Planet Cataloging

May 24, 2016


Is anything more important than convenience?

woman-hammockIn today’s fast-paced world, people want information quickly and conveniently. In almost all situations, they decide what services to pursue and what resources to use based on ease of access, ease of use and the situation and context of the information need. It doesn’t matter if the person is young or old, the deadline near or far, the task scholarly or personal—familiarity and ease of use within individual workflows reign.

This has implications for libraries. If library collections and services are viewed as arduous or not within the individual work environment, more and more people will seek other information resources, reducing library visits—both physical and virtual—and potentially undermining library support in the battle for user mindshare and public funding.

Late last year, OCLC Research released The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging with People Where They Live and Learn, a 10+-year compilation of user behavior studies and findings. Taken together, the ten chapters provide a basic understanding of much of the work we’ve done in this area.

We featured chapter one in an earlier post, where we discussed saving time for the user. In this post, we will highlight chapter six, which explores why people choose one information source instead of another, and what factors contribute to their selection of information sources.

We analyzed data from two, multi-year, IMLS-funded projects, investigating convenience as a constant theme in different information-seeking behaviors. What we learned will help libraries appeal to the convenience demands of today’s information seekers.

Libraries can appeal to the convenience demands of today’s information seekers.
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Convenience trumps demographics

An overwhelming amount of data identifies convenience as absolutely central to information-seeking behaviors. The importance of convenience is especially prevalent among younger generations in both studies, but is true across all demographic categories—age, gender and academic role. Convenience is a factor for making choices in all situations, both academic information-seeking and everyday life information-seeking, though it plays different roles in different situations.

Ease of access to resources is one measure of convenience when making rational choices in information seeking. The most convenient sources of information were internet search engines, electronic databases, virtual reference, or online e-reserves, e-books and online booksellers; Google is important to most.

Faculty were moderately more positive in their assessment of databases’ convenience than graduate and undergraduate students, who both favored search engines. When asked to describe a time when they had a situation where they needed answers or solutions and did a quick search and made do with it, undergraduates tended to discuss only Web-based sources, with a heavy reliance on Google in particular. Graduate students also cited Google as being quick and easy, but at the same time, if they are unable to locate an internet source for their quick search, they use the library as a convenient repository of information.

Convenience trumps location

In addition to electronic resources, which carry the convenience of desktop or home access, data emerged confirming the convenience of friends and family as information sources, as well as the convenience of having a personal library. Faculty most often cited their personal home or office library—an incredibly convenient source—as the most often-used place to find quick information, though many of them also spoke about colleagues or Google.

Convenience also plays a part in choosing to use or not to use the brick-and-mortar library, or how to access library resources after hours or on the weekend. When asked to imagine an ideal information system, ideas from undergraduates include the ability to use keyword searching in all books, a universal library catalog for all libraries, reference staff who conveniently rove about the library and federated search in databases.

Convenience trumps content

Different situations for information needs did not detract from the importance of convenience in making choices, though the convenience factor acted differently depending on context. Professional scholars and students faced with lengthy academic tasks valued the most convenient access to the library’s great store of resources, but acknowledged that those academic tasks that were of more importance or value to them would warrant more extensive searches and more time.

Faculty mentioned Web searches as easy to use, though these searches often next lead them to the library for authoritative and credible information, an evaluation they make in spite of convenience factors.

Perception reflects reality

The image of the library as a quiet place to access books rather than to access electronic sources still is prevalent today. In order to entice people to use libraries and to change their perceptions of libraries, the library experience needs to become more like that available elsewhere on the Web (e.g., Google,, iTunes, etc.) and to be embedded in individual workflows. The Web environment is familiar to users; therefore, they are comfortable and confident choosing to search for information there.

Librarians need to replicate the convenience of major Web services and integrate the discoverability of their resources into social media and Web searches…since, as we’ve seen, convenience trumps everything.


Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, comp. 2015. The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging with People Where They Live and Learn. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.

Prabha, C., Connaway, L.S., & Dickey, T.J. Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase IV: Semi-structured interview study. Report on National Leadership Grant LG-02-03-0062-03, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Ohio: School of Communication, The Ohio State University.

Radford, M.L., & Connaway, L.S. Seeking synchronicity: Evaluating virtual reference services from user, non-user, and librarian perspectives: IMLS final performance report. Report on Grant LG-06-05-0109-05, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center.

Your turn:

  • What have you done to make your library services more convenient, and what ideas do you have for the future?

The post Is anything more important than convenience? appeared first on OCLC Next.

by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. at May 24, 2016 02:11 PM

Terry's Worklog

MarcEdit Update

Yesterday, I posted a significant update to the Windows/Linux builds and a maintenance update to the Mac build that includes a lot of prep work to get it ready to roll in a number of changes that I’ll hopefully complete this week.  Unfortunately, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling, which means that my access to my mac setup has been pretty limited and I didn’t want to take another week getting everything synched together. 

So what are the specific changes:

ILS Integrations
I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past three works head down working on ILS integrations.  Right now, I’m managing two ILS integration scenarios – one is with Alma and their API.  I’m probably 80% finished with that work.  Right now, all the code is written, I’m just not getting back expected responses from their bibliographic update API.  Once I sort out that issue – I’ll be integrating this change into MarcEdit and will provide a youtube video demonstrating the functionality. 

The other ILS integration that I’ve been accommodating is working with MarcEdit’s MARC SQL Explorer and the internal database structure.  This work builds on some work being done with the Validate Headings tool to close the authority control loop.  I’ll likely be posting more about that later this week as I’m currently have a couple libraries test this functionality to make sure I’ve not missed anything.  Once they give me the thumbs up, this will make its way into the MarcEditor as well. 

But as part of this work, I needed to create a way for users to edit and search the local database structure in a more friendly way.  So, leveraging the ILS platform, I’ve included the ability for users to work with the local database format directly within the MarcEditor.  You can see how this works here ( Integrating the MarcEditor with a local SQL store.  I’m not sure what the ideal use case is for this functionality – but over the past couple of weeks, it had been requested by a couple of power users currently using the MARC SQL Explorer for some data edits, but hoping for an easier to user interface.  This work will be integrated into the Mac MarcEdit version at the end of this week.  All the prep work (window/control development) has been completed.  At this point, its just migrating the code so that it works within the Mac’s object-C codebase.

Edit Shortcuts
I created two new edit shortcuts in the MarcEditor.  The first, Find Records With Duplicate Tags, was created to help users look for records that may have multiple tags or a tag/subfield combination with a set of records.  This is work that can be done in the Extract Selected Records tool, but it requires a bit a trickery and knowledge of how MarcEdit formats data. 


How does this work – say you wanted to know which records had multiple call numbers (050) fields in a record.  You would select this option, enter 050 in the prompt, and then the tool would create for you a jump list showing all the records that met your criteria. 

Convert To Decimal Degrees
The second Edit ShortCut function is the first Math function (I’ll be adding two more, specifically around finding records with dates greater than or less than a specific value) targeting the conversion of Degree/Minutes/Seconds to decimal degrees.  The process has been created to be MARC agnostic, so users can specify the field, and subfields to process.  To run this function, select it from the Edit Shortcuts as demonstrated in the screenshot below:


When selected, you will get the following prompt:


This documents the format for defining the field/subfields to be processed.  Please note, it is important to define the all four potential values for conversion – even if they are not used within the record set. 

Using this function, you can now convert a value like:
=034  1\$aa$b1450000$dW1250000$eW1163500$fN0461500$gN0420000
=034  1\$aa$b1450000$d+125.0000$e+116.5800$f+046.2500$g+042.0000

This function should allow users to transition their cartographic data to a format that is much more friendly to geographic interpretation if desired.

Bug Fixes:
This update also addressed a bug in the Build New field parser.  If you have multiple arguments, side-by-side, within the same field grouping (i.e., {100$a}{100$b}{100$c} – the parser can become confused.  This has been corrected.

Included and update to the linked data rules file, updating the 7xx fields to include the $t in the processing.  Also updated the UNIMARC translation to include a 1:1 translation for 9xx data.

Over the next week, I hope to complete the Alma integration, but will focusing the development work in my free time on getting the Mac version synched with these changes.


by reeset at May 24, 2016 01:39 AM

May 23, 2016

First Thus

alcts-eforum Welcome

Posting to ALCTS-eforum

On 5/3/2016 4:00 PM, Karl Pettitt wrote:
Cataloging and metadata management have already seen a great deal of change with the implementation of RDA. However, perhaps an even greater change is on our horizon. Our hope is that this e-forum can serve as a place for us to discuss the issues we face in preparing for this change.
To begin our discussion we would like to start with a rather broad question. What apprehensions do you have about the upcoming changes to the world of cataloging and metadata management? Specifically, what worries do you have about replacing MARC?

Updating MARC to a format that is more widely used should have been done long ago. Computers are so powerful today that the change could be arranged so that neither catalogers nor the public would even notice much of a change–or if individuals wanted, it could be a huge change. There is tremendous flexibility today, especially once we go with a more modern format.

