YOUR digital images in Wikipedia

May 29, 2007 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

heh, too busy to blog for a while. A quick note about something in a recent Library Journal:

…Jill McKinstry of the University of Washington commented that her colleagues have begun to populate Wikipedia entries with links to the university library’s previously underused collections of digitized photographs. “Needless to say, our usage skyrocketed.”

Hmm will have to look into this. Wonder what rights issues would arise.  Well, here’s some more info about it because it turns out that Jessamyn blogged about this, too.

Something nice about OCLC

April 17, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OK, so I have to admit that sometimes OCLC likes to share, after all. From Jessamyn’s Pimp my Firefox handout I finally found out about Link Evaluator, a really nifty little tool you can run to check the links on a webpage to see if they are still valid. It is shared by Openly Informatics, now part of OCLC (who isn’t, these days?). (The sharp eye of the cataloger notes a presumed typo on their “about” page: “At the beginning of 2006, OCLC was acquired by OCLC.” Uh huh.) [ETA: I will undoubtedly discover that this post is riddled with typos as soon as I put it up on the web.]

My initial response: Wow, what a great idea! And it’s free!

My response after trying it: Gee, I wish the link status indication didn’t go away after you click away from the page and then click back. I guess if you set your browser to open all links in a new window, this wouldn’t be a problem?

Further response: Another great example of what automation and can can’t do. Let’s try evaluating the links on a page, say, something vitally connected to the world of librarianship like Yarn Harlot’s post on thrummed mittens. (Catalogers are not the only ones who use a lot of jargon.)

So I pop into Tools, and down to Evaluate Links, and watch Link Evaluator perform its colorful magic. Here’s where automated tools are great: it’s fast. It’s easy. Here’s where automation is not so great, or at least can’t stand on its own without human intervention: it’s not always accurate. I am dying to know what Stephanie meant by “not traditional, but devastating,” but the link to the devastating mittens only goes to a “page or resource not found” page. Yet the link highlight is green–admittedly, a slightly pale green, but still green.

It may be that tinkering with the settings of LE will allow it to pick up more problem pages, and no tool is perfect…especially one that is free…but it’s another example of how automated tools can’t replace human intervention and quality control.

WorldCat Local

April 17, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nice people at LibraryThing (or maybe it’s just one nice person, I’m not sure) have a great post up on their blog about OCLC’s recent WorldCat Local announcement.


They’ll make one big silo and set the rules for access. The pattern is already clear. MIT thought that its bibliographic records were its own, but OCLC shut them down when they tried to act on that. The fact is, libraries with their data in OCLC are subject to OCLC rules. And since OCLC’s business model requires centralizing and restricting access to bibliographic data, the situation will not improve.


I really agree with this, and also with LT’s point that OCLC is full of good people doing really good work.  But it seems that OCLC has a business model which allows it to own the data that libraries create about their collections.  How much is this limiting access on the Web?  How much is it limiting access by small libraries who can’t afford OCLC membership?


Also, love the graphic.

Brief thoughts on new CONSER standards

April 9, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New standards draft here

1. 130 uniform title: apparently they are doing away with the “distinguishing” u.t. altogether? (except for the 2 minor exceptions noted). Interesting! I think this is a terrible idea for newspapers, among other things–a u.t. is so helpful when you are looking at 15 records for the “Morning star” and trying to tell which one came from Wilmington without having to open all the records and examine multiple fields.

2. 246 indicators: wow, doing away with the indicators that tell if it is a cover title, running title, etc. On the one hand: yay, this will make it easier to catalog. And maybe serials allow their titles to hop around so much it doesn’t really matter to catalogers where you transcribed it from for one issue (if the running title turns up again as a spine title later, etc.). On the other hand: the indicators are such an elegant way of communicating information concisely. Also, knowing the source of an alternate title might really help a cataloger identify what they have in hand (esp. if it’s an isolated issue). Catalogs are for catalogers, too! And is it really that hard to code the indicators correctly if you have a little cheat sheet tacked up on the wall in front of you? I think not.

3. 362 capitalization/abbreviations: I’m not too het up about standard AACR2 abbreviations/capitalization being abandoned. Though I wonder if there are future searching/data manipulation needs that could be compromised by less standardization here.

4. DBO note: “Description based on” now required for all records! This doesn’t seem like a bad idea–you can look at the record and not have to *infer* that the description was based on the first issue. (Though I still think it would be better to keep uniform titles, if we’re concerned about helping catalogers work efficiently…)

5. 538: wow, 538 now optional for CDROMs in some cases. Wish this was clearer–maybe there will be examples that make this clear. I forsee this becoming a “Well, should I include it in this case or not??” headache.

6. 546 is replacing 041 for some purposes.

7. 550 not required simply to justify added entries. Hmm–not sure how I feel about abandoning the “justify added entries” thing. Might be more efficient, might be a pain down the road when we wish we understood where that entry came from. But I guess we would have to include 550s if there aren’t existing authority records, since we aren’t NACO members and wouldn’t be able to create the auth recs, and thus would need either 245$c or 550?

