«Part II Submissions by: Judy Anderson Heather S. Miller Bryan Baldus Allen Mullen Deanna Briggs John J. Riemer Diana Brooking Karina Ricker Lloyd ...»
5. Tools (OPAC and cataloger interfaces) are relatively difficult to use and information poor Issue - In comparison to other Internet-based resources, discovery/access/input are non-intuitive and unnecessarily complex Potential solutions - utilize user feedback, explicit acknowledgment that Internet resources such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, and countless other networked resources establish the norm for user interaction, and continual enhancement approaches to address this This constitutes a regrettably brief introduction to a concept of extended bibliographic control that can incorporate the strengths of the standards and processes of the cataloging tradition with a much needed modernization that redirects bibliographic control from redundancy and the weaknesses of library as sole bibliographic control creator and gateway to efficiencies built on extended collaboration and social networking. It is a wholly inadequate sketch, yes, but as such potentially provides a canvas for creativity, for it is innovation by intrepid and thoughtful librarians that can continue to establish the library as a highly relevant and desirable portal to information and recreation resources for all of the various user communities we serve.
Thank you for opening the input process to allow myself and others to participate.
Respectfully, Allen Mullen Key Directions to Pursue for the Future of Bibliographic Control
If recent library-community initiatives1 that exploit existing metadata are any measure, if the popularity among the user-community of such social networking software features as reviewing and “tagging”2 is any indication, then it seems the future of bibliographic control could indeed be very bright.
Libraries have long contributed value to the information marketplace through creating metadata and leading the development of metadata standards. As a profession, we have long specialized in identifying the relationships among bibliographic entities that users find meaningful and helpful. Dating back at least as far as Cutter’s objects for the catalog (“To show what the library has by a given author, on a given subject, in a given kind of literature”), we have prized helping users navigate those relationships. In recent times we have striven to link users from print version records to online equivalents in full text, from works to background information about authors and publishers, across multiple formats in federated searching to show related material by author or subject.
To have the kind of bright future for bibliographic control that we expect and our users deserve, there are a number of measures we need to undertake.
1) There is great wisdom in the willingness to work in shared files. This was the original ethos of Program for Cooperative Cataloging participants collaborating in activity like NACO authority work and CONSER. The mode of working in a shared file needs to become much more widespread across libraries, and it needs to encompass more than the efficiency of using others’ records as a resource at the time titles are newly cataloged. If the database of record is shared widely, any heading maintenance, any improvement to or update of a bibliographic record done by one party would automatically be shared by all.
The initial efficiency perceived in OCLC’s database was that only one library had to perform original cataloging for a given title; all other members merely had to copy catalog the title, using that first library’s record. What if there were no more reworking of the first library’s record? What if the only editing of records for correctness and completeness allowed were the kind that was contributed back to the communal master record?
The time has come for us to consciously give up the luxury of local variation and duplication of effort inherent in every library creating and maintaining individual, local copies of bibliographic records. We can no longer afford or justify this. So that we can extend quality metadata to a maximum number of resources and turn our energies toward providing new and compelling services based on that metadata, we should be eager to give up customization.
2) We should be seeking to complement the bibliographic control efforts of others.
Libraries should not always feel that they have to be the ones to provide the metadata. If there is similarity in the uses made of bibliographic descriptions by publishers, vendors, and libraries for their inventories, and if there is significant overlap among needed data elements, then it makes sense to pursue a single metadata creation effort whose results we all can use.
3) We need to prepare for a bibliographic control environment where many more metadata schema will be used, more controlled vocabularies will be used, and more providers of metadata will emerge. The schema will need to be coordinated and crosswalked, the vocabularies will be important to map from one to another, and interchanges with other cultural heritage and commercial sector partners will depend on standards. Metadata creation for a given resource will likely involve more players–the opposite of a trend at Library of Congress toward “whole book” cataloging. There will be a continuous need for training. The resources to accomplish 3) clearly depend on the successful implementation of 1) and 2) above.
4) Universal Bibliographic Control is the dream that every nation will produce the cataloging of its imprints. The fact that some two-thirds of what LC catalogs is foreign language material indicates that UBC is far from reality. Even if every national library were playing its leadership part, we would still face incompatibility in the results.
Given how highly desirable it is to be able to use bibliographic records as is, heavy producers of records like Germany and France ought to be brought into the Joint Steering Committee fold and made stakeholders in the cataloging code we share with Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. The current RDA code writing effort should assure that our ability to use records will not continue to be adversely affected by headings formulated according to different rules and separate authority files.
Of course, RDA should also include guidance for those using non-MARC schema, if for nothing else to improve the odds of interoperability.
5) The ongoing challenge in technical services work is how to leverage ever greater quantities of material, without corresponding increases in personnel resources. The creative, imaginative, and relentless effort to use automation is critical to meeting this challenge. Macros, error-detecting validation, automated suggestor systems based on subject term and classification correlations, batch manipulation capabilities are but some of the many tools that we could benefit from.
All of the above measures and reforms should be exhausted before we reach a conclusion that our metadata standards no longer sufficiently scale, that we need to make general retrenchments to record content.