One concern I have is that there doesn’t seem to be much agreement about what a library catalog should do, and even where people should encounter our catalog/catalog records. Although I think everybody understands that the public doesn’t like to use our catalogs anymore (although there may be little acceptance of that fact among many librarians), I want to ask whether the new tools that will replace the catalog will be separate tools (that people will be expected to go before they can search them) or will our records be added into the tools the public already uses?

What I mean is: do we expect everybody will come to our separate sites to find what we have, or will our records “go to them” and be included into the Googles and Yahoos and Bings–and Baidu and Yandex for that matter–and who knows? maybe even into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites. If people are supposed to come to our newly-structured separate “catalogs” that use Bibframe and linked data, that they can navigate, then that will have certain requirements. First, you have to get them to come to our new catalogs.

But if our records are to be included in the Googles, etc. that has other requirements (specifically, a format called To be clear also, this possibility could be done more or less immediately at a minimum of cost, while the Bibframe/linked data tools will demand decades of work before they exist and–we shouldn’t forget–lots of funding.

For instance, if the ultimate purpose is to allow people to do the FRBR user tasks of find-identify-select-obtain works-expressions-manifestations-items by their authors-titles-subjects, whatever we make with Bibframe and linked data probably won’t work very well, if at all, in the Googles.

Perhaps we could envision that somehow everything would work in tandem: that our Bibframe records could be converted into for placement into the Googles. Then, when people find specific records on the Googles, they would click into our modern Bibframe/Linked data tools. Maybe, but for a whole lot of reasons, I’m not convinced.

That’s not even asking if the FRBR user tasks are what a 21st-century public wants to do with “bibliographic records”. I am far from alone in my doubts, but that is another discussion.


by James Weinheimer at May 23, 2016 10:48 AM

May 22, 2016

Resource Description & Access (RDA)

RDA Cataloging News and RDA Bibliography [under construction]

RDA CATALOGING NEWS RDA Cataloging News is compilation of News, Events, Articles, Books, Presentations, Videos, Workshops, Training, Blog Posts, Reviews Etc. on Resource Description and Access (RDA), Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2), MARC21, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), Functional Requirements for Subject

by Salman Haider ( at May 22, 2016 08:40 AM

First Thus

RDA-L Digital documents: frontdoor page part of the resource?

Posting to RDA-L

On 5/18/2016 9:45 PM, JT Whitfield wrote:
One concern I have is a situation when the same file is available via more than one web page/landing page/wrapper/access page. If you are cataloging from a page created by or for the institution or individual that created or digitized the file, you would have one set of information. If you were cataloging a page where the file was “reposted” you may not have an attribution, and the further removed you are from the “creator” the greater the chance may be that you have erroneous or incomplete information about the file. (You may even have a “spoofed” or altered file on the page, and you may not know what alterations have been made or why.) Of course, you would catalog based on the information you have “on screen.”

An example of a “spoofed” file are those created by the agency “BiblioBazaar” where the organization takes a book that has been digitized by someone else (Google, a library) and is also in the public domain, puts a new t.p. on it, and “re-publishes” it. Here is an example: “Sinks of London Laid Open” with authors “BiblioBazaar, LIGHTNING SOURCE INC” publication information: “BiblioBazaar, 2008” (

You can’t access the book, but we find this note: “This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts – the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.”

This noble sounding statement is all hogwash. It turns out that this company has done nothing of the sort. All they have done is take this book, already digitized by Google, and put a new t.p. on it, along with new publication information. (You can see some of their books too, e.g. where all they did was add a new t.p. and some metadata) This company does this because they hope that someone will ask for a print-on-demand version from them.

An interesting discussion of this phenomenon is at This article discusses the problems of spamming the Google n-gram service, but there is a more general problem of spamming the entire bibliographical apparatus. There are several “publishers” who are doing this.

There is nothing new about this and should be expected during transitional times like these. I remember reading a story (but don’t remember where) of a group of book sellers, printers, and librarians in early 1700s London, who had all been complaining about a certain printer who kept reprinting the same few books over and over, but under different titles and publication information. This group of people found the printer and forced him to sign an agreement that he wouldn’t print anything for 10 years. I don’t know if he held to his pledge.


by James Weinheimer at May 22, 2016 07:14 AM

May 21, 2016

First Thus

ACAT What about “Citizens”?

Posting to Autocat

On 4/21/2016 7:52 PM, Nathan Rinne wrote:
Still, when it comes to getting a default heading [still something we > should strive for right, Jim?]

Actually, no. I do not see a need for a “default heading”, although I do like the way you put it. I have been using “single heading”. “Default heading” is a better term.

With linked data, what searchers experience can be something like what we see in Google search results from a search such as one for “Confucius” ( The area in the right hand column labeled “Confucius” with pictures, quotes, books and other information is called a “card”.
This “card” contains information from (I guess) dbpedia, Wikidata, Freebase and other tools, and we can see what a “heading” can become: something with far more than only a few words of text.

If this “card” would include information from another source, specifically, ( we could display it just like what we see in the Google result, except it would not include who he influenced, quotes, and so on. The library linked data tool could include the info from and what are now labelled “variants” could be added to what the user sees: Confucius, Konfuzius, K’oeng Foe-tse, Kung-foo-tsze, Kung-Kew, Kong-Fou-Tze…

and we could tart it up with pictures and other info.

Now, returning to the discussion about “Undocumented immigrants/Illegal aliens” ( the new “card” for the catalog can display in a similar manner:
Illegal aliens, Undocumented immigrants, Aliens–Legal status, laws, etc., Aliens, Illegal, Illegal aliens–Legal status, laws, etc., Illegal immigrants, …

along with the narrower, broader, related terms, any scope notes, and so on. This entire “card” would replace what we now think of as a “default heading”.

In such a tool, each form can be searched and found, and none needs to take precedence over the other. Each form can be equal. I think this kind of tool could put an end to the interminable arguments over which single form (or default form) that everybody must use.

And yes, this is not actually new. (The historian in me must speak out!) I have mentioned that I found such displays in an old catalog of the Bodleian Library from the 1600s, created by the great scholar Thomas Hyde. (I mentioned this in a post


by James Weinheimer at May 21, 2016 09:17 PM

Update of my last suggestion on the continuing crusade

Posting to RadCat

On 4/20/2016 2:41 AM, James Agenbroad wrote:
I closed my 6th, Bibframe, comment saying “I cannot predict what the courts will decide”–about authors’ rights vs. online full text retrieval. Page A13 of today’s Washington Post has an article headlined “Google wins legal battle over program to scan books.” In short, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s decision. in Google’s favor. If this leads authors to cease writing there will be nothing to be cataloged. I hope this does not happen.

This is one of those assertions I do not understand. I don’t know how the Google scanning project has hurt any authors financially. All you get are “snippets” unless the publisher and/or author allows a fuller preview. As far as I have seen, everyone concerned has admitted that the snippets cannot take the place of the book. In fact, they could actually help authors if the public rediscovers some of their out-of-print books and prod the publishers into reprinting them. Google Books is for book discovery, except in the case of public domain books that can be downloaded.

It seems to me that so long as the publishers refuse to make ebooks more appealing by giving them more realistic prices, no author is going to lose any money (or make very much) with ebooks. See for example, “The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu” in Amazon where the hardcover costs less than the Kindle ebook. ( This happens all the time and is outrageous. All it shows is that publishers do not want to sell ebooks. If the ebook had a decent price, somebody might actually buy it and the author might make some money, but this way it is the author who gets blasted.

For another view of the new possibilities today from an established and successful author, I suggest Barry Eisler. Here is a provocative interview where he shares his opinion ( or, for something more in depth, there is his book “Be the monkey” available as a free ebook at


by James Weinheimer at May 21, 2016 10:34 AM

May 20, 2016

025.431: The Dewey blog

Dewey Update Breakfast and ALCTS Public Libraries Technical Services Interest Group

Come learn what's new on the Dewey scene with Julianne Beall and Alex Kyrios, Dewey editorial team members, and Caroline Saccucci, head of the CIP and Dewey Program at the Library of Congress. Juli will explore important features of WebDewey (the number-building assistant and an upcoming user notification feature), while Alex will review significant schedule changes coming out of the annual DDC Editorial Policy Committee in early June. Caroline will talk about an expansion of LC's AutoDewey program for sports biographies. The ALCTS Public Libraries Technical Services Interest Group meeting follows directly after.

Saturday, June 25, 7:00 – 10:00 am
Hilton Orlando, Orange Ballroom C    

Register for this and other OCLC ALA events

by Alex at May 20, 2016 06:11 PM

TSLL TechScans

A taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organizations

Gross, Tina. "Naming and reframing: a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization," Knowledge organization, 42, no. 5 (2015): 263-268.

It seems like technical services departments, cataloging practitioners and the entire concept of knowledge organization are under continual attack. Technical services librarians and functions are portrayed as outdated, rigid and expensive. The work of providing bibliographic description and access to resources can be outsourced or done "automagically". Someone else can do it cheaper/better/faster, and everyone uses Google to find things anyway, so who cares!

Tina Gross, Catalog Librarian at St. Cloud State University, has devised a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization grounded in the idea that naming and defining a concept gives us the power.

