Planet Cataloging

July 26, 2016

025.431: The Dewey blog

Announcing Dr. Rebecca Green as new Dewey Editorial Program Manager

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Rebecca Green has accepted a new position as Dewey Editorial Program Manager. In this new role Rebecca will:

  • Set strategic direction and extend Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) utility throughout the library and extra-library communities
  • Supervise the Dewey editorial team
  • Serve as the primary point of contact between OCLC and
    • The Library of Congress CIP & Dewey Section Head
    • The Dewey Editorial Policy Committee
    • The Dewey user community
  • Work closely with me, as the new Dewey Product Manager, to ensure the future success of the DDC

Rebecca GreenRebecca joined the Dewey editorial team in 2007. In addition to developing and maintaining the classification, she has had specific responsibilities related to DDC training modules and investigation of relationships in the DDC. Prior to joining OCLC, Rebecca was an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she had been a member of the faculty of the College of Information Studies since 1989.

Rebecca has a PhD and MS in Computer Science, and a PhD and MLS in Library and Information Services, all from the University of Maryland. She also has an MA in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an AB, magna cum laude, in Music from Harvard University. Rebecca serves on the editorial board of the International Society for Knowledge Organization

Please join me in congratulating Rebecca on this well-deserved promotion!

Sandi Jones

OCLC Product Manager

Dewey Decimal Classification System





by Sandi at July 26, 2016 06:47 PM

First Thus

Open Textbooks — A Study

While most faculty members are still unaware of open educational resources, use in introductory courses nearly rivals that of traditional textbooks, study finds.

Almost half of all respondents (48 percent) said open materials are too hard to find, and that they don’t have access to a catalog showing the open resources available to them (45 percent) or a helpful colleague who can mentor them (30 percent).

Source: Study finds use of open educational resources on the rise in introductory courses

I am sure these are resources that people would like to use. But how easy are they to find? Is there a problem with the searchers or is the problem elsewhere? In any case, it seems to me a perfect chance for creating something–something that people are actually asking for: they don’t have access to a catalog showing the open resources available to them (45 percent). So, to get an idea of the problem, I decided to take a look.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I may have missed something, but that is always the case.

I immediately thought that someone may have already made a separate catalog for open textbooks. I found but this site seems to have much more than textbooks. For instance it has a link to the CIA Factbook, which is useful, but cannot be considered to be a textbook. Plus, I found open textbooks that do not seem to be listed here. In any case, it seems to me that our shared catalogs in Worldcat could and should provide this kind of search. What do we find there when we consider how easy it is to find these items?

A search for “open textbooks” (as an exact search) in Worldcat retrieves 352 records. The first three records are for open textbook projects. If we scroll down, we see some records for single items with interesting headings such as “BC Open Textbook Project” or “OpenStax College”.

A very quick examination of the first four projects gives the following subjects:

Electronic publishing — Textbooks — Web sites.
Electronic books — Web sites.
Textbooks — Web sites.
Textbooks — Computer network resources.
Textbooks — Bibliography.
Community colleges — Curricula — Computer network resources.
College textbooks.
Teaching — Aids and devices.
Curriculum planning.
Digital libraries — Web sites.
Textbooks — Web sites.
Electronic books — Web sites.

Subject analysis for these projects goes all over the place.

When we examine records for individual open textbooks, I found that the subjects will either follow either this formula:

Microeconomics — Textbooks.

or there are no subjects at all.

The directions in the subject headings manual for textbooks don’t provide much help. They discuss how their policies have changed over the years (since 2002) and then:

Also use the subdivision as a form subdivision for individual textbooks at all levels.
Title: Chemistry : an introductory textbook.
650 #0 $a Chemistry $v Textbooks.

