Library of Congress E-Resources Online Catalog

Library of Congress has a beta version of its new e-resources online catalogue. According to its description, “with this catalog you can browse our databases alphabetically or by subject area.  You can search for journals and see the coverage and which of our subscription resources have the title.  There are a number of freely accessible websites recommended by staff and a selection of e-books both subscription and free public access.”  LC is looking for public input, so please feel free to comment here and to LC.


The “Great Librarian Massacre”

There’s been quite a bit of sound and fury over Harvard’s library restructuring plan. Claims of forcing librarians to reapply for their jobs and the lackluster, non-commital responses from the administration have caught the attention of quite a few academic librarians. (Read the Library Journal article here)

One cataloguing librarian writing on Daily Kos put in his two cents on how and why this reorganization scheme will have a disproportionate effect on cataloguers and other tech services personnel. In short, it’s the Internet’s fault. He does raise a lot of interesting points about how the changes to libraries over the past few decades have affected the role of cataloguers, but he comes short of offering much in the way of solutions. He argues that cataloguers in “the role of mediator, who stands between the user and the collection and manages the discovery of its materials (in all formats) remains vital[,]” but fails to elaborate much beyond that.

Turning your phones into cataloguing clients

This post discusses how smartphones could be used to create catalogue records via OCR (Optical Character Recognition).  If I understand the premise correctly, you could take a digital photograph of a book’s title page, for example, then use OCR technology to convert the text (e.g., title, SOR) into a MARC record.  Any thoughts?  I do wonder about the quality of the resultant records since, in essence, you are relying on software to select and input data correctly.  This presumes, also, that the software could distinguish between, say, a title statement and an SOR.  Without further details, it’s hard to assess how this woudl work, but it’s an intriguing concept.

Metadata Silos

I found a recent post from Karen Coyle’s blog worth a read. Here’s the quotation that caught my eye:

Each of these efforts takes a single library standard and, using RDF as its underlying technology, creates a full metadata schema that defines each element of the standard in RDF. The result is that we now have a series of RDF silos, each defining data elements as if they belong uniquely to that standard. We have, for example, at least four different declarations of “place of publication”: in ISBD, RDA, FRBR and MODS, each with its own URI. There are some differences between them (e.g. RDA separates place of publication, manufacture, production while ISBD does not) but clearly they should descend from a common ancestor

Via Coyle’s Information (emphasis added)

The post’s title is “Bibliographic Framework: RDF and Linked Data” and it’s prompted me to start reading about RDF in a more focussed way. My suspicion is that successful linked data efforts—including efforts to expose library catalog data to the web—will require that siloed metadata schemas be avoided.


Code Year Catalogers

You may be interested this post, which discusses an opportunity to learn free coding.  As the post suggests, “Catalogers work with massive amounts of curated bibliographic data, and being able to manipulate it in new and different ways and in ever increasing amounts is key as we move forward into the bibliographic future and the world of linked data and the semantic web.”

The relationship of knowledge organization to linked data

Lorcan Dempsey,  Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist, posted his thoughts on how knowledge organization can be used to link data across networks. Dempsey suggests that the catalogue represents a network of knowledge.  ”In theory, this is achieved through ‘adjacency’ and cross reference, notably with reference to authors, subjects and works.”  Dempsey suggests that this model can be expanded to link data across a wider variety of platforms.  What do you think is the continuing value of catalogues and linked data in our society?