The terms in the taxonomy are:

Embracing austerity
Advocating parasitism
Disregarding quality
Imputing pedantry
Vender mystification
Search technology mystification
Distorting user behavior
Change cudgeling

Each term is defined, variants and subcategories are identified and a brief narrative example given.

Explication of our shared experience of attacks on knowledge organization can help us think through the arguments that support our work to better counter attacks and defend our collective value. 

by (Jackie Magagnosc) at May 20, 2016 03:58 PM

Mod Librarian

10 Things on the 20th: Faceted Search, Taxonomy and Awful Library Books

10 Things on the 20th: Faceted Search, Taxonomy and Awful Library Books

Hello friends,

Apologies for missing 10 Things on the 10th due to my change of address earlier this month. Here are those belated 10 things:

  1. Enjoy these awful library books.
  2. Another DAM Podcast interview with Keith Bloomfield-DeWeese.
  3. Dilbert sends a digital file.
  4. PLOS and linked data – what happened?
  5. All you need to know about digital asset management.
  6. Taxonomy design for CMS.
  7. Measuring the succ…

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May 20, 2016 01:07 PM

Resource Description & Access (RDA)

Resource Description and Access (RDA) Traffic Stats

Thanks all for your love, suggestions, testimonials, likes, +1, tweets and shares ....

Please post your feedback and comments on RDA Blog Guest Book. Select remarks will be posted on RDA Blog Testimonials page.


RDA Blog is a blog on Resource Description and Access (RDA), a new library cataloging standard that provides instructions and guidelines on formulating data for resource description and discovery, organized based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), intended for use by libraries and other cultural organizations replacing Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2). RDA Blog lists description and links to resources on Resource Description & Access (RDA). It is an attempt to bring together at one place all the useful and important information, rules, references, news, and links on Resource Description and AccessFRBRFRADFRSADMARC standardsAACR2BIBFRAME, and other items related to current developments and trends in library cataloging practice.

Author: Salman Haider


RDA Blog HistoryRDA Blog is the first and oldest blog exclusively devoted to Resource Description and Access  (RDA). RDA Blog was created by Salman Haider, a Cataloging & Metadata Librarian, Wikipedian, Blogger & Online Social Media Expert from India. RDA Blog embarked on its journey to provide useful information about Resource Description and Access (RDA) in August 2011. It received good response from librarians, catalogers, and library professionals from all around the world. It is interesting to note that the first hundred thousand pageviews to RDA Blog came in 3 years, but it took just 8 months to reach another hundred thousand pageviews. As per RDA Blog Traffic Stats [2016-01-26] RDA Blog is viewed more than 400000 times in 167 countries all around the world, chiefly being the United States. At present, it is viewed at a rate of fifteen to twenty thousand times per month. RDA Blog is widely followed in social media, referred by major universities, libraries, and library schools, cited in books and articles, and trusted as an authoritative source on Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloging rules.
  RDA Blog also made it to the list of useful resources of following:

    by Salman Haider ( at May 20, 2016 09:41 AM

    May 19, 2016

    First Thus

    NGC4LIB what is a “next-generation” library catalog?

    Posting to NGC4LIB

    On 5/3/2016 10:29 AM, Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
    So, what is a “next-generation” library catalog?

    About ten years ago a mailing list called NGC4Lib was created, and via a number of bullet points the list more or less posed the question, “What is a ‘next-generation’ library catalog?”: [1]

    • Who are the primary intended audiences for a library’s “card catalog”?
    • Considering the changing nature of information access in an Internet environment, how is an electronic “card catalog” of today different from the one designed ten or fifteen years ago?
    • What kind of content should these “card catalogs” contain?
    • To what degree are these things “catalogs” (as in inventory lists), and to what degree are they finding aids?
    • To what degree should traditional cataloging practices be used in such a thing, or to what degree should new and upcoming practices such as FRBR be exploited?
    • How would such a thing get created and by whom?
    • What are some of the functionalities of “next generation” catalog?

    Now that NGC4Lib is coming to an end, I hope we — the Library Community — have learned something. If so, then what have we learned? To what degree are we able to answer the primary question? What has happened/developed in the past ten years to inform our answers? Are we further along? Have we advanced knowledge and understanding? Has library service been improved? Was it worth it?
    I invite you, — the community — to reflect, articulate, and share your thoughts. Maybe, sometime in the future, our ideas will form the basis of a historical description of librarianship near the beginnings o the 21st Century.

    Personally, I have enjoyed this list mainly because it seemed one place where IT and cataloging could meet and exchange ideas–even though it could sometimes get bumpy!–but that seems to be happening less and less. The general acceptance seems to be that Bibframe and Linked Data will solve all of our problems–that is, after the 30-40 or so years that it will take for it all to be implemented, and of course, there will be no problem during all this time getting the scads of money we will need since the funding will be raining down on us from the Heavens. These ideas seem to have taken root, so everything seems to be solved.

    There is also the library “Discovery Service” which many would probably say IS the next-generation catalog. It is mainly nothing much more than either a federated search (where one search box actually searches multiple sites and databases) or everything is bunged together into a single database (normally MARC) or both. The belief that this is the solution comfortably avoids the problems of authority control (since not all databases use the same forms, if they use any forms at all) and different records based on different rules get mixed together, along with unpredictable results from full-text searches. To be fair, since our authority records have been so well-hidden from the public for such a long time, it doesn’t surprise me that lack of authority control is not seen as a problem.

    The traditional idea of a library catalog was always to provide a more-or-less complete and reliable listing of the materials in the collection that people could consult relatively quickly and easily; the same tool had to serve both the public and internal inventory control. Finally, there was a healthy dose of reality: the catalog could not be too expensive to create and maintain. When the catalog got too complicated or proved inadequate, the public complained loudly. When it got too expensive, heads in technical services began to roll!

    The main words in that definition of a catalog were: “complete” “reliable” “quick and easy to consult” and this implied consistent cataloging rules plus authority control of various types. The authority methods used in traditional catalogs have worked fairly well, but they were always clunky, got clunkier when computerized, and many have always thought they are too expensive anyway.

    The goals of linked data and the discovery services are quite different and far more abstract, but no matter what, it seems to me that implementing either one will result in something far more complicated than any catalogs today. Sites searched through the discovery services will never follow library methods, and linked data, while it can in theory provide authority control, the reality will be very complex and probably won’t work out in practice. That will all be very expensive too.

    So I wonder: will there continue to be a need for a “more-or-less complete and reliable listing of the materials in the collection that people can consult relatively quickly and easily” without the bells and whistles of (probably) tons of additional information dragged in through linked data: the images, the Wikipedia info, charts, graphs, maps etc. etc., or the extras found through the discovery services? Again, this still implies consistent cataloging rules and authority control.

    One last question, perhaps the key one: will the catalog be seen as a tool for information discovery, or will it be seen as a tool to get an item that someone has already found elsewhere, on Google, Amazon, Linked-in, a shared citation, or something similar? In that case, although there will always be a need for a complete inventory tool there would be little or no need for authority control. For instance, I can imagine a simple tool that works this way: You would see a citation on a webpage or in an email but it would actually be marked-up in, and in the background before you even noticed the citation, the computer would have searched it in a series of databases (which would include a library’s catalog), and if it found a convenient copy for you, it would say “Buy it!” or “Borrow it!” or something. If there were no copy, you would see only the bare citation. In this case, the “catalog” would run completely behind the scenes and the user wouldn’t even know it existed. It wouldn’t even enter your mind to search it for related materials.

    From what I have read in the library literature, I think lots of people want exactly that.

    If the answers to these questions is that yes, we want a tool that lets people discover what is in a collection and it should be complete, reliable, quick and easy to consult, then I would say there is a need for what we think of as a catalog; if no, then the linked data/discovery services will be adequate.


    by James Weinheimer at May 19, 2016 10:27 AM

    What about “Citizens”?

    Posting to Autocat

    On 4/18/2016 7:47 PM, John Gordon Marr wrote:

    What was once a game only for the power elite has become a very common game of manipulation in our society in general (e.g. trolling) due to the ubiquity and plasticity of media . That is to say, the way something [a work or a person] describes itself can no longer be assumed to be aboveboard. Quite the contrary, in fact, and it has become wise to encourage people to read between the lines and look for disguised motives.

    You asked for some parallels to the introduction of Rep. Black’s bill. Look beyond the specific issue for a moment, and just look for examples of possible intentional deception promoting self-obsession anywhere. All I’m saying is that those possibilities carry much more effective, potentially harmful, weight than any possibilities of candidness.

    Subject headings are a form of “advertising.” So we have a problem when we do not tell patrons that certain works may contain manipulative bias, just like advertisements for products do not mention possible negatives. We simply have no way to do it with subject headings, but we do have to recognize the need to do it somehow.

