, Sandra K. Roe, Editor-In-Chief
ERC (Electronic Resource for Catalogers), Lyn Condron, ERC Editor
Web Cataloging Tools
Daniel Lovins, Cataloging News Editor
Book Reviews, Michael Carpenter, Book Reviews Editor
A Fully Faceted Syntax for Library of Congress Subject Headings
James D. Anderson and Melissa A. Hofmann
ABSTRACT: Moving to a fully faceted syntax would resolve three problems facing Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH): 1. Inconsistent syntax rules; 2. Inability to create headings that are coextensive with the topic of a work; and 3. Lack of effective displays for long lists of subdivisions under a single subject heading in OPACs and similar electronic displays. The authors advocate a fully faceted syntax using the facets of a modern faceted library classification (The Bliss Bibliographic Classification, 2d ed.). They demonstrate how this might be accomplished so as to integrate the new syntax with existing headings.
KEYWORDS: Library of Congress Subject Headings, syntax, facets
Is This Rule Necessary?: a Discussion of New Rules for Rare Serials
Juliet McLaren and Jane M. Gillis
ABSTRACT: Rare serials have always been the stepchild of cataloging rules, in both the serials cataloging world and the rare book cataloging world. This article focuses on the problems raised by this history, including definition of "rare" in the serials world, a description of their special characteristics and of the problems rare serials pose for catalogers. Issues addressed include the inadequacy of present day rules for accurate cataloging and recommended solutions for these problems that have been developed and tested by the authors.
KEYWORDS: Rare serials, serials cataloging, Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Serials), DCRM(S), rare materials cataloging
Teaching of Cataloging and Classification in Pakistan
Syed Jalaluddin Haider
ABSTRACT: Cataloging and classification has been regarded as a required course in the curricula at all levels of library education in Pakistan. An analysis of the contents of cataloging and classification courses and teaching methodologies of six of the country’s eight LIS Departments reveals that cataloging practices of the 1960s and 1970s dominate, a wide scale absence of newer technologies, non-availability of competent teachers, and poor lab facilities both in terms of equipment and library materials. Suggestions include: revision of curricula, arrangements to train cataloging and classification teachers in developed countries, improvement of laboratories, and the organization of continuing education programs.
KEYWORDS: Library and Information Science (LIS), Pakistan, Cataloging education, classification education, library schools, curricula
A Study of Subject Indexing Consistency between the National Library of Iran and Humanities Libraries in the Area of Iranian Studies
Narges Neshat and Abbas Horri
ABSTRACT: This study represents an attempt to compare indexing consistency between the catalogers of the National Library of Iran (NLI) on one side and 12 major academic and special libraries located in Tehran on the other. The research findings indicate that in 75% of the libraries the subject inconsistency values are 60% to 85%. In terms of subject classes, the consistency values are 10% to 35.2%, the mean of which is 22.5%. Moreover, the findings show that whenever the number of assigned terms increases, the probability of consistency decreases. This confirms Markey’s findings in 1984.
KEYWORDS: Subject heading assignment, evaluation, Iran, List of Persian Subject Headings
A Consortial Authority Control Project by the Keystone Library Network
Michael A. Weber, Stephanie A. Steely, and Marilou Z. Hinchcliff
ABSTRACT: This article examines the implementation of an authority control project in the Keystone Library Network, an eighteen-member1 library consortium in Pennsylvania. The project was made possible with monies procured through two Library Services and Technology Act grants. The first grant funded staff training opportunities; the second covered base file cleanup of bibliographic records. The grant process and the management of the authority control project are described in detail.
KEYWORDS: Authority control, Academic libraries, consortia, outsourcing, Pennsylvania, grants
The process of gathering accepted manuscripts together to create a journal issue has once again resulted in an interesting and varied assortment of topics and of authors. This time from the U.S., Pakistan, and Iran. The issue begins with the Electronic Resources for Catalogers column and a review of useful sites that bring together online resources for catalogers.
Does the current level of interest in faceted approaches to information retrieval, both by practitioners in information architecture and more recently by libraries like North Carolina State University for their catalogs and websites, have implications for the structure of our controlled vocabularies? The first article recommends using a faceted syntax with the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Topical and non-topical facets are borrowed from the Bliss Classification, 2nd ed. and preliminary rules are applied to sixteen bibliographic records in order to show how a faceted approach impacts the LCSH precoordinated strings and their display within bibliographic records.
A second article addresses inadequacies and recommends solutions related to the cataloging of rare serials. For those who enjoyed the recent CCQ theme issues, Education for Library Cataloging: International Perspectives (v.41, no. 2, 3/4) but want more, see the article in this issue that describes the teaching of cataloging and classification in Pakistan. That article is followed by an Iranian study of indexing consistency by catalogers in the application of the List of Persian Subject Headings. The final article of this issue describes the work of the libraries of the Keystone Library Network to develop and implement a consortial authority control project that included both training and base file clean up for each library.