So, there is only the subdivision “Textbooks” which is used only intermittently. Concerning the subdivision “Web sites/Computer network resources” the only directive is in the list of free-floaters where we see it is used only as a topical subdivision and there is no subdivision “Web sites”. (By the way, many libraries prefer “Web sites” to the admittedly strange “Computer network resources” which is a term, that, I fear, even an infinite amount of time would not be enough for that proverbial roomful of monkeys to randomly type out)

So, from the subjects, we find that we are limited to $vTextbooks. The next part of the search (i.e. the web part) I presume people will get by limiting to format: ebook or web site. Searching Worldcat for textbooks “openstax college” (one of the open textbook projects), I found that open textbooks can be cataloged as either an ebook or a web site, or even as a print book because open books can be printed out.

Finally, we want to get to the “open” part of the search, i.e. textbooks that are free-to-use vs. paid textbooks. And that information is not in our records. One 856 (the field used for the link) is like any other 856 and (at least at this moment) we cannot distinguish between a link that is free to everyone, vs. a link where you will be expected to pay. For this, you must already know the project you are going to: Openstax College, SUNY Open Textbooks, BC Open Textbook Project, or one of the many others, or even Project Gutenberg or Gallica or the Internet Archive.

So, it seems as if the only search is to find all of the open-textbook projects, search for them and “textbooks” as I did here with only three projects. Of course, the problem with this search is that we cannot assume that all textbooks will have 65x $vTextbooks.

I can’t call this easy in any way at all. Consequently, this seems to be a project that is absolutely screaming to be done. If instructors can find open textbooks easily, they may be encouraged to use them and students could save scads of money. If faculty found enough good in these open textbooks, faculty might decide to write their own open textbooks or contribute to others that are already online.

But the current cataloging rules and options do not seem to be enough. Therefore, the only option would be to make a separate catalog.

Too bad, but at least it is doable.


by James Weinheimer at July 26, 2016 02:55 PM

July 19, 2016


The needs of one

2016-07-05 DisneyAt ALA in Orlando, we heard a great talk from Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute about Disney’s approach to customer service. I’m glad we’ve had a chance to share some notes from her presentation and some thoughts from a few of the librarians who attended. I’d like, though, to take one final look at some of the insights she shared, this time from the point of view of customer service here at OCLC. As head of our customer operations team, it’s not just a subject that I find fascinating, it’s also my passion and my responsibility.

Star Trek’s Mr. Spock famously tells us that, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or, as interjected by Captain Kirk, “the one.” That may hold true philosophically, but not when it comes to customer service. While new products or features may be developed to meet the needs of the many, service questions and concerns are almost always about the needs of “the one.” And that’s where we get into the SPOC Paradox.

Live long and foster (relationships)

SPOC, in this case, stands for “Single Point of Contact.” When we ask our members how they want to do business, especially in terms of service issues, almost everyone says that they want to go to one place for answers. The paradox, though, is that “one place” is different for every customer.

For members who have decades of experience with OCLC, that “one place” is often the OCLC staff person they know best. And that’s great from a “people” perspective. But Amy shared with us that exceptional customer service requires a carefully curated intersection of people, place and process.

Full dark, no stars*

The “people” part of the service equation rarely gives us trouble. As a business-to-business organization, our customers are librarians—intelligent, service-focused and incredibly pleasant. Likewise, our support groups are staffed with product and industry experts, who genuinely like solving problems. We’re also pretty good at “place.” We support our members wherever it’s best for them: consulting at their institutions, participating in user-group meetings and forums, or answering questions online, by email, phone, through our community center and social media.

However, what I’ve been concentrating on since I got to OCLC a couple years ago is the third leg of that tripod: process. When a member library interacts with us at any one of the above “touchpoints,” to use Disney’s term, they “spoke to OCLC”. Now libraries understand customer service as well as anyone, and understand that speaking to one person in a large organization does not mean the information immediately flows to the “right” person at that organization. That’s where process comes in.