    Of course people have hidden motives. Should it be so surprising that there may be a hidden agenda in Rep. Black’s bill? Not to think so is simply naive. Yet, I don’t think that “reading between the lines” is new at all. Read Voltaire, or look at the outrageous self-propaganda written by Caesar in his “Commentary on the Gallic War.” Today, is it “the 1%” or the “job creators”? Neither term can be called “objective” but each is wholly subjective, replete with an entirely different view of the world silently trailing behind it. I could come up with many more examples in various disciplines but I don’t need to. Still, none of this is new in any way.

    As catalogers, we need to ensure that when people search for the concept “the 1%” that they will be looking at–more or less–the same results as those who search for “job creators” and vice versa. People will choose to search for either term based on all sorts of personal factors but that is relatively unimportant. More important is that getting radically different search results means that people are locked in a “filter bubble” for this concept. Keyword has the tendency to trap people in these kinds of filter bubbles, but cataloging practices can help to avoid those bubbles.

    But all of this is extremely subtle. For the average person (read: administrators) to realize that this is happening, to understand why it is happening, and then to come to the conclusion that it is a serious enough problem that warrants a solution, and that library cataloging (of all things!) may hold that solution, is something that cannot be explained in thirty seconds, the time normally allotted for the so-called “elevator speech” (


    by James Weinheimer at May 19, 2016 06:57 AM

    May 18, 2016

    TSLL TechScans

    FRBR Library Reference Model and Community Responses

    In February of this year, IFLA released for world-wide review a draft of FRBR-Library Reference Model (FRBR-LRM), a model that, according to the blog post about its release, was developed “in response to the need to unify the three separately developed conceptual models (FRBR, FRAD, FRSAD) and consolidate them into a single, consistent model covering all aspects of bibliographic data.” Comments on the proposed model were invited, with a deadline of May 1, 2016. To aid in evaluation of the model, a Transition Mapping document, describing the differences between the old FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD models and the new, unified FRBR-LRM.

    Many prominent library communities and organizations, including the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), ALA’s Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA), and the National Library of Medicine, issued responses to the draft model. Their responses have been collected and are available for viewing. It is interesting to read these responses and ponder what effect the new FRBR model will have on cataloging in the future.

    by (Emily Dust Nimsakont) at May 18, 2016 03:31 PM

    OCLC Next

    Connect. Collaborate. Contribute.

    OCLC Community Center icons

    OCLC was built on a foundation of collaboration. Whenever we can, we look for ways to reflect and replicate that value in other areas. When we reference the OCLC vision, “Because what is known must be shared,” that holds true as much for member-to-member knowledge as it does for sharing library materials with users.

    The power of that model was made especially clear to me during the launch of WorldShare Management Services and during each subsequent implementation. This was not just a new service for OCLC—the idea of a cloud-based platform for library management tasks was a new one in our profession. While OCLC staff was, obviously, involved in all of the training, implementation and support, we realized early on that peer-to-peer learning was going to play a huge role in how libraries got the best value from this unique opportunity.

    The OCLC Community Center was a direct result of those observations. It’s a place for library staff to connect online, share best practices, stay up to date on new product releases and contribute ideas to improve OCLC services. Since its launch last July, over 5,000 users from 2,400+ libraries have registered, connecting members from all over the globe. Our work there with you, the OCLC community, has reinforced what we’ve known all along—the OCLC member community truly rocks.

    But we’ve also learned important principles about collaboration and community engagement:

    • Provide ways for members to be leaders.
    • Share and communicate in many formats.
    • Collaborate through transparency.

    In retrospect, these may seem obvious. But they’re an important part of how we’re getting to success together.

    Connect, collaborate and contribute at the OCLC Community Center:
    Click To Tweet

    Get some leadership bullets on your resume

    If you’d like to share ideas about product development with OCLC and are looking for a leadership role, the Community Center provides a great avenue. Many of the communities, such as those for WorldShare Management Services and EZproxy, have formalized community leadership teams that plan and host online events and roundtable discussions with OCLC staff. But the leadership opportunities don’t stop there. You can hone your talents by helping to plan or host a regional community gathering or conference meet-up. You could adopt a forum discussion board and help lead and foster conversations. Contributors earn bronze, silver and gold badges as they participate in discussion forums and share ideas, making it easy for everyone to identify superstar contributors.

    Share the way you want to

    In addition to regularly scheduled online sessions, several communities have coordinated “deep dive” roundtable discussions around a particular topic area. Online office hours hosted by OCLC product management staff are another avenue for collaboration and conversation. And for those who prefer in-person conversations, many communities, like those for WorldShare Management Services and CONTENTdm, also host regional user group meetings.  Since 2013, there have been over a dozen community-planned, and regionally hosted WMS user group gatherings across the globe, including international community gatherings in Australia and the Netherlands.

    See what everyone else thinks

    Have you ever wondered if you’re the only person who thinks your idea is worth building into an OCLC product? Or been curious to know what other libraries have already suggested? The OCLC Community Center answers both of these questions by providing transparency into the enhancement process. Members can view already submitted suggestions by product area and can add their own comments and ratings to help improve a request. If the idea hasn’t been captured already, they can submit it online so that other librarians can add their thoughts. Once a suggestion has been implemented, it’s acknowledged with an update including a link to release notes or documentation. It’s exciting to watch as your idea gets taken up by your peers, improved and made real!

    More than just crowdsourcing

    You might think of the Community Center as simply crowdsourcing. But it’s much more. By adding opportunities for leadership, keeping the process transparent and creating more ways for community members to be involved, everyone benefits—from the librarian leading a discussion group, to the one whose idea garners peer support, to OCLC staff knowing that a new feature fulfills the needs of multiple libraries. When we work together, we make breakthroughs happen.

    If you haven’t taken a look at the OCLC Community Center yet, I strongly encourage you to give it a try (or check out the short intro video below).

    OCLC members have always led cataloging, research and other professional efforts by using the power of collaboration. Now you can apply those principles to the product improvement process, too.



    The post Connect. Collaborate. Contribute. appeared first on OCLC Next.

    by Helene Blowers at May 18, 2016 12:28 PM

    First Thus

    the continuing crusade to devalue cataloging: 6th suggestion

    Posting to Radcat

    On 4/18/2016 4:23 AM, James Agenbroad wrote:
    6. On Bibframe

    For several years there have been efforts to define a replacement for MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) with something called Bibframe (short for Bibliographic Framework Initiative). Having retired from LC over ten years ago my grasp of it is severely limited. If 1. Bibframe is concerned exclusively or mainly with improving connections between library cataloging data (now mainly in MARC) and non-library Webbased data users such as Google, AND 2. Bibframe will not make it harder for libraries to acquire or use MARC data needed for OPACs and other tasks, then Bibframe’s impact might be limited to competition for programming resources to implement Bibframe or more library oriented asks such as OPAC improvements. One might ask, “Should libraries or non-library organizations who want to use MARC data pay pay to gain easier access to MARC data?” To whom do the expected benefits accrue–libraries and their users or external Web-based organizations and individuals? I cannot say.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll respond to this concerning Bibframe.

    I also am not sure who it is being made for. One thing though: Bibframe will not allow librarians to do anything with their own data that they cannot do right now. Let’s face it: we understand our own data and we can already do anything with it that we want with it–even turn it into Bibframe!

    The main purpose of putting your data into RDF (which is what Bibframe is doing with our bibliographic data) is so that others can use your data in more useful ways, because otherwise outsiders cannot understand your data structures. For instance, a non-librarian should not be expected to know that 245$a is the title proper (or even what that technical term means) and how it is related to a 240 or 246 or 260. Putting your own data into RDF is supposed to make these things clearer to outsiders, so that they can use your data to build their own tools. This is how and why the World Bank puts up their information in RDF so that some person can make a tool using World Bank data with Google Maps that lets people see how incomes are structured in Africa (one example). It makes World Bank data more useful.

    I personally don’t know how well this works out in reality for the vast majority of linked data sites. So, I don’t know how many webmasters who might want to use our data could understand the incredibly complex Bibframe terminologies and structures, even though they are in RDF. But, I’ll give everyone the benefit of a doubt: at least it’s a try.

    It seems as if many people believe that Bibframe must be stored in RDF/XML or JSON or some other format, but it doesn’t have to. Within our current library catalogs, MARC data may be stored as MARC records but it is rarely used by the catalog. (By this, I mean the raw data of MARC with all of the numbers at the beginning, e.g. seen at might be stored in the database somewhere, but the database does not use it) When a record is transferred into a catalog, it deconstructs the MARC record into all of the tables and cells of the relational database, and this is what is used by the catalog. Each database can store this information in completely different ways. Today the raw MARC records are used only in the few instants it takes to transfer records from one library catalog to another. As a result, a Millennium catalog has a different relational database structure from a Koha catalog, but they can transfer records from and to each other. After the transfer, each catalog converts the MARC records to its own internal structure.

    Bibframe records can also be stored as they are, but they probably won’t because each catalog will still have its own needs, just as our catalogs do today, and the RDF will be generated in various ways as needed.

    Also, you can be a linked data “consumer” without being a linked data “provider”. Bibframe is designed to make us into linked data providers and that means it will allow others to use our records. For free? you ask. Good question! I cannot believe that many people will be willing to pay libraries for their records, especially when they can get e.g. Amazon records and others for free–and if somebody buys a book they might even get paid out of it! With that option, why would anybody want to use our records? Especially in that incredibly complex Bibframe? But I am sure that somebody will want to use ours.