This issue concludes with Cataloging News that summarizes a collection of meetings and trends. These include the New England chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the New England Library Network Bibliographic Services Conference, the Third IFLA Meeting of Experts on an International Cataloguing Code, and cataloging as "communal recreation."
Daniel Lovins, News Editor
Welcome to the news column. Its purpose is to disseminate information on any aspect of cataloging and classification that may be of interest to the cataloging community. This column is not just intended for news items, but serves to document discussions of interest as well as news concerning you, your research efforts, and your organization. If you have any pertinent materials, notes, minutes, or reports, please contact Daniel Lovins (email:; phone: 203-432-1707). News columns will typically be available prior to publication in print from the CCQ website at .
We would appreciate receiving items having to do with:
Research and Opinion
January 4, 2006
I thought I’d begin my column this time by pulling together ideas from two interesting programs I recently attended. While sponsored by different organizations, the two programs gelled in my mind as they coincided in time (the same week in November), region (Boston area), and topics (e.g.: evolution of the OPAC, social software, metadata interoperability). The first was a program sponsored by the New England chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NE-ASIS&T) on November 15, 2005, and the second was the New England Library Network (NELINET) Bibliographic Services Conference on November 18, 2005. While not all the topics related specifically to cataloging and classification, all of them shed light on the changing nature of metadata and the OPAC and promise to influence the work we do in profound ways.
Following my review of these programs, I will mention a few additional items of interest including: the new cataloging code (in draft), the idea of "recreational cataloging", a new thesaurus standard that has just been published, and the Research Library Group’s new membership in the Open Content Alliance, all of which similarly reflect the changing nature of our profession.
I-A. Social Software and the OPAC
The NE-ASIS&T program was entitled "Buy, Hack, or Build: Optimizing your Systems for your Users and Your Sanity," and featured Joshua Porter (User Interfaces Engineering), Pete Bell (Endeca Solutions), and Casey Bisson (Plymouth State). The NELINET program was entitled "Google vs. the OPAC: the Challenge is on", and featured (once again) Casey Bisson, Carl Grant (VTLS) , Marty Kurth (Cornell), David Lindahl (University of Rochester), and Stuart Weibel (OCLC Research).
An important trend cited by virtually all of the participants is the growing use of self-organizing "social software." This includes blogs and wikis—discussed in my previous column—but also social tagging, reputation tracking, and user-submitted book reviews. My dear reader might reasonably ask why I consider the topic of social software appropriate for a cataloging and classification news column. Here’s my reason: a school of thought has emerged (mostly among non-librarians) that the elaborate labor-intensive ontologies we have been building over the past several decades—towering structures such as Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings and Dewey Decimal Classification—may have outlived their usefulness. Members of this school would have us substitute in their place the seemingly more dynamic and user-friendly structures of tagged folksonomies.
Peter Bell (of Endeca), for example, thinks that libraries (and their subject heading/classification systems) fixate too much on how books are arranged on shelves, and not enough on how ideas relate to one-another in peoples’ minds. This echoes Clay Shirky’s critique that librarians’ attachment to LC Classification holds them back from competing effectively on the Web. (cf.:). Instead of rigid top-heavy subject systems, Bell proposes adoption of Endeca’s "faceted navigation" technology ( ). A large number of institutions are using it—including Wal-Mart, NASA, IBM, and John Deere—but so far no libraries. Given his support for faceted navigation, I asked him what he thought about OCLC’s work on FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology). Bell seemed dubious that FAST terms would be sufficiently unambiguous once stripped of their original LCSH syntax. I wonder (though neglected to ask) whether a true thesaurus as opposed to a subject list would lend itself better to clean faceting. In any event, I don’t know what kind of thesaurus—if any—is used with Endeca’s navigation tool.
While few would argue that social software heralds the immediate downfall of centrally-planned ontologies, nevertheless, given their rapid success all across the Web, it would seem prudent for librarians to make some sort of accommodation. In fact, some have already done so. Ellyssa Krosky reports in her blog posting of Dec. 7, 2005 (the-hive-mind-folksonomies-and-user-based-tagging/) that the University of Pennsylvania has implemented del.icio.us-based "PennTags" that can be added to its library web pages and bibliographic records. She also lists libraries (e.g., La Grange Park Public Library) that use the tagging capability of Flickr to organize their visual images. And at my home base of Yale, Medical Library programmer Dan Chudnov has been developing something similar to del.icio.us, a university-wide implementation of Unalog called "Links" ( ).