Solve the problem, and do it quickly. It’s as simple as that.
Click To Tweet

Make the complex appear simple

No large organization can force customer interactions to always get to the right place the first time. What you can do is be aware of what obvious and less obvious touchpoints exist, and put a process in place to make sure every one of them leads to an exceptional customer experience. At OCLC, customer satisfaction is about solving problems, and doing it quickly for our members. It’s really as simple as that. Here are some examples we’re stressing with our teams right now:

  • Funnel customer service issues to the right place, where they can be tracked, but don’t drag the member along with you. If you aren’t the right person, make a warm handoff. Commit, personally, to finding an answer or solution. Don’t say “if you don’t hear from so and so in a couple of weeks feel free to call me back.”
  • Truly understand the question, sometimes unstated—what is the member really trying to do?
  • Pick up the phone. This is more of an issue in this day and age, but our customer satisfaction scores are at least ten points higher on the phone versus email. Sometimes the phone is better to talk through a complex issue.
  • Provide visibility. If an issue can’t be solved immediately, don’t make it hard for the member to see where it currently stands.
  • Close the loop to make sure that the customer is satisfied. We survey randomly on our closed tickets and obsess over the results.
  • Coach on individual interactions. No analyst is perfect, and we spend time talking through specific scenarios.

Amy told us that at Disney, they apply the same customer service mindset to internal, staff relationships as to creating exceptional “guest” experiences. That means being intentional rather than casual about processes that cross departments.

OCLC is committed to supporting libraries better than anyone else in the world. From a process standpoint, though, I’ve come to realize that this means involving every OCLC staff person in our efforts. It can’t just be about the people who answer the 1-800-848-5800 number or the email.

We need to make a concerted effort to focus “the knowledge of the many” on “the needs of the one.”

*If you’re curious what the title of a Stephen King book has to do with the underlying paragraphs, the answer is: nothing. It just made customer service sound cool and ominous.

The post The needs of one appeared first on OCLC Next.

by Drew Bordas at July 19, 2016 02:54 PM

July 18, 2016

First Thus

The Library of Last Resort | Online Only | n+1

This is an important article discussing some of the challenges facing the Library of Congress, especially at this crucial time.

In 1990, the Library of Congress launched “American Memory,” its first digital pilot project. The LOC selected a handful of the 160 million objects in its collection to digitize, store on laserdis

Source: The Library of Last Resort | Online Only | n+1


by James Weinheimer at July 18, 2016 11:34 AM

July 14, 2016

First Thus

Further Clarification on Unsubscribing from Autocat

A colleague has been kindly forwarding Autocat messages about my decision to unsubscribe. I have also had several private exchanges with others, and of course, there are the comments on my blog. There is one point I would like to clarify.

I don’t question that moderators can do whatever they want. After all, they are police officers, judges, juries and executioners all rolled into one. List moderators can throw off anybody they want, or limit their responses, or put them under review, for whatever reasons they want. I understand all of that because I was moderator of a list myself: SIG-IA, the special interest group for Information Architecture of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

It was/is a wild list on Information Architecture where I concentrated my efforts on putting out flame wars and calming people down. My purpose was to focus on allowing people the freedom to say what they felt and believed. I did this in the hope that people were mature enough, and tolerant enough, to manage themselves most of the time. For the most part, it turned out that I was right and some truly great exchanges took place there, but the information architects, especially of those early years, could get pretty crazy. I have not seen anything even remotely similar on any of the library lists I have been a part of.

My experience as moderator of that list made me especially aware of the contradiction of outrageous writing. If your purpose is to convince others of your point, or even if you just want to share an idea effectively, your outrageousness will have precisely the opposite effect of what you want because you quite literally force people to oppose you. Plus, I learned the importance of staying on point, which I strive to do, although because of my style (a story-telling style) it may take awhile.

So, what is my opinion of what a professional list should be? In my own opinion, a professional list is similar to an on-going professional conference, where there are seminars or other types of discussions going on in different rooms. You can attend any discussion, even try to join in if you wish, or just listen in on a few or all of them. Because of the technology (the email software) if you don’t like what some individuals say, you don’t have to suffer patiently while they finish saying their piece. The software allows various ways to “delete” those people instantly, or even entire discussions, so that you will never see them. You can also leave any discussion, or the entire conference, at any time with no consequences.