    So, consuming linked data has been a possibility for a long time and there is no need for Bibframe if libraries want to build something that uses linked data. Still, how all of this is going to work, especially with the growing popularity of the library “discovery layers” which brings together all kinds of stuff into a single search and a single result: the proprietary journal indexes, separate local catalogs, open-access databases, ebooks and so on and so on, some even in full-text, with numbers of results that can quite literally overwhelm the much smaller, anacronistically-named “library OPAC”–I have no idea how there could be a coherent result.

    Perhaps there can be, but try as I might, I cannot imagine it.


    by James Weinheimer at May 18, 2016 10:52 AM

    May 17, 2016

    TSLL TechScans

    Is it cost-effective to purchase print books when the equivalent e-book is available?

    The aim of this study was to analyze and compare print and electronic book usage for equivalent core clinical titles at the University of South Alabama Biomedical Library collection from 2010 to 2014 to determine format preference and if it would be necessary to purchase identical books in both electronic and print formats. The purpose of purchasing print books that are also available in electronic format is to meet the preferences of some users who prefer to read print format. Usage of 60 core books both in print and electronic formats was compared. Usage statistics were generated from the library’s integrated library system for the print books—both those used in the library and checked out of the library. Electronic usage statistics of the same titles were generated from COUNTER reports; then titles in both formats were compared to determine format preference and whether it is cost-effective to purchase books in both print and electronic formats.

    Li, Jie, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, Volume 16 Issue 1, 2016

    by (Marlene Bubrick) at May 17, 2016 10:01 PM

    Creating solutions instead of solving problems: emerging roles for technical services departments

    As library services shift from a transactional to a transformational approach, the role of technical services is also changing from problem solver to solution creator. Solution creators recognize patterns, anticipate needs, and focus on skill sets and ability. It is a holistic approach that emphasizes creativity and innovation. By focusing on “what if” and the open exchange of ideas, leaders create a learning environment that encourages a growth mindset with a belief in potential. Individuals have the freedom to explore, question, and seek alternative solutions. Solution creators possess a combination of soft skills and technical ability, who contribute to the library's role of content creator.

    Gibson, Sally, Technical Services Quarterly, volume 33 issue 2, 2016

    by (Marlene Bubrick) at May 17, 2016 09:56 PM

    First Thus

    Re: [ACAT] reaction – ALCTS webinar on Future of Technical Services

    Posting to Autocat

    On 5/11/2016 9:33 PM, Harper, Cynthia wrote:
    Just a thought after listening to the ALCTS Webinar “Is Technical Services Dead?” by Amy Weiss and Julie Moore. Julie emphasized something about RDA that I’d never heard anyone mention in the introductory RDA webinars I’ve listedned to to date. That is, RDA extends controlled vocabulary to a lot more fields. Which we all understand is a good thing for computer description.

    It made me think of a definition for linked data that librarians can easily understand – a central function of linked data is as a decentralized controlled vocabulary, where many can add choices for new terms or new fields.

    Is that description valid?

    I co-authored a chapter of a book with Julie Moore that discussed some of these matters. (The chapter is here, by the way

    One of the basic purposes of linked data is to share your data with others. And to do it in the most useful ways possible. But what does that really mean?

    As an example, we can take a look at the Open Library Project at the Internet Archive where many different types of institutions have included their catalogs ( Anybody in the world can download any of these catalogs for free and you can do anything you like with them. (I still find that amazing in itself!) These files are in all kinds of formats: MARC ISO-2709, MARCXML and MODS is much of it (library-driven formats), but there are also records from Random House in ONIX, from CERN (probably in a different format), from Amazon (probably yet another format), something called “indcat” and no doubt many other, quite different types of records.

    We see that while it is true that these records have been freely shared, they are not so useful because many are in binary format (i.e. formats such as ISO-2709 where you need another program such as MARCEdit just to be able to read them) but even then, you have to be an expert to know what a 504 field is, or what an 043 field code is. Maybe you know MARC, but you don’t know ONIX or whatever is used in Amazon, and who knows what CERN uses or the other institutions we see there? Librarians mayknow the formats they use, but they do not know them all. It must be
    admitted that most non-librarians would be completely lost. In any case, if someone wanted to make something useful from this, it would be an incredible amount of work.

    Linked data is a method that attempts to make the underlying structures of your data as comprehensible as possible to the outside community (I want to emphasize that), so that others who do not know your structures could know what e.g. an 043 code is and can decide to use it or not according to their own purposes. In this way, your data can be included in someone else’s program or app.

    Otherwise, your data will most probably be ignored when people make these new programs and apps. That’s a scary thought.

    This isn’t the end of it however. Even if you build a tool that can actually share all of these formats, you are still stuck with strings of text, so one institution may use the term “Libraries” as a subject but another institution may use “مكتبة” (the Arabic word for libraries) and others use still other forms. If those textual strings would be turned into this link ( that brings together many language forms of the concept “Libraries,” it is possible that a far better sharing of information could occur among radically different institutions.

    While this scenario may sound wonderful, not everyone agrees with it. For one thing, it will be very expensive to implement and maintain, and institutions will want to see a decent return in some way. (“What is the ROI?” is a question that cannot be summarily dismissed) There is also a very good chance that nobody will use our data anyway–there are no guarantees at all. Another point: it will take a long time to create such a structure and with the information universe changing so quickly with new tools popping up constantly, it may take so long to implement a linked data universe that when it finally comes out (after decades) people of that time may consider our linked data tools similar to wagon wheels made from wood or axes chipped out of flint. In other words, whatever we make may be obsolete by the time it is built. Finally, some think (including me) that linked data is just too idealistic and while it has some good ideas, there are dozens of serious practical hurdles coming from different parts of the information universe that must be dealt with before investing heavily in linked data.

    The idea of linked data is NOT that you can do things with your own data that you couldn’t do before. After all, you already understand your own data structures and are fully in control of your data. You can manipulate it or convert it or do anything with it already.

    To turn now to your question

    It made me think of a definition for linked data that librarians can easily understand – a central function of linked data is as a decentralized controlled vocabulary, where many can add choices for new terms or new fields.

    my answer is yes, that can be done with linked data, but you don’t have to have linked data to do it. It would be a very expensive way of doing it. There are several other options for doing things like that. If we want new terms or new fields or anything in our own databases nothing is stopping us from implementing them now.

    If the problem is “dirty data” i.e. text strings that are entered inconsistently because of typos, variant language forms etc., there are several methods for fixing that too, and linked data is not necessary.

    If instead, we would decide it would be nice to help people who don’t know the meanings of words they see in our catalog, and we should link our catalog to a dictionary in some way. If librarians would have to build their own electronic dictionary from scratch and make a system to operate with our catalogs, it would never happen. In practical terms, it may be a nice idea but impossible.

    With linked data, you could find that such a dictionary already exists: Wordnet from Princeton ( and has been made available in linked data by the University of Amsterdam ( All it would require would be a programmer to re-tool the catalog to do it automatically. As a result, no librarian would have to change a single thing they do. Something that was formerly unthinkable becomes very possible because of people’s willingness to share their data, and do so in a useful way.

    That is the promise of linked data. There are hundreds of issues connected to such a simplified scenario, but it does hold lots of promise.


    by James Weinheimer at May 17, 2016 12:00 PM

    May 16, 2016

    First Thus

    What about “Citizens”?

    Posting to Autocat

    On 4/15/2016 11:49 PM, John Gordon Marr wrote:

    The problem is more with how one approaches agreement, e.g., Rep. Black’s proposal tries to force everyone to agree with her.

    “Librarians shouldn’t get involved in these arguments. We have no special insight into “objectivity.” I must heartily disagree. One prominent principal of cataloging is to be objective, that is, to not be subjective (i.e. insert one’s personal opinions into the records we create, including subject headings). It is for that very reason that catalogers have the right and responsibility to participate in political discussions for the purpose of identifying and objecting to political subjectivity (i.e. self-obsession).

    These are the points I would like to address. First, it seems to me that if someone is free–and encouraged–to protest the use of certain headings such as “Illegal aliens” for whatever reasons they have, then it also follows that someone else can just as strenuously be able to disagree with them and want “Illegal aliens”. In the case of Rep. Black, she would probably say that LC has decided to do something that she, and the people she represents, disagree with. Therefore, she should be free to say that, and actually should be encouraged just as much as those who dislike “Illegal aliens”. The difference is that she has introduced a bill into Congress. She, as a legally elected representative, can do that, but that is why I was asking if anyone knows of anything like this happening before. I don’t know of anything. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is only the beginning of a trend.

    Concerning the second point, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. It is my view that catalogers are absolutely NOT objective because objectivity is impossible for any human being. I don’t even know what that would mean. Catalogers work on the principle of describing an item according to the way the item describes itself. I have discussed this at some length before (, but to summarize: if an item describes itself as a treatise on freedom, but during cataloging, my interpretation is that it is obviously a subtle treatise on slavery, then when I am making the catalog record I cannot describe it as anything other than a treatise on freedom. I cannot describe the item as a treatise on slavery. Why? Because that is how it describes itself. This cannot be considered an objective stance since the attitude of authors towards their own works is anything but objective. But it is the stance a cataloger must take. Therefore, there can be no “objective” stance, unless I consider my own view to be objective–and that is absurd.