Amazon recently added social tagging to its Web portal (see announcement,), allowing users to bookmark and index their Web pages according to whim, and at the same time allowing Amazon to collect data on what terms happen to be floating through the heads of its customers. Amazon gets lots of free market research data, while users get to organize Web pages in ways that make the most sense to them. In any of these systems, once an object has been tagged, it can then be collocated with other objects that have been given the same tag.
Joshua Porter, for his part, believes controlled vocabularies will continue to be indispensable, but perhaps only for activities requiring strict command and control; e.g., space shuttle launches or military operations, where there is little time or tolerance for the ambiguities of natural language.
OCLC has taken a lead among cataloging services in implementing the social software known as wikis. By virtue of integrating a wiki with OpenWorldCat (a project called "WikiD"), OCLC allows users to add their own Amazon-like book reviews to bibliographic records. Eventually, we are told, WikiD will extend to all of WorldCat ().
The power of wikis is best known today through Wikipedia, a resource that appears to threaten reference librarians the way del.icio.us can seem to encroach on cataloging. Rather than consulting library-approved reference tools, many students today simply query the Google search engine, and retrieve Wikipedia articles Google has ranked near the top of its results list. Wikipedia not only allows users to obtain information quickly and easily, it even allows editing of articles in which (it is hoped) they have expertise. Now, library administrators wouldn’t want users getting inside the OPAC and making unsupervised editorial changes, but they might want something along the lines of WikiD, where personal comments, opinions, links, bookmarks, etc., are maintained on a separate server, but appear and function for the user as integrated with the catalog.
The growing popularity of social software raises the problem of linguistic ambiguity (the bane of space shuttle launches and military actions) but also one of authoritativeness. Libraries have traditionally served the public by helping separate the bibliographic wheat, as it were, from the chaff. This vetting and quality control work is now under threat as never before. Social software makes it easy to bypass the traditional gate keepers (for better or for worse), and allow users to decide for themselves which Web authors to trust and whose ideological narratives to adopt. This change is particularly evident in the blogosphere, where traditional print journalists now compete with amateur and editorially unrestrained reporters (and ones with virtually unlimited broadcasting reach), but the change is increasingly felt by librarians as well.
While selector-bibliographers bear primary responsibility for ensuring high quality collections, catalogers and reference librarians are essential in making sure that materials, once purchased, are discovered and retrieved in the most appropriate manner. Because of high-quality, accurate, and objective metadata supplied by catalogers and interpreted by reference librarians, the user is saved from having to rely on tendentious publishers, anonymous Amazon reviewers, or questionable Google page rankings for guidance on an item’s relevance to their work. In other words, while bibliographers strive to bring the most authoritative material into the library collection, catalogers strive to supply the most authoritative metadata so as to ensure that items are subsequently found and used by those who most truly want and need them.
It is this tradition of authority that seems threatened by the likes of Wikipedia and del.icio.us. Information seekers tend to follow the path of least resistance. As Stuart Weibel put it on one of his program slides: "Free and easy beats free and good in the marketplace for the most part." What distinguishes Wikipedia from traditional knowledge sources is not only that it’s free (after all, everything in the library is also free), but also that it’s so easy. Moreover, because the intellectual property rights and encoding standards are as non-restrictive as possible, there are virtually no barriers to stable and prolific linking to its articles. In Google, the number of links pointing to a page has a lot to do with how high it ranks in the search results. And in terms of authority, it seems clear that for most people most of the time (think ready reference, not scholarly research), Wikipedia is quite simply good enough.
Joshua Porter has an interesting take on the problem of authoritative sources: it turns out, he suggests, that authority has always been based on peer-to-peer networks anyway (and not, as librarians might imagine it, imposed by some higher power). A friend, teacher, librarian, mentor, parent, older sibling, etc. (i.e., a senior peer) recommends Encyclopedia Britannica to us, for example, and the resource begins to rise in our esteem. Successful use of the resource (in the form of correct answers, productive pathfinders, etc.) reinforces its reputation, but the initial moment of trust started from a personal recommendation. Porter suggests that peer-to-peer networks simply replicate the way reputations are established in the real world: i.e., they are built up over time and nurtured through repeated demonstrations of reliability and confidence-building testimony from other users (who have, in turn, established their own authority in similar ways).
eBay is a good example of how non-centralized authority can emerge on the Web. Customers rate the quality of their experience doing business with other eBay members and, over time, the most reliable trading partners are rewarded with the highest ratings. (Amazon does something similar when it reports that "X out of Y people found the following review helpful".) Conversely, misanthropic users earn low ratings, and find their ability to game the system diminished over time, i.e., as other customers learn to avoid them.
