Monday, June 11, 2012

Cataloging futures: The importance of quality cataloging

A recent Cataloging Futures post spotlights Paul Deschner's letter to the Harvard Library community about the importance of quality cataloging for the development of new library applications. Paul is Applications Developer at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. 
One of the primary challenges in this work is getting data describing books and periodicals (catalog records) to relate to data from non-library sources, such as data about book talks on YouTube or to NPR broadcasts of author interviews or to archival collections. It’s all about connections in the data. The barer the data, the less described it is, the more it falls flat.
No software can create these connections if the underlying data hasn’t been carefully composed into richly structured records, based on solid analysis and comprehensive description. The difference is like that between reading a newspaper consisting of headlines only and reading one which also has accompanying articles. It is dramatic.

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