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Discussion Excellent Analysis of OCLC by Barbara Fister

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Sun, Mar 21, 2010 at 08:15 pm

If you're interested in the status quo of OCLC and how the organization fits into today's library marketplace, you might like to read an excellent column by Barbara Fister. Her column is called, "Peer to Peer Review," and the title of this particular column, published online on 2010-03-18, is "OCLC's Uncommon Dilemma."

If you're interested in the status quo of OCLC and how the organization fits into today's library marketplace, you might like to read an excellent column by Barbara Fister. Her column is called, "Peer to Peer Review," and the title of this particular column, published online on 2010-03-18, is "OCLC's Uncommon Dilemma."

Here's an excerpt: "OCLC is like a scholarly society that opposes open access to its publications because the society funds its activities through sales and subscriptions of those publications. Open access might be good for the discipline, but it would be bad for the society, or at least for its balance sheet."

This is definitely a timely topic, and this column is worth a read.

--Jeffrey Beall

 

If the link above doesn't work, the actual URL is:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6723305.html?nid=4638&htid=49102&intref=hottopic_Peer%5Fto%5FPeer%5FReview%3A%5FBarbara%5FFister

 

 

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Discussion The Best Metaphor for the Future of Cataloging

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 04:58 pm

Some in the anti-cataloging, anti-MARC clique have used the "horse-and-buggy" metaphor to describe the future of cataloging. They say that cataloging data (the horse and buggy) will be replaced by full-text search engines (the automobiles), making cataloging all but obsolete. 

Some in the anti-cataloging, anti-MARC clique have used the "horse-and-buggy" metaphor to describe the future of cataloging. They say that cataloging data (the horse and buggy) will be replaced by full-text search engines (the automobiles), making cataloging all but obsolete. 

That's the wrong metaphor I think. Cataloging will continue to exist and will continue to add value to information that libraries collect. Not all new technologies make the old technology obsolete. Some continue to exist together for a long time and each develops its own niche in the market.

 Take razors and electric razors, for example. 

The original technology is the razor on the left. In the 1920s, the electric razor appeared, but it did not make the razor obsolete. Both continue to be used, and neither is approaching obsolescence. Here the razor on the left represents cataloging, and the electric one on the right represents full-text search engines.  

The electric razor does an okay job, and it's faster and more convenient to use, but it doesn't shave as close as the straight razor on the left. You use the traditional razor when you really want a good shave.   

Also, both technologies continue to be improved. The companies that manufacture razors and electric shavers spend millions in research and development each year to improve their products. The same thing occurs with cataloging and search engines. Each continues to improve, without affecting the viability of the other.  

So cataloging is going to be around for awhile, along with full-text search engines.

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Discussion High-Quality Metadata

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 02:46 pm

There is a new, two-page briefing paper just published by the JISC (the UK's Joint information Steering Committee). The paper is entitled, Digital information seekers : how academic libraries can support the use of digital resources.

One of my favorite quotes from the report is this: "High-quality metadata is becoming more important for discovery of appropriate resources."

This paper is a great (short) summary, and I highly recommend it.

 

There is a new, two-page briefing paper just published by the JISC (the UK's Joint information Steering Committee). The paper is entitled, Digital information seekers : how academic libraries can support the use of digital resources.

One of my favorite quotes from the report is this: "High-quality metadata is becoming more important for discovery of appropriate resources."

This paper is a great (short) summary, and I highly recommend it.

 

--Jeffrey Beall

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Discussion Scholarly Article Review

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Sat, Dec 26, 2009 at 04:14 pm

Dolski, Alex A. (2009).  “Information Discovery Insights Gained from MultiPAC, a Prototype Library Discovery System.” Information Technology and Libraries, volume 28, number 4, pages 172-180.

Dolski, Alex A. (2009).  “Information Discovery Insights Gained from MultiPAC, a Prototype Library Discovery System.” Information Technology and Libraries, volume 28, number 4, pages 172-180.

I’ve read hundreds of articles like this one that describe new and experimental discovery systems  in libraries, and, while this article fits into that category, it stands out for what it says about metadata quality. The author, a web and digitization application developer at the University of Nevada Las Vegas libraries, really understands the importance of high quality, consistent metadata that conforms to accepted standards.

Here are two selections from the article that discuss metadata:

“Quality metadata—characterized by unified schemas; useful crosswalking; and consistent, thorough description—facilitates finding and gathering. In practice a surrogate record is as important as the resource it describes. Below a certain quality threshold, its accompanying resource may never be found, in which case it may as well not exist.” (page 178)

“The results from the MultiPAC project suggest that metadata rules should be applied strictly and comprehensively according to library-wide standards that, at our libraries, have yet to be enacted. Surrogate records must be treated as must-have (rather than nice-to-have) features of all resources.  Resources that are not yet described in a system that supports searchable surrogate records should be transitioned to one that does … ” (page 179)

 It’s refreshing to read a discussion of the importance of metadata quality, and in this case, it’s especially refreshing because the author is someone from the technology side of library operations, as opposed to a metadata specialist. I hope that information discovery system designers will  come to appreciate the  value that metadata adds to quality information management and discovery as this author has.