The question this raises for catalogers, then, is: could social software such as tagging and personal book reviews ever generate the level of confidence currently enjoyed by library catalogs? Assuming for the moment that a complete displacement of cataloging authority is unlikely, would it not make sense to try at least some sort of accommodation with something so popular and useful (along the lines of OCLC’s WikiD, say)?
I-B. Catalogers as Partners in Web Development
Catalogers tend to relegate the technical development of their tools to vendors, information technologists, systems librarians, and programmers. Several speakers challenged the catalogers in the audience, however, to see themselves not just as consumers, but also co-developers of library technology. One might object that mastery of AACR2, LCRIs, FRBR, MARC, etc., involves a different kind of expertise from computer programming or software engineering, and of course this is correct. But that is where the idea and practice of hacking comes in handy. As the term was used in the program sessions—i.e., non—derisively as in the program title "Buy, Hack, or Build"—hacking involves the improvised, incremental improvement of service realized through manipulation and remixing of pre—existing technologies.
Joshua Porter described the incremental development aspect of hacking as "iterative design." As Porter sees it, the most innovative Web developers are willing to break rules and make mistakes. In the case of Google, for example, the HTML of its home page doesn’t even validate, and the company seems unperturbed by releasing various tools and services to the public in quasi-permanent "beta" status. According to the iterative design model, successive drafts of imperfect content are released to the public and then, through a mutually beneficial feedback loop, continuously improved and refined. The end user essentially becomes a co-developer of the product or service, and ensures that new ideas and user concerns are always taken into account.
This is not typical of the way things work between catalogers and their vendors. In the case of OPACs, for example, development plans and source code are often treated as confidential intellectual property. The library finds itself reduced to begging for enhancements that, in a more open environment, it could have helped the vendors develop. Librarians make a similar mistake when they neglect the open access and open source communities that have transformed other sectors of the information economy.
Bisson and Grant both invoked Roy Tennant, describing the typical OPAC enhancement as "putting lipstick on a pig," and both identified the same cause underlying the technological stagnation. On top of the fact that libraries are increasingly crippled by budget shortfalls, there is this problem of libraries and their vendors not collaborating more openly, and not taking advantage of freely-available system development tools. The latter include the so-called L.A.M.P. applications, namely Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, that enable implementers (and hackers) to work around the limitations of their local systems. In order to jump-start innovation in the OPAC, and reverse the exodus of patrons from library catalogs toward Google and Amazon, librarians need to become more adept at implementing the kinds of desirable L.A.M.P.-based features that independent developers and commercial services have been exploiting for years.
Other ways of enhancing the OPAC were discussed as well. David Lindahl described his work at the University of Rochester developing the Catalog User Interface Platform for Iterative Design (CUIPID). This involved exporting a MARC-encoded database into XML, and performing various ‘mash-ups’ such as collocating bibliographic data with maps of the stacks and student billing records. He also discussed a home-grown metadata search engine called SARA (Search and Retrieval application), and ways of tweaking the SFX Open URL resolver to make it more user-friendly (i.e., by hiding its native interface and dialog options, thereby bringing users more quickly and directly from citation to full-text).
Carl Grant urged librarians to make their data ‘work harder’ (my paraphrase of Lorcan Dempsey, not Grant’s actual words,). Catalogers need to leverage those skills in which they have the greatest expertise and competitive edge, getting more involved in NISO decision-making, for example, and taking a higher profile role in the development of trusted digital repositories.
Moreover, Grant suggested that vendors and libraries alike would benefit from a more cooperative research relationship. Instead of investing huge sums in thousands of small localized OPACs, each with its own laundry-list of specifications, Grant suggested that libraries use WorldCat (with customized interfaces) as their catalog of record, and spend more time, effort, and money, developing new features and enhancements that benefit the entire industry. Furthermore, catalogers could merge their metadata skills with other forms of knowledge management. In a university setting, this could include bibliographic support for open source instructional software like Sakai (). A more efficient and unified library community (with greater sharing of technological infrastructure and resources) could work together with vendors to create a common set of priorities and industry vision that would help offset increasingly restrictive budgets.
Grant seemed most enthusiastic, though, about the prospect of 3D browsers—developed in the gaming industry, and familiar to incoming students—being applied to library research workstations. He asked the audience to imagine (with the help of illustrative screen shots from Croquet, http://croquetproject.org/index.html) the user manipulating an avatar (or animated graphic surrogate) in a virtual landscape of research tools and databases. Conceivably, the cataloger could collaborate with interface designers to create the illusion that researchers are physically inside the computer, able to explore the digital objects around them by simply touching them with their avatar’s hand. This could bring the idea of ‘virtual browsing’ to a much higher level. Stuart Weibel of OCLC agreed that 3D browsers and avatars are worth testing out in the library, and suggested such innovations might help "wrap community around content … and content around the community" which happens to be a major goal of OCLC research.