6) The role of professional catalogers should continue to evolve toward becoming coordinators of metadata activity, consultants, project managers, standards advocates and developers, problem solvers.
7) Libraries should seek ways to incorporate their content and services into the environments where their users are, so that awareness of and usage of the content and services does not depend on the users’ coming to the library physically or virtually.
Examples of these non-library settings include incorporation into course management systems; exposure to harvesting for web search engines; making it possible for users to annotate the data.
8) Returning to the theme that libraries have always had a key contribution to make in tracking and tracing relationships among bibliographic entities, we should review the full range of these, to make sure we have on our radar the ones that users care about and would benefit from.
In addition to the major relationships covered in the FRBR model, users may also care about relationships such as that between the book and the movie.
A more useful form of relevance ranking takes into account a wide range of factors beyond the prevalence of a keyword in the metadata, such as how widely held a title is in libraries, how often it is used (circulated, purchased), how a title’s usage and ownership correlates with that of other titles, etc.
As the editors of Wikipedia articles are connecting from them to useful library resources, similarly we should be looking for new ways to link users from our records to related resources (or even experimentally empowering users do this).
At the 2007 Association of Jewish Libraries meeting, the WorldCat Identities project was demonstrated. One of the most compelling benefits seen in it was the ability to connect users from “Authors, Yiddish --20th century” to examples of individual authors like Isaac Bashevis Singer.3 This looks an awful lot like the topic-to-name see-also references that used to populate NACO records, until the perceived maintenance burden led to their discontinuation and removal in the 1990s. If they are important to our users and if we are unable to support this work, could our users be authorized to add these?
As Stu Weibel put it recently4, we should be willing to “Link to all things useful.” 1
Consider these examples:
Implementation projects involving the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) (http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/frbr/default.htm ) that group related material together for easier, meaningful navigation.
New front-end discovery services such as the Endeca implementation at North Carolina State University (http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/06_01/007.htm ) that offer faceted search results in the online catalog (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/catalog ).
3 WorldCat Identities is a data mining project (http://orlabs.oclc.org/Identities ).
FAST as means of extending the benefits of controlled vocabulary to e-resources (http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/fast/ ).
2 “Basic features of the WorldCat Web interface” include user-contributed content. “WorldCat users and non-cataloging librarians can create an account and begin to add content such as factual notes, tables of contents, ratings and critiques under the Details and Reviews tabs for any item.” (http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/web/features/default.htm) University of Pennsylvania users can “tag” records from the library catalog (Franklin) and video catalog (VCaT) (http://tags.library.upenn.edu ).
3 Report of Karen Smith-Yoshimura at RLG Partners meeting, June 22, 2007, at ALA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
4 Stuart Weibel. “Information Trends in Libraries: Get More Value from Data Give More Value to Users Get Users involved.” PowerPoint presentation at XXIII CBBD: Congresso Brasileiro de Biblioteconomia, Documentação e Ciência da Informação, July 9, 2007, Brasilia, Brazil.
http://www.oclc.org/research/presentations/weibel/20070709-brazil.ppt (slide 16 of 27)
August 3, 2007 Dr. José-Marie Griffiths Dean and Professor School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill CB#3360, 100 Manning Hall Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360 Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, Thank you for this opportunity to offer my opinions on the Future of Bibliographic Control. Although I only watched the web cast of the most recent of the meetings held this year, I read the summaries for all three of them. My comments below are based my cataloging and reference experience in a medium sized academic library, attention to the professional literature, blogs, and listservs, as well as attendance at numerous conference presentations over the course of 25 years.
My wish during this conversation about the future of bibliographic control is that the following premise is accepted: the community, both research and non-researchers, needs a distinct bibliographic database that effectively offers to the community a record of published or produced primary and secondary informational resources, including the availability of those resources, that traditional catalogers possess knowledge relevant in the development of new storage and retrieval mechanisms, and that catalogers are willing and able to learn new skills necessary to transition to a new cataloging environment.
Here are some of my thoughts for the future:
Standardization in bibliographic records is important for efficient storage, retrieval o and manipulation of bibliographic data, and catalogers are essential to maintaining this standardization. Catalogers hold the professional memory of the meaning and use of this data and its organization. Change in standards is not the issue here, but the disruption in consistency and/or the transfer of responsibility away from catalogers. Either of these circumstances results in a loss of consistency or a loss in understanding the data. The end result is that humans who tell computers how to manipulate that data are working with insufficient knowledge of the data.
User Service librarians have always been and will continue to be unique and crucial o users of online catalogs. -- Reference, ILL, instructors, bibliographers, and special collection librarians use the descriptive information in MARC records and search the online catalog in ways that the average library patron does not. They act as a conduit between researchers and materials. Perhaps by identifying the needs of user services librarians, we can determine a middle of the road solution for the simplicity versus standards argument.
Collaboration between Library of Congress and library and industry leaders for the o purpose of establishing, revising, communicating and implementing cataloging standards -- (1) We “little people” depend upon your collective wisdom; (2) When LC decides independently to discontinue a practice, more decisions fall to the local level. This creates less uniformity in cataloging copy on OCLC and those records provided by vendor/publishers. This drop in quality is not an incentive to outsource cataloging at the local level.