    This happened to me all the time in the past with books from the former Soviet Union that claimed to be about “anti-communist propaganda” but they were very obviously “anti-American propaganda”. I had to use heading “Propaganda, Anti-communist”.

    Of course, if I do a blog post or if my catalog allows user comments or reviews, then I am free to share my opinion and say that it is really a treatise on slavery. That may become an important part of cataloging someday, but I hope it will be only an additional task, and the practice of describing an item as the author describes it remains. It is one part of what libraries provide that make libraries different from other resources on the web (advertising, blog posts, Facebook likes, Google PageRank, and so on).


    by James Weinheimer at May 16, 2016 01:33 PM

    ACAT ALCTS webinar on Future of Technical Services

    Posting to Autocat

    On 5/12/2016 6:28 PM, Katrina Austin wrote:
    I know this is Autocat, but it is striking to me that discussion on this listserv regarding the death of technical services immediately reached a level of technical granularity that brings to mind Jeff Edmund’s funny and succinct mention of “exuberant chaos.” My staff may be better served by Keith Webster’s slideshare presentation “Leading the library of the future: w(h)ither technical services?” and recent Pew research on what people think of and expect from libraries.

    The technical granularity may be partly my fault, but I agree with what you say here. What seems to be missing from all of these discussions (I did not see the webinar by the way) is what the catalog should do and where it should be. Without some agreement on these very basic points, it’s difficult to get anywhere. We have FRBR’s goals to find/identify/select/obtain… etc. vs. the goals of linked data to slice and dice our records into various pieces and send them anywhere and everywhere, so that they will show up in the search engines, sites such as Linked-in, perhaps even Facebook, and anywhere else the public happens to be (virtually). These goals are not the same at all.

    I think we can assume that libraries will always need complete inventories of their collections, so that they know what they have and don’t have, and where everything is. Traditionally, catalogs were supposed to allow people to do what we now call “resource discovery” and that was the purpose of the classification and headings, especially the subject headings. The structures of our headings are based on left-anchored alphabetical searching however, and as a result, have never worked coherently with keyword. That’s been the case for only over a couple of decades now….?!

    Since it is clear that these methods haven’t worked very well, there have been increasing discussions on variations of the topic “giving up on discovery” where the task of resource discovery is assumed will take place *outside* the catalog. (One of the latest papers is by Deanna Marcum “Library Leadership for the Digital Age” There was also an interesting discussion about this on the RadCat list) People will be expected to find what they want elsewhere and only then will they use the catalog to get a copy. This can be done automatically, so someone could search Google Books, find a book of interest, and behind the scenes the computer could search your catalog and if it finds a copy, a little pop-up would say “Borrow it!” or something. If it finds nothing, you see nothing.

    Of course, that could be done right now even with just a browser extension and I am sure, has been done already. This same scenario can work with other web pages, and with other programs as well: emails, pdfs, docs, Excel sheets and so on. None of it requires linked data or FRBR, and most especially, it doesn’t require headings. It just requires shared standard numbers and/or descriptive elements that are largely the same.

    Is this the catalog of the future? Something that the public doesn’t even realize exists, pops up only when required, while all searching is done on other tools? It is what I think many want, at least in the library literature that I have read.

    If that is the future, then technical services will change to provide for it. It would be much simpler, and cheaper. That would appeal to many.

    I don’t like that scenario, but I think many would–especially the decision makers. There needs to be a vigorous debate because otherwise, I suspect the cheaper option will win.


    by James Weinheimer at May 16, 2016 07:11 AM

    May 15, 2016

    Resource Description & Access (RDA)

    Resource Description and Access RDA Blog Revision

    Resource Description and Access RDA
    click to enlarge

    Resource Description and Access RDA Blog Revision: RDA Blog has undergone some major revisions.

    • RDA Blog has moved to HTTPS from HTTP 
    • Formatting Changes in RDA Blog posts and Pages 
    • References in Resource Description and Access RDA Blog 
    • RDA FAQ - Resource Description and Access Frequently Asked Questions Revision
    RDA Blog has moved to HTTPS from HTTP

    Resource Description and Access RDA Blog is now even more secure. RDA Blog has enabled HTTPS. The URL has moved to

    HTTPS has become a web-standard & one of those practices that every webmaster should follow. HTTPS is great for the security of data as it encrypts the data transferred between users & a website. Especially it protects them from common hacking practices such as data sniffing & man-in-the-middle-attack. 

    There are three main benefits to using HTTPS instead of HTTP to access RDA Blog:
    • It helps check that your visitors open the correct website and aren’t being redirected to a malicious site.
    • It helps detect if an attacker tries to change any data sent from Blogger to the visitor.
    • It adds security measures that make it harder for other people to listen to your visitors’ conversations, track their activities, or steal their information.
    Formatting Changes in RDA Blog posts and Pages

    Formatting of some Resource Description and Access RDA Blog posts and pages are changed to give a uniform look. Following are the RDA Blog pages who has undergone major formatting revisions:
    References in Resource Description and Access RDA Blog

    Starting from May 10, 2016, articles in Resource Description & Access (RDA) or RDA Blog will follow the reference formats as used by articles in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (ELIS). [Exception being the items in RDA Bibliography].

    RDA FAQ - Resource Description and Access Frequently Asked Questions Revision

    RDA FAQ page is thoroughly revised. We are in a process of revising RDA Blog posts. The important posts are compiled in the RDA FAQ.


    Resource Description and Access Frequently Asked Questions (RDA FAQ) is an initiative of Resource Description & Access (RDA) (or RDA Blog) to compile a list of questions people ask about RDA. Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Resource Description and Access (RDA) are given from the articles of RDA Blog in abbreviated form with links to the main articles. As RDA continue to be developed, questions and answers will be added and revised from time to time.

    Some of the answers to questions are taken from Glossary of Library and Information Science of Librarianship Studies and Information Technology blog, which is a partner blog of RDA Blog. Both of these blogs are authored by Salman Haider.

    Resource Description & Access FAQ

    • What is RDA?
    • Why is it necessary to issue a brand new standard?
    • What are the benefits of RDA? / Why is RDA needed?
    • What are the foundations of RDA? / What are FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD? What are their relationship to RDA? / How does RDA relate to the Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (ICP)?
    • Who developed RDA?
    • How can I access RDA? / Who publishes RDA? / What is RDA Toolkit?
    • What is the difference between RDA Toolkit and RDA?
    • What does RDA Toolkit include?
    • How often will RDA Toolkit be updated?
    • What does RDA cost?
    • What is RDA Blog or Resource Description & Access (RDA) blog?
    • Who is responsible for the ongoing development of RDA?
    • What is the process of suggesting changes to RDA?
    • When was RDA released?
    • When was RDA implemented?
    • What needs to be done to implement RDA in individual libraries?
    • Has OCLC released a policy statement on RDA?
    • What is the structure of RDA?
    • What are RDA Core Elements?
    • What are Alternatives Options & Exceptions in RDA?
    • What is LC-PCC PS?
    • Where are RDA Examples?
    • Can a record cataloged by the RDA standard be readily identified?
    • What differences will I see in my MARC records?
    • Does RDA focus on the recording of data, the presentation of data, or both?
    • Is ISBD punctuation required in RDA?
    • Why aren’t GMDs (general material designations) in RDA?
    • What are the guidelines for Undifferentiated Personal Names in RDA Cataloging?
    • How to Give Date of Publication Distribution Copyright in RDA & MARC 21?
    • How to to Record Name of Publisher in RDA AACR2 & MARC 21?
    • How to Transcribe Place of Publication in RDA & AACR2 & MARC 21?
    • Where are the Links to Important RDA Blog Posts on Recording Production Publication Distribution Manufacture Statements and Dates in RDA and MARC 21 Field 264?
    • What are the Featured Categories of RDA Blog?
    • Where is the RDA History Timeline?

    Please check out these changes and let us know your feedback in RDA Blog Guest Book.

    Author: Salman Haider [Revised 2016-05-14 | Written 2016-05-14]

    Thanks all for your love, suggestions, testimonials, likes, +1, tweets and shares ....

    by Salman Haider ( at May 15, 2016 11:01 PM

    First Thus

    What about “Citizens”?

    Posting to Autocat

    On 4/15/2016 1:43 AM, John Gordon Marr wrote:

    I think what you mean is there is no such thing as absolute “truth.” Where we draw the line between objectivity and subjectivity is between testable hypotheses and untestable “beliefs” and between a willingness to test vs. a refusal to do so.

    I’m not talking about anything so profound. I am just stating a fact: that you can’t get everyone to agree on anything, least of all, what is the appropriate term to use for a concept. And, there is nothing wrong with that. But the debate over which term to use can become heated. Of course, “Illegal aliens” has connotations that angers many people, but as we have learned “Undocumented immigrants” has just as many connotations that anger other people. We may like to tell ourselves that one form is more “objective” than another but others can–and are!–disputing such an assertion. And they have every right to. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The fact is: You just can’t please everybody and the more you try, the more hopelessly you find yourself entangled.