I-C. Metadata vs. Cataloging
Marty Kurth’s presentation ("Catalogers Wanted: Metadata Practice in the Web Era") aimed to dispel the notion that metadata librarianship is radically different from traditional cataloging. Yes, differences exist, but they have more to do with tools and workflows than with basic principles and skills. Cataloging work typically begins with the item in hand, and then applies to the item a set of predetermined descriptive, subject analytic, and encoding standards. Metadata work, by contrast, starts at the project level, and only after deciding on project specifications, interoperability requirements, user expectations, tools, and standards, does it work its way back to the specific item. The different workflows are "mirror images" of each other, but both aim to provide the same thing: the preconditions for semantic interoperability and reconciliation. In other words, catalog and metadata librarians serve as conceptual translators among different authors and disciplines and bridge the gap (with apologies to Wittgenstein) between seemingly incommensurable language games. Metadata in turn, forms the connective tissue that makes translation, reuse, mapping, and data transformation possible.
I-D. The Google Challenge
It is significant that NELINET chose to name its conference "Google vs. the OPAC: the Challenge is on." Given the unprecedented wave of disruptive (yet wonderful) technologies breaking over the workplace, many professions are being forced to reassess the value of their services. An article in the December issue of Wired () asks rhetorically: "Who’s Afraid of Google? Everyone." Google presents a particularly strong challenge to librarians, though, given its official corporate mission "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful" (which sounds suspiciously library-like), along with proven track-record of injecting ‘killer apps’ (Google Scholar, Google Book Search, Google Maps, Google Directory, etc.) rapidly into the marketplace. Moreover, Google retains a veritable army of computer scientists and software engineers, and a market capitalization of $118 billion, so it’s no wonder that colleagues are biting their fingernails.
Fortunately, though, and contrary to the semi-facetious NELINET conference title, there is no real battle taking place with Google. In fact, given its willingness to digitize millions of books (at no cost) and provide links back to library catalogs, Google may end up being one of best friends libraries have had in a long time. Like the L.A.M.P. technologies mentioned above, Google (and Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, etc.) are developing tools that, once integrated with the library, will help us serve our patrons better.
While we have much to learn from our peers regarding blogs, wikis, social tagging, identity and reputation management tools, 3D browsers, unique identifiers, and L.A.M.P. applications, catalogers are becoming increasingly adept at Web development and social software implementation. At the same time, we have expertise of our own to offer in the form of subject analysis, authority control, data modeling, metadata schemas, and highly refined ontologies. It seems to me that if we can learn to market our library-specific expertise more effectively, our counterparts at Google and elsewhere will have something to learn from us as well.
II. Cataloging as "Communal Recreation"
Speaking of social software and peer-to-peer networking, Timothy Spalding has developed and released a Web-based cataloging application called LibraryThing (). While hardly a substitute for a full-blown bibliographic database, it nonetheless shows the kind of library-related development work occurring outside our profession (Spalding is not a librarian). A free account lets you catalog 200 books, while a $10 per year or $25 life-time paid membership lets you catalog books to your heart’s content. The Christian Science Monitor describes Spalding’s invention as "poised to turn the cataloging of books into a form of communal recreation." This is due to the social networking features. As in Amazon.com, readers can post reviews, starred ratings, comments, and other elements, and the system will integrate this data with those supplied by other users. So it’s easy to see if anyone else in the LibraryThing network owns the same book, and, if so, whether they’ve reviewed it and how many stars they’ve given it. Like Amazon, LibraryThing generates messages such as: "People who own this book also own..." Virtual reading groups could spring up easily out of this milieu (and I suspect already have). Metadata (and cover art) can be entered directly through a Web form or imported with a single mouse click from the catalogs of Amazon, Library of Congress, or 30 other available libraries. From the "Extras" tab, I can obtain a widget that inserts my reading list/book collection directly into my blog or web page.
While support for LC subject headings is in the works, Spalding is unapologetic about his preference for social tagging (which is currently supported in LibraryThing). In his FAQ page he explains why: "Here are two examples from my experience: The LC catalogs Bean's Aegean Turkey, a guide to the archaeological sites of Turkey's western coast, under the single subject, "Ionia." For me, however, the book is about turkey and archaeology, tags I've applied to dozens of books, including Bean's other archaeological guides. The LC thinks Bernadette Brooten's Love between women: early Christian responses to female homoeroticism is about six different things, including the mouthful "Bible. N.T. Romans I, 18-32 — Criticism, interpretation, etc. — History — Early church, ca. 30-600." I get by with the tags early church, and homosexuality. To these I added the tag divination. Although the book doesn't say much about divination, its comments on the topic were actually the reason I picked it up."