8. Linking fields: wow, prefer linking fields to notes that duplicate them–776$i instead of 530. Probably a positive thing if we can all remember what the subfields mean.

9. 856: “Local URIs or password-protected URIs should not be recorded in the national-level record” which means the hassle of either a) adding the url in the local catalog only or b) putting it in the MFHD or something like that instead. And how exactly do you distinguish between a “local URI” (why do I always read that as “UTI”?) and a “trusted archive”? Is our site a “trusted archive”? Maybe. But state agency sites might not be.

I can see arguments either way for this. Fewer dicey urls: less maintenance, fewer annoying dead links down the road. But also: less access in the short term (for all but users of the local catalog), plus the aforementioned difficulty on the part of catalogers in making the decision. Hmp.

10. p. 16: does this mean that the “create a new bib record when the body in 110 changes name” rule is gone? I’m not quite clear on this.


Does this count as my technology-related post?

March 28, 2007 at 7:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Different searches for different genres

March 23, 2007 at 7:46 pm | Posted in OPAC | Leave a comment

This post by Chris Anderson, the “Long Tail” guy, is very interesting. Anderson points out that different musical genres (classical, pop, jazz) are searched for differently:

But I was interested in Amazon’s classical music store for another reason: classical is a genre that the one-size-fits-all music aggregators such as iTunes don’t handle particularly well. They’re oriented around pop music, with its artist, album, track data format. Meanwhile classical music organizes around composer, conductor, performer, soloist, etc. … However, neither of them does a very good job with Jazz, where the individual musicians are often more meaningful than the band.

He goes on to point out that IMDB does a better job of allowing searching/linking by individual performer than Amazon and iTunes.

So, what collections or genres in our libraries (digital or not) could benefit from customized searching abilities? HmmmMMMMMmmmmmMMMMMM.


March 20, 2007 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Web archiving and crawling….don’t know where the “crawlapalooza” comes in, but it was included in the brief write-up of this presentation in D-Lib’s report on Open Repositories 2007:

Using OAI-PMH Resource Harvesting and MPEG-21 DIDL for Digital Preservation
Joan Smith and Michael Nelson To successfully preserve a web site, its resources must be crawled and the structure and relationships among the resources must be maintained. Joan Smith and Michael Nelson, Old Dominion University, propose involving the web server in the preservation process through “mod_oai”, an Apache module to harvest a web site packaged with its associated metadata thereby contributing to its long-term preservation.

 Look for the presentation to be posted later on the conference website.

Power vs. ease

March 20, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I like this post from the handy Creating Passionate Users blog because the image is so awesome and sums up so much of what bugs me about the yelping about simplifying the OPAC. Simplification and ease of use ARE very important, but it’s crucial to remember that power is also valuable, and sometimes simplification means that power is lost.

Well heck I can’t figure out how to include an image so I guess I will do that later.

Institutional repositories and their use

March 20, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A recent issue of D-Lib magazine contains an article by Cornell describing how faculty use (or don’t use) their institutional repository:

Of the eleven faculty members interviewed, only four knew about the existence of DSpace, and only one member (the historian) had deposited items in it.

Whoops.  Some interesting tidbits: a) many faculty don’t seem to care about the whole “information wants to be free” thing, preferring to protect their scholarly reputations and tenure-track-ability; b) some mentioned not wanting their work association with a repository that had a bad rep for including some crap in it; c) some (esp. in the humanities) did not want their preliminary research released before official publication, for fear of plagiarism; d) redundancy with personal/departmental webpages is a barrier.  The historian interviewed also noted the inflexibility of DSpace for categorization and searching.


On the “pro-repository” side, permanence/archiving was mentioned as a factor.  A few faculty were aware that materials in the depository had metadata that allowed them to be retrieved easily using Google (really?).


“It is not clear in my mind the future of journals versus the arXiv,” stated the engineer. “The old school of paper journals and digital repositories are on a collision course.”

The reward structure established by each discipline largely defines the motivation behind faculty behavior. As eloquently stated by the economist, “While we are going through a digital revolution – in the way we teach and communicate with each other – the reputation of being published in the print journals is still the strongest incentive for motivation.” This position was largely echoed by the engineer, who stated “what is holding us to the journal is the promotion procedure. This is about a problem of measurement with how Cornell evaluates my work.”

That said, there are real risks associated with changing one’s practices, especially when one assumes the role of an early innovator. As the communication faculty member summarized, “There has to be a better way than the current system, but I’m not willing to be on the leading edge in using that system.”

Some “new OPAC” stuff from Michael Doran

March 6, 2007 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michael Doran is a very helpful memeber of the Voyager users discussion list. Here are some things he recently pointed out:

Lucene , some open source search software project. Their open source search server is Solr.

An example of Lucene in an OPAC from the National Library of Australia, in the Australian National Bibliographic Database.

An ApacheCon 2006 presentation by Chris Hostetter about faceted searching with Solr.

And, finally, a pilot project from Andrew Nagy at Villanova University Library called MyResearch Portal, presented at code4lib 2007. This one looks very interesting.

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