    Librarians shouldn’t get involved in these arguments. We have no special insight into “objectivity” that allows us to decide these matters better than anybody else. The task of librarians is to ensure reliable, consistent access in various ways, one of those ways by “concepts”, i.e. names, titles, subjects, no matter how someone may search for those concepts.

    Modern technology (? not so “modern” anymore. Relational database technology is decades old) allows for more flexibility than earlier methods. When all we had was text typed on the top of catalog cards, it was very hard to change that text, but computers allow for multiple views of the same thing, e.g. if I see a website in the US and I am in Italy, lots of times I see it in Italian, or if I’m in Germany, it’s in German. One is not better or more objective, but one may be more useful than another for my purposes.

    Similar technologies can be employed to let people deal with multiple terms for the same concept, and finally rid us of this old, tiresome debate over which single one of all the various terms will be the “preferred” one. The technology has been available for decades now, but never implemented, at least in library catalogs. If the same effort had been put into getting this technology to work as has been spent on arguing which preferred term to choose, it would have been done long ago.

    Then, we could be arguing over 21st-century concerns, such as: how do we make the displays useful and coherent for the public?

    As a concrete example, here is the Wikidata display for “Love” (the emotion): If you scroll down a bit, you will find 135 forms for “love”. No form is better or worse than any other. You can search each language form and find this record. When you find this record, you can click on any form and you will go to the related Wikipedia page, where, if you scroll to the bottom, you will find all kinds of related terms. It’s all very clunky right now, but it demonstrates a direction of what can be done.

    Can something like this be adapted for use in the catalog? I personally think it can; I think that all of it can be vastly improved, and that the public can benefit.


    by James Weinheimer at May 15, 2016 08:14 AM

    May 14, 2016

    First Thus

    ACAT What about “Citizens”?

    Posting to Autocat

    On 4/14/2016 10:18 PM, John Gordon Marr wrote:
    This entire thread (now in 2 parts) serves as a “case study” in the value of accurate and objective terminology, not just in libraries, since libraries are concerned with accurate communication across the entire society (on which they might also have a positive effect).

    This is exactly my point: there is no such thing as “objective” terminology. It is something that does not and cannot exist. For instance, I have met people who absolutely hate the name heading: “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616” because they are convinced that Shakespeare could never have written those plays, and they would want the heading to be “Oxford, Edward De Vere, Earl of, 1550-1604″ or ” Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626″ or “Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 1533-1603” or whoever they believe “actually” wrote the plays to reflect the reality that they prefer. I can add many headings like this.

    In the past, it didn’t really matter because everything was locked up in our separate library “silos” where we had complete control, but in the future our records will be seen more and more often outside of the library environment and we will lose that control. People of all sorts will take issue with our practices in ways we can’t imagine now.

    To believe in “objective” terminology is like believing in something that “doesn’t move”. Before Einstein, people could believe that there is such as thing as total and complete lack of any movement (Ptolemaic universe), but especially with Einstein’s theories, we discover that everything is constantly moving and what seems to us to be stationary is only relative. So, I can be here in Rome, sitting quietly on my couch, but actually, the Earth is spinning at 1,000 mph; the Earth is going around the sun at 18 miles per second; the solar system is moving at 400,000 miles per hour around the galaxy and so on. ( Just thinking about that wears me out!

    For better or worse, the information universe has changed just as much as the Ptolemaic universe changed to the Copernican, to the Newtonian to Einstein’s. Librarians are going to have to deal with the larger universe of people, with each one having a different viewpoint. No single one will necessarily be “correct”. I can have my own opinions, but others can disagree very strongly, as Rep. Black believes that “Illegal aliens” is “correct” and my opinion turns out to be just one opinion of many. Catalogers cannot decide “correctness” because it does not exist and nobody can win such an argument.

    The main task of the catalog however, is much simpler: to bring that concept together into a single grouping for retrieval, as much as humanly possible. We can do this with a URI and then decide how to deal with the labels (the 4xxs or UF) in the display. At the moment, I don’t know how it can be done, but I am sure it can be. And I think the catalog will be better for it.


    by James Weinheimer at May 14, 2016 09:11 PM

    ACAT New Bill Will Require Library of Congress to Continue Use of ‘Illegal Alien’ in Subject Headings

    Posting to Autocat

    On 4/14/2016 12:01 AM, Kuperman, Aaron wrote:
    1. I wouldn’t take it seriously. Unless introduced by the leadership of the majority party, bills rarely get taken seriously.
    2. “Aliens” is being replaced by “Noncitizens” because many people without legal training confuse the term with immigrants. In the US, many aliens are students, tourists, temporary workers or stateless refugees. In many countries, most aliens are native born people with the misfortune to have been born in a country that bases citizenship on ancestry rather than birth. Not to mention confusing “aliens” with “extraterrestials”. The switch to non-legalese is politically correct from both sides of the aisle.
    3. The term is “legal”, and in law cataloging was rarely used since authors write books on the status of “aliens”, and it is for the user, usually for a fee, to tell the client or the court what is or is not legal, and how to proceed from that determination. The K schedule doesn’t even use the term, and most of the non-K use of the term in LCSH was probably mistaken (they should have been writing about “immigrants” rather than “aliens”).

    I understand the reasons for the change, and each person can have his or her own opinion about the change, but that wasn’t my question. My question was: has an LC heading ever before become a political concern in Congress? (Other than the US government officially recognizing certain countries, or not, and LC cataloging practice reflecting those policies) The reason I am interested is that this could signal a change in public sentiment toward our traditional cataloging practice. Such a change should be expected as our records and methods leave the confines of our libraries and merge into the much wider world of “metadata” and “linked data” and it should be obvious that there will be consequences. People who have never been involved with cataloging will see things that they will consider not only silly ( but will make them angry for whatever reason, and they might take exception to some of our methods, just as Rep. Black has.

    I can think of a similar case, off the top of my head. Here in Europe is the sensitive topic of labeling persons fleeing from wars in the Middle East as “migrants” or “refugees”. Also, exactly when does a “refugee” become a “migrant”? Opinions on all sides are strongly held and there are serious implications for adopting any particular side. (

    I think it is of utmost importance for cataloging to avoid these political mine-fields. The basic purpose of any heading is to group similar materials together no matter how someone may think of it. It is the exact opposite of the “filter bubble” (and I think may offer its solution). I may think of something in ways that may make someone else very angry, and the terms that person prefers may make me angry. But in the catalog we should see pretty much the same grouping of materials when we search. If there is any advantage of a catalog over a search engine, it must be this.

    There are indeed, labels that are “wrong”, but it becomes increasingly difficult to say what is “right”. In the physical catalogs (cards and books) the label and the grouping were necessarily tied together. But with databases, the grouping is done with a “primary key” and with linked data, a grouping requires a single URI. Today, the human-readable label attached to those primary keys and URIs *can* vary enormously–although as yet, we haven’t seen this happen very often.

    In spite of my skepticism of linked data, it is my hope that linked data may help put an end to the tired, old problem of determining a single “preferred form” that everyone is forced to see and actively use if they want to search for information. Eventually, the idea of a single “authorized form” or “preferred form” will have to be rethought, as selecting a single form becomes more and more politically charged.


    by James Weinheimer at May 14, 2016 10:49 AM

    May 13, 2016

    First Thus

    New Bill Will Require Library of Congress to Continue Use of ‘Illegal Alien’ in Subject Headings

    Posting to Autocat

    “While the Library of Congress effectively scrubbed the terms “aliens” and “illegal aliens” from its subject headings last month, legislation set to be introduced Wednesday could change that.”

    Wow! Assuming this is true, has anything like this happened before, other than official US recognition of certain countries and languages, of course.


    by James Weinheimer at May 13, 2016 08:58 PM

    May 12, 2016

    TSLL TechScans

    6 Tech Tools That Can Help You Keep Your Cool This Summer

    The always changing face of tech tools and increasing number of methods for virtual communication and connection with others occasionally makes my head spin. But I also can’t deny that I oooh and aaaah at certain things which come across my virtual desk through the work weeks - technology is pretty cool sometimes, you know? 

    I thought with the summer heat moving in fast, it’d be a good time to pull out a few of my recent “cool” saves and share them with you:

    First up is The Sheepinator, a game that lets you zap negative tweets and turn them into something a little less offensive – in this case, sheep.  With a super simple user interface and the ability to search for specific topics to blast, this game is surprisingly addictive.

    Speaking of tweets – did you ever notice that ideas which come from those with influence tend to be shared more often, regardless of the quality of the idea? With Blind Twitter, which keeps tweet authors as well as like/retweet counts hidden from your view, you finally get to decide the quality of the tweet without being swayed by built-in biases and pressures.