The preference for social tagging is certainly understandable. As discussed in the first news item above, it allows readers to organize things according their own mental blueprints. But it may cause problems down the road as LibraryThing grows and the database needs to scale up. In any event, the good news is, assuming all goes as planned, that users will be able to choose to assign tags or subject headings, alone or in combination, depending on whatever serves their particular needs.
III. A New Thesaurus Standard
Thesauri and the standards which inform them are among the most powerful tools in the cataloger’s arsenal. The importance of national and international thesaurus standards for semantic mapping and Web-based interoperability can hardly be overstated. The U.S. standard for monolingual thesaurus construction, NISO Z39.19, is, according to Marcia Lei Zeng (), the standard most frequently requested from the National Information Standards Organization ( ), and continues to grow in importance. Driven by changes in database architecture and Web development, Z39.19 has undergone a process of revision and was approved on July 25, 2005 under its new title, Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies.
The corresponding British standard, BS 5723, has been under revision as well. In fact, it’s being replaced, as parts one and two of its successor standard, BS 8723, have just been published. As stated in a December 21, 2005 press release, "The differences between BS 5723 (now withdrawn) and BS 8723 Parts 1 and 2 are very substantial, even though the basic principles of thesaurus construction are preserved. The whole text has been rewritten in today’s idiom, and some additional aspects are now covered: facet analysis; presentation via electronic (as well as printed) media; thesaurus functions in electronic systems; [and] requirements for thesaurus management software. Meantime, work continues on the three other parts planned for BS 8723. These will cover, respectively: vocabularies other than thesauri; interoperation between multiple vocabularies (with multilingual thesauri as a special case); and interoperation between vocabularies and other components of information storage and retrieval systems. It is hoped that in due course, with the input of collaborators in other countries, BS 8723 will pave the way towards a corresponding revision of the international standard, ISO 2788." To learn more or obtain a copy of the new standard (ISBN 0580467988), visit the BSI Web site at.
Why are these standards being revised at this time? Largely it has to do with increasing demand for metadata mapping and semantic interoperability on the Web. According to a presentation from Stella G. Dextre Clarke, et al., at the 2004 meeting of the International Society of Knowledge Management (), new guidelines should better facilitate electronic application, support management software, facilitate mapping among thesauri and other vocabularies, help reconcile disparate data exchange formats and protocols, and support end-user applications (i.e., not just those designed for information professionals). The catch words are "mapping" and "interoperability." Remember what Marty Kurth said about the special role of catalogers: they facilitate semantic interoperability between and among diverse representations of knowledge. Development of thesaurus standards involves the same kind of interest and expertise, and it is important that catalogers stay engaged in such efforts.
IV. A New Cataloging Code
Another sign of big changes in the cataloging world was the recent release of Resource Description and Access (RDA) Part I in draft form on December 12, 2005. A comparison of the new title with former one: Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules tells the back story in compressed form: the disappearance of "Anglo-American" indicates the code’s increasingly international scope. While the Anglo-American orientation has hardly been eliminated, it’s nonetheless interesting to note that the current code is being used around the world, has been translated into 25 languages, and, pursuant to a string of Unicode conversions, is increasingly applied to multi-script multi-lingual databases. The disappearance of the word "Cataloguing" from the title suggests that the need for metadata has migrated far beyond the walls of the library catalog and has become indispensable to the Semantic Web and other information networks (cf. discussion of reconciliation and interoperability above). The dropping of the word "Rules" reflects (I believe) a recognition that the code is (or should be) considered more a set of guidelines than rules, and that greater flexibility is now needed to control processing costs and ensure the code’s widest possible application. The inclusion of the phrase "Description and Access" likely reflects a commitment to IFLA’s Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), namely an attempt to keep user needs (i.e., resource identification and access) at the forefront of our minds as we do our work, with the code rendered derivative and subordinate to those needs.
V. RLG Joins Open Content Alliance
And finally, as is becoming increasingly obvious to readers of this column, metadata is not just for libraries. Developers of digital repositories also know how important high-quality metadata is to the effective discovery and retrieval of archived information. With this as context, RLG announced in October that it is joining the Open Content Alliance (OCA) in its efforts to "build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content" (cf.:, ). In order to do this, RLG will be repurposing some of it 48 million bibliographic records for inclusion in the OCA’s Open Library Project ( ). Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and major OCA proponent has hailed RLG’s participation, noting that it "will bring critical expertise and relationships to this ambitious project. Using the RLG Union Catalog to keep track of digitized materials, catalog them, and make them available to the public will ensure that the efforts of many libraries are shared widely" (as quoted in RLG News, issue 62, Winter 2005).