If one of those discussions turns into a brawl with people throwing tables and chairs, and screaming obscenities at one another, then by all means something needs to be done. That’s what happened on the SIG-IA list a few times. It could also happen that nobody is fighting but the discussion turns into something completely different: a “Go Hillary/Go Trump” or “Ban all handguns” rally, and although everyone may be getting along, a professional conference is not the place for such a rally. This is also a case to intervene.

But if everyone is on topic and discussing matters in a professional way, the people who are just dropping in to listen to the discussion should not be able to tell everyone in the room to shut up. To do so is highly insulting to those who want to participate. And those who are just dropping in to listen certainly should not be able to go to the organizers of the conference and have the discussion shut down because they think it’s too boring, or it’s repetitive or for any other reason whatsoever. If they don’t like a discussion, they can just go to some other discussion, or even start their own on a topic they prefer. Otherwise it is clearly censorship, and evidence of a dangerous way of thinking, one that is especially dangerous in a librarian, I should add.

I would have accepted being put on review if I felt that I had done something wrong. But I did nothing wrong at all. I insulted no one, I stayed on topic. I stayed professional. My sole faux-pas was to not shut up immediately, but even so, I did fairly quickly. Others have done much more. Still, I believe that some on Autocat will be relieved I am not there scrutinizing their posts.


by James Weinheimer at July 14, 2016 08:02 AM

July 13, 2016

TSLL TechScans

NISO Virtual Conference: BIBFRAME & Real World Applications of Linked Bibliographic Data

In mid-June, NISO hosted a virtual conference, BIBFRAME & Real World Applications of Linked Bibliographic Data.  The theme of the conference was explorations of BIBFRAME and related approaches to sharing and interacting with bibliographic data. The "morning" presentations concentrated on providing an overview of BIBFRAME and linked data development, and available resources for learning to work with linked data.  The afternoon sessions concentrated on competencies and linked data applications. Presentation slides are available via NISO's SlideShare page.

The introductory presentation given by Georgetown University Library's Shana L. McDanold, covered the somewhat familiar background of linked data and the development of BIBFRAME. She reminded attendees of basic linked data concepts, the web of data which is structured and machine readable, composed of triples constructed using de-referencable URIs and controlled vocabularies. An addition to the subject - object - predicate triple was "context", which morphs the triple into a quad. This was a first time I had heard this concept mentioned, and it became an "aha" moment for me.

The second speaker, Carolyn Hansen from the University of Cincinnati, covered the evolution of  BIBFRAME from the initial concept through BIBFRAME 1.0 to BIBFRAME 2.0 and BIBFRAME LITE. She described the differences in core concepts between the versions, shared graphics of the effects of these differences in modeling same bibliographic object and discussed the pluses and minuses of BIBFRAME lite.

The third presentation, by Ted Lawless of Thomson Reuters, discussed some of the skills needed to navigate the world of linked data.

Melanie Wacker, Metadata Coordinator, Columbia University, spotlighted the PCC Standing Committee on Training's efforts to develop and document training materials to help library staff navigate the linked data landscape. While there is a wealth of introductory and advanced materials, there is a little appropriate to the intermediate linked data learner. The PCC plans to work with CONSER and others to provide discussion platforms, sandboxes and testbeds for experimentation with linked data.

Mike Lauruhn from Elsevier Labs presented on project planning and linked data competencies, specifically the Linked Data Competency Index (LD4PE) and the Linked Data Exploratorium.

The remaining presentations covered specific linked data projects. Tim Thompson, Princeton University Library demonstrated the use of linked data concepts to encode annotations and other information about their recently acquired Derrida collection. Beecher Wiggens provided an  update on the Library of Congress' BIBFRAME pilot. A representative of Zepheira provided an overview of  their Library.Link Network ( designed to enhance the collective visibility of libraries and their resources on the Web. The final presentation focused on UC Davis' experimentation with bibliographic description in a linked data environment with particular focus on authorities.

by (Jackie Magagnosc) at July 13, 2016 08:30 PM