    In a ‘there’s an app for that’ world, we’ve got apps popping up every day to help ease pretty much any task we can dream up. For instance, UX Recipe for iPhone is a checklist app where you can discover, choose and estimate your next UX project tools and techniques, as well as explore curated recommendations and resources for each design tool.  As a potential bonus to those who appreciate such things, its interface is full of gentle cooking puns.

    Writing email copy for announcements and communication with your patrons can be a somewhat painful task at times. But in a world where everything’s kind of already been said before, crowdsourcing and curation is a powerful tool. Take a look at Just Good Copy, a site that allows you to search and browse quality email copy from other companies based off of keywords such as subscription renewal, email confirmation, and account update. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration there next time you’re tasked with drafting up another school or firm wide email.

    I always enjoy reading people’s Twitter and website bios – the more absurd conglomeration of buzzwords and hipster lingo, the better. Just for fun, create your own ‘designer bio’ using the Designer Bio Generator.  It described me as a ‘Ukulelist and Eames fan who is performing at the sweet spot between simplicity and elegance to save the world from bad design.”

    And finally, how strong is your website?  Plug it in to the Website Grader, powered by HubSpot, to find out your scores in the categories of performance optimization, mobile traffic, SEO, and security. Your site report also offers links to additional resources on the HubSpot blog that can help you increase your scores or at the very least, understand more about them.

    Feel free to share some of your own cool tech tools for summer below!

    by (Ashley Moye) at May 12, 2016 06:44 PM

    OCLC Next

    Mapping the role technology plays in your life

    2016-05-12 visitors and residents

    Do you ever wonder about the role that technology plays in your life and what services and apps you use? OCLC began collaborating on the Digital Visitors and Residents (V&R) project with funding from Jisc (a digital education services non-profit) in 2011 to investigate how US and UK individuals engage with technology and how this engagement may or may not change as the individuals transition through their educational stages (White and Connaway 2011-2014). Since that time we have broadened the research to include interviews with individuals in Spain and Italy to include a comparative analysis to identify any geographical or cultural differences. The OCLC team also has conducted an online survey with approximately 150 high school, undergraduate and graduate students and college and university faculty. We hope to have these data analyzed so that we are able to share our findings.

    We also began conducting mapping sessions with students, librarians, and faculty using the Visitors and Residents framework and differentiating between engagement in professional/academic and personal contexts and situations. Participation in the mapping exercise is a way for individuals to become aware of how they work, play, and interact with others in a digital environment. If the maps are shared with others, it can help individuals better understand why communication seems to work well with some, but not with others.

    Pen-and-paper proof-of-concept

    These mapping sessions were conducted using paper and pencil or pen. Examples of these maps are included in the EDUCAUSE Review paper, “I always stick with the first thing that comes up on Google…” Where People Go for Information, What They Use, and Why,” (Connaway, Lanclos, and Hood 2013). In order to collect and analyze these handwritten maps we had to ask the creators of the maps to take photos of them and to email them to us.

    After much discussion with my colleague, William Harvey, PhD, OCLC Consulting Engineer, he developed an app that can be used on most smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. William co-led the usability testing of the app with Mike Prasse, OCLC Lead User Experience Researcher. High school, undergraduate, and graduate students, faculty, and librarians used the app on different devices and provided feedback on what was fun, what worked, and what functionalities they thought we should add.

    Based on their feedback, the app was enhanced and now is available at, with comic book instructions.

    A video also was created by Carey Champoux, OCLC Video Content Manager, and Andy Havens, OCLC Content Marketing Manager, to explain how to use the V&R mapping app.

    If you do the map for yourself, please share the link on Twitter with the #OCLCnext hashtag. We’d love to see where you “visit and reside” online.

    What can your map teach you?

    Once individuals complete their maps, they may share with others and they may submit to OCLC Research. If submitted to OCLC Research, we will add the maps created using the app to the other maps collected and analyze them in the aggregate, anonymizing any individual’s identifying information. Those who map their patterns of communication and engagement with technology and submit to OCLC Research will help us make informed recommendations to library staff for the development of services and technologies that are a better fit for library users’ and potential users’ personal and academic lifestyles and to position the library in the life of its users.

    Check out the Visitors and Residents app from @OCLC!
    Click To Tweet

    As part of the research, I have been conducting V&R mapping sessions with students, faculty, and librarians. After the individuals complete their maps, we display the maps of those who are interested in sharing and discussing them with the group. I conduct the sessions in much the same way one would conduct a semi-structured interview.* The individuals talk about what they included in their maps and I probe and ask more questions based upon their discussion.

    Some of the students have been very surprised at the amount of time they spend online. One doctoral student at a US university was very surprised that she was able to draw every icon for every app or social media site from memory. She commented, “I spend way too much time online and using social media than I ever thought I did.”

    Others have discussed work-arounds for the library web page and catalog, which I have been able to share with the library staff so that they can make changes to the system or interface. Several doctoral students said that they could not figure out how to email or text themselves bibliographic citations that they found in the university online catalog so they took photos of the display on the library computer screens and texted or emailed the information to themselves. They said they wanted to use their smartphones since they are more convenient than having to take out their laptops or tablets. This also has implications for evaluating how the library web page and catalog display on smartphones, which is the preferred device for many individuals.

    What is a visitor? What is a resident?

    Conducting the mapping sessions as semi-structured interviews in a group also has made me aware that not everyone understands the definitions that we have used for Visitors and Residents. We define the visitor mode as one in which “people treat the web as a series of tools. They decide what they want to achieve, chose and appropriate online tool, and then log off. They leave no social trace of themselves online. In resident mode, people live a portion of their lives online and approach the web as a place where they can express themselves and spend time with people. When acting as residents, people visit social networking platforms, and aspects of their digital identity maintain a presence even when they’re not online through their social media profiles” (Connaway, Lanclos, and Hood 2013).

    However, some individuals, who participate in the mapping exercise, relate the terms visitor and resident to the amount of time one spends engaging with a device, app, etc. This equates to a visitor not using the device or app much and to a resident using the device or app most or all of the time, which is not the intended definitions of the terms. Based on this misconception, I have been thinking about and talking to colleagues about changing the terminology. However, none of the terms suggested seem to be descriptive enough. I welcome any ideas, discussion, and thoughts on new terminology for visitors and residents that would more accurately describe the online presence or lack of online visibility.

    This brings up something else that I have been pondering about the visitors and residents framework. That is the fact that we are missing the opportunity to capture individuals’ engagement with the physical environment and resources. I had thought of this early in the individual semi-structured interview data collection stage when the importance of the face-to-face and human contact emerged from the data and were included in our code book and analysis. However, these are not captured in the mapping exercises, which became more evident as I began structuring the group mapping sessions as semi-structured interviews. I am struggling with how to depict the physical environment and resources in the V&R map. Again, I welcome any ideas, discussion, and thoughts on this.

    *Connaway and Radford (Forthcoming) define semi-structured interviews as an interview “in which control is shared and questions are open-ended.”

    This post originally appeared on Hanging Together. 


    Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, Donna Lanclos, and Erin M. Hood. 2013. “’I always stick with the first thing that comes up on Google…’ Where People Go for Information, What They Use, and Why.” EDUCAUSE Review Online (December 6). Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, and Marie L. Radford. Forthcoming. Basic Research Methods in Library and Information Science. 6th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

    The post Mapping the role technology plays in your life appeared first on OCLC Next.

    by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. at May 12, 2016 02:23 PM

    May 11, 2016

    First Thus

    RDA-L Place of publication: only countries given

    Posting to RDA-L

    On 5/8/2016 11:37 AM, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:
    I wonder whether the countries on the t.p.

    Cengage Learning
    Australia ● Brazil ● Japan ● Korea ● Mexico ● Singapore ● Spain ● United Kingdom ● United States

    are really meant as place of publication for *the resource* at all. Maybe all they want to expess with this list is: “Look, we are are globally active company!” So perhaps this is similar to some advertising slogan like “International publisher”.

    While I agree you are probably correct, it is always very difficult to say that we know what are the “intentions” of a publisher. Why did the publisher/printer/whoever put that information in that particular spot? The only honest answer is: I don’t know. It’s very possible that it is just marketing information, or maybe not.

    In cases like this, I reflect on the purpose of the information we provide in the record. In the case of “place of publication” it is there only to help identify the correct manifestation/edition. It is not used for access in any way. Some catalogs apparently are set up to be able to find every item published in each locality, and that would be another matter entirely–along with a lot more work to establish the access point: authority control, special indexing and so on.

    Place of publication is input primarily to help librarians manage the collection, especially since I cannot imagine that too many people use place of publication to decide upon a resource. Specifically, if they see:

    Australia ; United States : Cengage Learning

    or if there is something specific from the t.p. verso, such as:

    London : Cengage Learning

    I cannot imagine that any user would care at all or even notice a difference. Someone would notice a discrepancy only if they were comparing the book with the record rather closely, which is something I have never seen any user do. When a user has the book, they don’t care about the record anymore. Therefore, the only people who would notice anything would be the library’s selector, as well as the cataloger since that is part of our job.

    So, in the case you point out, it seems to me to be the perfect place for cataloger’s judgment.


    by James Weinheimer at May 11, 2016 11:30 PM