorian era knowledge schemes. They are like information retrieval of Brideshead Revisited. Yes, cookery has just now become cooking, but that is simply too little, too late. All of these knowledge schemes precede computers and have the limitations of the analog world. Today's technology could help us do much better topical access.


We've got to move beyond the catalog. It is not longer an end in itself, and it is no longer a primary user service. Yes, we need the metadata that describes our holdings and our licensed resources, but this inventory isn't for our users but is fodder for services that will be used in a larger information environment. It needs to be like the OpenURL server database that sits between information resources on the network and the library user. This also means that FRBR and RDA will have to evolve. The catalog that they address, that they create, is no longer serving our users. Our data needs to focus on making connections outside of the library that will bring library resources to users as they interact with the world of information. Those connections can't be limited to connecting to the names of authors and titles, or to works and manifestations, but absolutely have to have a knowledge organization component. In fact, our main emphasis should be on knowledge organization, quite the opposite of where we are today.

An interesting talk!

More from Karen Coyle here.

The Bibliographic Transition

Have you taken a look at LC's  report on the future bibliographic format, -- that is to say the report on how LC intends to go about replacing the MARC format? (It was discussed earlier in Techscans here.)  It's not very long, and includes a useful history of MARC 21. The things that popped out at me include:
  • The 26 RDA test partners felt that, "were the limitations of the MARC standard lifted, the full capabilities of RDA would be more useful to the library community." This says to me that it's likely no ILS vendor will bother trying to do much with the RDA format until we've figured out what will replace MARC, and those wacky 3xx fields are going to be hanging around with us for a while. 
  • "Several of the test organizations were especially concerned that the MARC structure would hinder the separation of elements and ability to use URLs in a linked data environment."
  • As the creation of MARC enabled the vast sharing of catalog that records that goes on today, with the side benefit of lowering the cost of cataloging, so to will this new resource "broaden participation in the network of resources. Librarians will be able to do a much better job of linking their patrons to resources of all kinds (from the library and many other sources) and costs can be better contained."
  • There will be a need to continue to support MARC during the transition and for many years to come, given the millions of bibliographic records that currently exist in the MARC format.
  • Links to the Bibliographic Transition listserv, contact details and all other official information, announcements, and resources related to the Bibliographic Framework Initiative are available at:
  • Requirements for the new framework environment include:
    • Broad accomodation of content rules and data models, i.e. it should be "agnostic to cataloging rules," accepting RDA, AACR2 and its predecessors, DACS, VRA Core and CCO among others.
    • Provision for types of data that logically accompany or support bibliographic description such as holdings, authority, classification, technical, rights and archival metadata.
    • Accomodation of textual data, linked data with URIs instead of text and both
    • Catalogers may not see or understand all the metadata involved.
    • Consideration of the needs of all sizes and types of libraries
    • Continuation of maintenance of MARC until no longer necessary
    • Compatibility with MARC-based records
    • Software to move data from MARC to the new framework and back, if possible, for experimentation, testing, "and other activities related to the evolution of the environment."
  • "Embracing common exchange techniques (the Web and Linked Data) and broadly adopted data models (RDF) will move the current library-technological environment away from being a nich market unto itself to one more readily understandable by present and future data creators, data modelers, and software developers. It is anticipated that all of those considerations, taken together, will result in greater cost savings for libraries. For example, libraries will be able to take advantage of a broader selection of technological solutions and leverage the knowledge and skills of current and future professionals. these professionals are, or will be, deeply conversant with more contemporary data creation, data modeling, and software development practices. "
  • LC is developing an application for two-year grant funding to organize groups and support development and prototyping activities.
  • "We're excited about this transition and hope you are too."

Three new LC romanization tables proposed.

LC Policy and Standards Division has received proposals for new transliteration tables in Syriac, Khmer, and Tamazight. Comments for all of them are due on January 16. 2012. This page links to an explanation of the new Tamazight table and the revised Khmer table, plus a link to the current Khmer table and a summary of the changes. A descrition of the new Syriac table is available here.

Comments on these proposed romanization tables may be sent to Bruce Johnson, Policy and Standards Division ( by January 16, 2012.

Information for this article found in Catalogablog here and here.

New Open-Source ILS Available in Japan

Catalogablog reports that there is a new open-source integrated library system in development in Japan. It's called Next-L Enju Leaf 1.0.0, and you can see a demonstration of it here. Catalogablog reports that it is in use by the National Diet Library, and the National Institute for Materials Science.

It also appears to be related to other OS ILSs called the Next-L Enju Root and the Next-L Enju Flower, but I do not know what those are like.

The developer is Project Next-L, described as "a project to build a new integrated library system maintained by Japanese volunteers interested in libraries"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Access Publishing with Drupal

McHale, Nina. "Open Access Publishing With Drupal." Code4Lib Journal, (15)(31 October 2011). At:

This article describes how the editorial staff of Colorado Libraries, the journal of the Colorado Association of Libraries, transitioned from print publication to open access publishing using Drupal E-Journal Module. Although this particular Drupal module isn't widely used, it's interesting to learn what publishers need to consider when moving to an open access model.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NISO Launches New Open Discovery Initiative to Develop Standards and Recommended Practices for Library Discovery Services Based on Indexed Search

In a press release dated 25 October 2011, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced that their voting members approved a new Open Discovery Initiative work item to develop standards and recommended practices for next generation library discovery services. Using an aggregated index search of a wide range of resources, licensed and free, from multiple providers, these discovery services have the ability to deliver more sophisticated services with instant performance, compared to the federated search techniques previously used. Individuals interested in participating in this working group should contact Nettie Lagace ( An interest group list for this project ( will be available for those who would like to receive updates on the Working Group's progress and provide feedback to the group on its work. The full press release is available at:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

JSC Approves Revision of RDA Reports of One Court

John Attig, blogging yesterday from the meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, reports that the proposed revision to RDA (Reports of One Court) has been approved. The recommended revision was submitted by AALL and proposes the following changes to RDA

"For reports of one court not ascribed to a reporter or reporters by name, eliminate the need to determine whether the reports were issued by or under the authority of the court. Instead, base the authorized access point on the authorized access point representing the court. Otherwise, different manifestations containing the same reports could have different authorized access points depending on whether they were issued by the court."

"Switch the order of the remaining instructions for a more logical sequence, dealing first with the exceptional case (reports ascribed by name) and then with all other cases (reports not ascribed by name)."

The proposed revision may be read in its entirety at: John Attig is the ALA representative to the JSC; his blog is available at:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

LC Publishes Initial Plan for Bibliographic Framework Transition

The Library of Congress is pleased to release for dissemination, sharing, and feedback the initial plan for its Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative.

The plan is available at:

Additional Links

Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Website

Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Listserv

Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Website

Ann Della Porta

Chief, Integrated Library System Program Office

Library of Congress

Washington, DC 20540-4010