IME ICC3 Continues the Work Towards International Agreement on Cataloguing Principles
A short report by Barbara Tillett, Chair of the IME ICC Planning Committee
The Third IFLA Meeting of Experts on an International Cataloguing Code (IME ICC3) met in Cairo, Egypt December 12-14, 2005 at the Pyramisa Hotel. Sixty-five participants from seventeen countries were present (including the members of the Planning Committee). The online discussion list will continue to include all eighty-one invited participants from the seventeen Arabic-speaking Middles eastern countries. The weather was mild, and the facilities were excellent.
As with the first two meetings, the goal is to agree on a new Statement of International Cataloguing Principles to replace the 1961 Paris Principles that form the foundation of nearly every cataloguing code used in the world today. A Glossary of terms to help translators was also discussed as were other recommendations on cooperation in cataloging in the region and worldwide. The participants fulfilled their tasks with enthusiasm, energy, and excitement of involvement in this international initiative.
Our generous sponsors for the third meeting were IFLA, OCLC, the King Abdulaziz Public Library, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the Library of Congress. I also particularly want to thank my colleagues on the Planning Committee (especially Ana Cristan for her support of the Web site (see), discussion list, and initial invitations; Elena Escolano for presenting Patrick LeBoeuf’s FRBR paper, Mauro Guerrini for presenting John Byrum’s ISBD paper, Jaesun Lee for her photographic help and general support and preparations for the IME ICC4 in Asia, Arthur Smith of OCLC, Sameh Shalaby of the APROMAC business management firm, and staff at the Cairo Office of the Library of Congress for the many local services they provided) – thanks to all of them for supporting the success of this meeting.
Special thanks also go to Ayman El-Masry and Ansam Baranek who served as moderators over the two-days of working meetings. Their command of both English and Arabic was key to the discussion, as was the help of two excellent simultaneous translators. I also want to than the volunteers who helped translate presentations and background papers: Nedal al-Shourbagy, Alla El-Talmas, and Ali Shaker.
But the success really goes to the participants, who made excellent recommendations for further improvement of the draft Statement of International Cataloguing Principles and will continue to work on Arabic terms for the Glossary (under the lead of the Egyptian National Library and its head, Dr. Sherif Shaheen, who was also the welcoming speaker for the meeting). I also want to thank the Working Group leaders and their recorders for leading their groups and presenting such wonderful reports to the final plenary session. Among the recommendations are the following:
WG 1, Personal Names (Iman Khairy, leader; Khalid Mohamed Reyad, recorder)
The Group generally approved of the principles as they stand, but they made suggestions about many of the Glossary terms for Arabic equivalents and additions. They also made recommendations to initiate a cooperative Arabic authority file for classical and modern works, to unify local practices, to enhance Arabic bibliographic tools (by individuals and organizations), to change well-established names in English to their original forms (e.g., from Alhazen to Ibn al-Haytham), and to work on creating Arabic Rule Interpretations.
WG 2, Corporate Bodies (Ali Shaker, leader; Mona Abdel Kader, recorder)
For the principle 22.214.171.124, given the problems with the English use of the word "persona," the Group suggested to use instead "distinctive entity" or add the word "persona" to the Glossary with a clear definition. Regarding principle 5.1.3, Language, they suggested the principle needs to be clear that "references" refers to reference sources not cross-references. For principle 126.96.36.199, on Corporate Names, the majority agreed to keep the wording as is, except to fix a typo ("from" should be "form"). They noted many local practices differ from this principle and the rules. For the Glossary, they suggested adding terms for "users of the catalog" and for "persona" and to delete the term "agent."
WG 3, Seriality (Walid Ghali Nasr, leader; Wessam Samir, recorder)
The Group agreed with the principles but also would like to see more flexibility in the serials area. For the Glossary they wanted to refine Arabic translations of terms. They further recommended more flexibility to suit the increasing number of serial records, to have standards on publication in the Middle East, and to more widely use ISSN and CIP.
WG 4, Uniform Titles and GMD (Nedal Fayez al-Shourbagy, leader; Mahmoud Rashad, recorder)
For principle 188.8.131.52, Uniform titles, the Group suggested changing the exception to indicate "in some circumstances the commonly used title in the language and script of the catalogue should be used rather than the title found in manifestations or reference sources." The Group felt the GMD should be mandatory, but the placement of it needs further discussion.
WG 5, Multipart Structures (Abderrahim Ameur, leader; Sherief Ra′ouf, recorder)
The Group generally agreed with the draft principles but commented on 7.1.3 that names of additional creators beyond the first should have no limits on how many can be provided. For the Glossary, they suggested some new Arabic equivalents for some of the terms, and they felt more explanation was needed for the term "manifestation" in English. They further recommended that future cataloging rules address making individual bibliographic records for individual works within multipart structures with a collective title (analyze the individual works). They also recommended to work within IFLA and in regional and national institutions to motivate Arab publishers to work with libraries in each country to help with bibliographic control. Additionally, they recommended working with system vendors to implement these principles in future integrated library systems.