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Discussion Article Review: Next Generation Cataloging

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 05:50 pm

Article Review

 Calhoun, Karen, and Register, Renee. (2009). “Next Generation Cataloging.”  Journal of Library Administration, vol. 49, p. 651-656.

This is the latest article in which Karen Calhoun presents her “view of the world,” a world that does not contain any professional catalogers. Her view, as expended in this and other articles and presentations is this: 

Article Review

 Calhoun, Karen, and Register, Renee. (2009). “Next Generation Cataloging.”  Journal of Library Administration, vol. 49, p. 651-656.

This is the latest article in which Karen Calhoun presents her “view of the world,” a world that does not contain any professional catalogers. Her view, as expended in this and other articles and presentations is this: 

  1. All books will have metadata created by their publishers, and this metadata will be passed on to OCLC where it will be converted to MARC.
  2. This metadata will not really need any enhancement by catalogers because it is already “good enough,” i.e. if it’s good enough for the publishing industry, it’s good enough for libraries.
  3. Because most libraries will have WorldCat Local and will use the WorldCat Cataloging Partners (PromptCat) service, all books and other direct access materials will arrive in the library shelf-ready, so there will be no need for catalogers.

Of course, there are many serious problems with this view, problems that the article ignores or only barely mentions. One of these problems is the poor data quality of the ONIX data, which appears in OCLC as encoding-level 3 records. Relying on these records without major revisions to them (or without replacing them altogether as is often done), would destroy resource discovery in libraries. Catalogers enhance this data to make it meet their libraries’ needs.

The real purpose of the article is to advertise OCLC services, services marketed to replace the high-quality work of library catalogers with the low-quality metadata created by publishers. It’s true that cataloging is not cheap, but as in other professions, such as health care, law, and education, we know it’s better to do things right the first time and to do them the best we can. Catalogers benefit libraries and the patrons they serve by adding value to the information resources the libraries own or license.

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Online Doc Some Attacks on Cataloging

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 05:14 pm

 

"Every time I hear someone talking about "controlling" bibliographic data, I chuckle, a low throaty laugh intended to convey my disbelief that anyone thinks we will still be controlling anything in fifty years. . . . Many of us in LibraryLand worry that we're just one black swan away from "game over," but not the muckety-mucks of cataloging. They [are] needily [sic] grounded in beliefs and practices the rest of us see as not only foolish and outdated, but pernicious."  --Karen Schneider [1]

 

"Every time I hear someone talking about "controlling" bibliographic data, I chuckle, a low throaty laugh intended to convey my disbelief that anyone thinks we will still be controlling anything in fifty years. . . . Many of us in LibraryLand worry that we're just one black swan away from "game over," but not the muckety-mucks of cataloging. They [are] needily [sic] grounded in beliefs and practices the rest of us see as not only foolish and outdated, but pernicious."  --Karen Schneider [1]

"Catalogs are, in libraries anyway, inventories. Their design and features often reflect the interests and needs of those in the library's back rooms rather than of the patrons entering and exiting through the front gates ... " -Casey Bisson [2]

" ... the era of the library OPAC is over." - Brad Eden [3]

"MARC must die."- Roy Tennant [4]

"The OPAC is dead." -- Jane Burke [5]

1. http://www.guild2910.org/WorkingGrpResponse2008.pdf

2. https://publications.techsource.ala.org/products/archive.pl?article=2602

3. https://publications.techsource.ala.org/products/archive.pl?article=2610

4. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/96325228&tab=reviews

5. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a915323126

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Discussion Another "Death of Cataloging" article published

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 05:11 pm

The OPAC is Dead: Managing the Virtual Library

Authors: Robert E. Wolverton Jr., Reporter a; Jane Burke Presenter b

The OPAC is Dead: Managing the Virtual Library

Authors: Robert E. Wolverton Jr., Reporter a; Jane Burke Presenter b

Affiliations:   a Mississippi State University Libraries, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA
  b ProQuest and Serials Solutions, Seattle, Washington, USA

DOI: 10.1080/03615260902877019Publication Frequency: 8 issues per year

Published in:  The Serials Librarian, Volume 57, Issue 3 October 2009 , pages 247 - 252

Abstract

Changing trends in library use and management of e-resources were discussed by Jane Burke from ProQuest/Serials Solutions. A paradigm shift in library collections has occurred in which e-resources are now the major component of new library materials, requiring new ways to manage and display them. The use of e-resource access and management services was discussed as a helpful tool, along with federated searching. Burke suggested that by spending less time processing print materials and ending bibliographic instruction, more time will be available for librarians to market and manage e-resources, which will be of greater benefit to today's library users.