As with the first two meetings, this third meeting will be followed with further discussion to reach consensus among the participants on which recommendations they wish to forward to the earlier participants and the voting process for agreed changes to the Statement of Principles and to the Glossary. The "report" from the meeting will be sent to the publishers in early 2006 and I will provide a presentation during the IFLA conference in Seoul in August 2006 on the IMEICC3 and IME ICC4 meetings.
It was a pleasure to see the momentum started for future accomplishments in the Arabic-speaking Middle East and general support for the principles draft.
Symposium on 21st Century Cataloging and National Bibliographic Policy
Report by Jaesun Lee, The National Library of Korea
A symposium titled, "21st Century Cataloging and National Bibliographic Policy," jointly organized by the National Library of Korea and the Korean Library Association, was held on October 18, 2005 at the International Conference Room of the National Library of Korea. The symposium organizing committee members were from the National Library of Korea, including Director of Library Service Department, Chi-ju Lee, Acquisitions and Technical Processing Division Chief, Hyeon-tae Shin, Deputy Chief Min-do Gi, Cataloging Specialist Jae-sun Lee, librarians Jae-soon Jo, Sang-yeon Nam, and Yu-gyeong Choi, and from the Korean Library Association, including Secretary General, Gyeong-gu Lee, General Affairs Department Head Hyeon-ju Lee, and team leaders Tae-hyeong Yoo and Jae-eun Shin.
At the symposium presentations were made by Dr. Barbara B. Tillett, Chief of CPSO at Library of Congress, USA; Ming-lian Duan, Professor at Peking University, China; Ben Gu, Director of the Cataloging Department, National Library of China; Nagata Haruki, Professor at Tsukuba University; Yukio Yokohama, Assistant Director of Bibliographic Control Division at National Diet Library. Japan; Tae-soo Kim, Professor at Yonsei University, Korea; and Chi-ju Lee, Director of the Library Service Department, National Library of Korea.
The symposium was aimed at preparing for the IFLA Meeting of Experts of an International Cataloging Code (IME ICC4) to be held at the National Library of Korea in 2006, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Library, and at enhancing Korean librarians' understanding of RDA and the cataloging rules of Korea, China, and Japan. Moreover, the symposium was intended to enhance understanding of the current status of neighboring countries on their national bibliography from the point of view of the national bibliography-compiling organizations, thereby seeking the possibility of information sharing in the future.
Focuses of theme presentations were as follows:
Theme presentations at the symposium were interpreted simultaneously in English and Korean, and questions and answers by participants were offered in relay interpretation. This was intended to reduce inconvenience in communication that may arise when participants asking questions or providing answers speak in their mother tongues. The presentations have been translated in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese and can be downloaded from the website of the National Library of Korea (), and photographs depicting the atmosphere of the conference are also available on the website.
Initially the number of participants for the symposium was limited to 300, yet approximately 480 librarians, including those who registered for the symposium on the spot, attended the symposium, indicating keen interest among Korean librarians in learning more about the latest developments in international cataloging.
Following the symposium, on October 19, 2005, in-depth discussions on matters of mutual concern, including authority files of participating countries, current status of Unicode application, and preparing cataloging records utilizing external private companies, were held to seek cooperative measures for exchanging bibliographic information. Through the discussions, participants shared views on difficulties in creating catalogs for national libraries, and explored ways to resolve such problems. Until now, the National Library of Korea has been pursuing exchanges of people and work with national libraries in China, Japan, and Singapore.
The symposium was held as part of commemorative events on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the opening of the National Library of Korea. Traditionally, Koreans attach a special meaning to a 60th anniversary, because in life reaching age 60 offers an occasion to reflect and collect thoughts on one's life, yet it also implies a "new beginning." In this context, the event is designed to reflect on the past of the National Library of Korea and establish it as a starting point for new ideas to move forward into the future. This vision is also well reflected in the library's "Vision 2010."
While preparing the event, it was thought that cataloging is closely related to language. In England and North America there is the Joint Steering Committee of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules and in Europe a wide variety of projects are under way, based on close cooperation among national libraries in the EU. By contrast in East Asia, although countries in the region belong to similar cultures, there has been very little tangible cooperation on cataloging.
Cataloging is an area uniquely possessed by libraries. It is hoped that the symposium will serve as a channel for joint discussions on cataloging in Asia and international experts in this field will show keen interest in future developments. It is also hoped that cataloging principles and library system technologies that will apply such principles will be further advanced in the future. By doing so, development of libraries in a true sense will be realized.