Keywords: e-resources; OPACs; ILS; collection management; federated searching; e-resource access and management services; ERAMS
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Discussion New issue of CCQ

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 08:49 am

Taken from:

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g915237173~tab=toc

Cataloging & Classification Quarterly: Volume 47 Issue 8 is now available online at informaworldTM.
This new issue contains the following articles:

Editorials

 

Invited Editorial: Announcing 2010, Year of Cataloging Research

Pages 687 - 690

Author: Allyson Carlyle

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903223901

 
 

 

 

Original Articles

 

Preparing Catalogers for RDA Training

Pages 691 - 707

Authors: Alison Hitchens; Ellen Symons

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203234

 
 

Spaces in Korean Bibliographic Records: To Be, or Not to Be

Pages 708 - 721

Authors: Wooseob Jeong; Joy Kim; Miree Ku

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203382

 
 

In Praise of the Un-Finished: The IFLA Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (2009)

Pages 722 - 740

Author: Mauro Guerrini

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903206906

 
 

No More Romanizing: The Attempt to Be Less Anglocentric in RDA

Pages 741 - 748

Author: Michele Seikel

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203192

 
 

Reflections on a Job-Shadowing Experience

Pages 749 - 759

Authors: Christine Cho; Fang Huang Gao

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903206914

 
 

 

 

Letters To The Editor

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Pages 760 - 763

Authors: Richard P. Smiraglia; Arlene G. Taylor

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203606

 
 

 

 

Miscellany

 

Dorothea Salo Responds

Page 764

Author: Dorothea Salo

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203614

 
 

 

 

Book Reviews

 

A Review of “Axiomathes (Vol. 18, No. 2): Special Issue on Facet Analysis”

Pages 765 - 767

Author: Kathryn La Barre

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203507

 
 

A Review of “FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed”

Pages 768 - 770

Author: Thomas Brenndorfer

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203457

 
 

A Review of “Fundamentals of Technical Services Management”

Pages 771 - 772

Author: Carmen KÖNigsreuther Socknat

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903203556

 
 

CATALOGING NEWS

Pages 773 - 784

Author: Mary Curran

 

DOI: 10.1080/01639370903206807

 
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Discussion Link to Blog entry: "In Appreciation of Library Catalogers and Cataloging Standards"

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 09:56 am

In Appreciation of Library Catalogers and Cataloging Standards

The above posting by David Badertscher appears in the Criminal Law Library Blog.

Discussion Review of: Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow / by Judy Luther.

by Jeffrey Beall (non-member) on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 09:12 am

Luther, M. Judy. Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow. Baltimore, MD: NISO ; Dublin, Ohio: OCLC, 2009. Online

Luther, M. Judy. Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow. Baltimore, MD: NISO ; Dublin, Ohio: OCLC, 2009. Online

This report does a good job of summarizing the status quo of metadata for books in the context of libraries and the publishing industry. In doing so, the report describes the areas of metadata management where publishers and libraries intersect and where they completely miss each other. For example, more and more, libraries are expecting high-quality metadata (usually in the form of MARC records) for aggregations they purchase from booksellers, whether they be physical books or ebooks. However, libraries and publishers differ in important things like subject schemes. Publishers have a small set of terms (about 3,000) that are used to place books in bookstores, but libraries need much more granularity and use subject schemes with hundreds of thousands of different terms.

The report is too generous in its assessment of ONX, the metadata scheme of choice of publishers and booksellers, calling it "unsurpassed for granularity and definition" (p. 4), even though the author later admits "ONIX has missing data elements" (p. 6).

The most interesting section of the report is the one called "Opportunities." Here the author effectively summarizes emerging standards and organizations that will improve the quality, delivery, and interoperability of metadata in the years to come. Some of the initiatives she describes include the ISNI, the International Standard Name Identifier, and the ISTC, the International Standard Text Code. The ISTC is a system for identifying different manifestations of the same work.

The 22-page report ends with a helpful glossary of terms and acronyms, a who's who and what's what of the current realm of books and metadata.

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The mission of Cataloging Rules is to serve as a forum for discussing the value that cataloging adds to libraries.

The world of information discovery and information retrieval is a competitive one, so it's important that catalogers explain the crucial role metadata plays in helping libraries achieve their missions. Rich metadata, such as that created and maintained in online catalogs, enables efficient and precise information discovery in libraries. Cataloging has many features that facilitate discovery and compensate for the weaknesses of full-text searching, including the application of controlled vocabularies and the resolution of the name ambiguity problem.

Over the past ten years, many have attacked library catalogs, catalogers, and cataloging in general, but insufficient effort has been made, in the wake of these gratuitous attacks, to explain the value that cataloging adds to information management and discovery in libraries. This group will serve as a forum for discussing the great value that cataloging adds to library collections.  

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