"Is There a Catalogue in Your Future?
Celebrating Nancy J. Williamson: Scholar, Educator, Colleague, Mentor"
Lynne C. Howarth, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
, Lynne C. Howarth
Is There a Catalog in Your Future? Access to Information in the Year 2006
Nancy J. Williamson
Nancy J. Williamson and the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO)
ABSTRACT: This paper documents and analyzes Nancy J. Williamson's contributions to two of the major publications of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), International Classification/Knowledge Organization and Advances in Classification Research. The results show her serious and long-standing commitment to the field of representing and organizing information and knowledge and her dedication to expanding worldwide interest and involvement in these fields. The Appendix provides access to each of Williamson's contributions to the two ISKO publications.
KEYWORDS: classification; International Society for Knowledge Organization; ISKO; knowledge organization; thesauri
Universal Bibliographic Control and the Quest for a Universally Acceptable Subject Arrangement
Ia C. McIlwaine
ABSTRACT: Achieving widespread agreement on subject organization is a complex task, and a challenge greater than that of creating a standard bibliographic description for international exchange—the goal of Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC). This paper traces the history of the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), its relationship with other schemes, and opportunities for further collaboration.
KEYWORDS: Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC); Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)
History of the Representation of the DDC in the MARC Classification Format
Julianne Beall and Joan S. Mitchell
ABSTRACT: This article explores the history of the representation of the DDC in the MARC formats, with a special emphasis on the development of the MARC classification format. Until 2009, the format used to represent the DDC has been a proprietary one that predated the development of the MARC classification format. The need to replace the current editorial support system, the desire to deliver DDC data in a variety of formats to support different uses, and the increasingly global context of editorial work with translation partners around the world prompted the Dewey editorial team, along with OCLC research and development colleagues, to rethink the underlying representation of the DDC and choose the MARC 21 formats for classification and authority data. The discussion is framed with quotes from the writings of Nancy J. Williamson, whose analysis of the content of the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) schedules played a key role in shaping the original MARC classification format.
KEYWORDS: Classification data, DDC, Dewey Decimal Classification, MARC 21 formats
Teaching Classification, 1990-2010
ABSTRACT: Cataloging and classification education has been a recurring topic in the library and information science literature since the creation of the first library school towards the end of the 19th century. This article examines the literature of the past 20 years, in an era of major changes in the way documents and information transit from their creators to their ultimate users. It concludes by suggesting several aspects of classification education that need to be investigated further, in light of these new circumstances.
KEYWORDS: classification; cataloging; teaching; library schools; subject analysis
From ABC to http: The Effervescent Evolution of Indexing for Audiovisual Materials
James M. Turner
ABSTRACT: Indexing methods for audiovisual materials had not yet settled when the arrival of the World Wide Web upset any stability that existed in this area. New possibilities have now opened up for indexing digital audiovisual materials in a networked environment. In this paper, we try to trace some of the methods used for organising collections of audiovisual materials, give a general portrait of how various types of them are organised today, and using indicators that have become manifest, speculate on some future developments in this area.
KEYWORDS: audiovisual materials; indexing; moving images; digital information; movies; television
Incorporating Facets into Social Tagging Applications: An Analysis of Current Trends
Louise F. Spiteri
ABSTRACT: An increasingly difficult challenge in social tagging applications is negotiating the number of existing tags. This paper examines the use of facets to facilitate the efficient organization and browsing of tags into manageable and distinct categories. Current and proposed methodologies for the application of facets in social tagging applications are evaluated. Results of this analysis indicate that these methodologies provide insufficient guidelines for the choice, evaluation, and maintenance of the facets. Suggestions are made to guide the design of a more rigorous methodology for the application of facets to social tagging applications.
KEYWORDS: social tagging; facets; facet analysis; methodologies; follksonomies; guidelines
Celebrating Nancy J. Williamson:
Scholar, Educator, Colleague, Mentor
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nancy Joyce Williamson, a native of the province of New Brunswick, Canada, was born on July 4, 1928. It is perhaps fitting that she shares her birthday with American Independence Day, as one who has set her course with clear direction and purpose for over eight decades. She "officially" retired June 30, 1994, from a stellar academic career at the then Faculty of Library and Information Science (FLIS), University of Toronto, Canada. After twenty-nine years of research and teaching, she left a behind a legion of successful graduates at both Master's and doctoral degree levels, as well as innumerable professional and academic colleagues within and beyond the University. But not for long. After a summer semester break, Professor Emerita Williamson was back at it, teaching her trademark course, "Subject Approach to Information," continuing with doctoral supervision, presenting papers at international conferences, serving on scholarly and professional association committees, and publishing actively in peer-reviewed journals.
Given the consistency of productivity both pre- and post-retirement, one might more realistically consider this special issue as focused on a life and work in-progress, rather than as a retrospective. Regardless, it is a tribute to an individual with the drive of commitment to scholarship and education in subject analysis, subject access systems, and classification. As of this writing, she is preparing for an upcoming conference on the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) in The Hague,1 continuing her work on UDC Class 61 (Medicine), and beginning an article for publication in an international journal.
Williamson completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in History at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada), in 1949, going on to do a Bachelor of Library Science (BLS) degree at the University of Toronto one year later. She was hired as a reference librarian in the Arts and Science Department of the Hamilton Public Library (Ontario, Canada), serving for six years before moving into the Cataloguing Department. From 1956 to 1964, she engaged in all aspects of cataloguing, subject analysis, and classification, assuming the responsibilities of Head Cataloguer from 1964 to 1965. Post-graduate education called and Williamson responded, pursuing a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree in 1964, and joining the academic ranks at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor from 1965 to 1977. The then Faculty of Library Science (FLS) favoured the hiring of academic faculty with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees, and Williamson obliged, continuing to teach while also pursuing doctoral studies at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1977, she completed and defended her dissertation, "Cataloguing and Bibliography: A Comparative Study of Their Inter relationships as Seen Through Their Principles and Practices," under the supervision of Professor Phyllis A. Richmond. Williamson was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, building over the next five years the kind of international scholarly reputation expected for further academic advancement. Appointed a Full Professor in 1982, Williamson's growing knowledge of, and expertise in, the evolving relationship between information technologies and classification systems led to a growing list of invited presentations, and important consultancies.
"Is There a Catalog in Your Future? Access to Information in the Year 2006," presented at the RTSD Silver Anniversary Program "Looking Toward the 2lst Century" at the American Library Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, June 28, 1981, (and reprinted in this special issue), perhaps exemplifies the vision that was to characterize Williamson's scholarly work for the next two decades and beyond. Published in Library Resources & Technical Services,2 and also by Scarecrow Press in Library Lit: The Best of 1982,3 this nod to the future of online catalogues—itself foreshadowing Williamson's own future work in the extension of MAchine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) formats to classification data—was regularly cited as a definitive roadmap to realizing the potential of automated catalogues, and online access to library resources. What student did not read this paper as part of their graduate professional education?!
In a sense, this flagship work serves, not only as the beginning of, but also the impetus for, the series of invited papers appearing in this special issue. Each author has a particular association with Williamson that was forged in the years following the publication of "Is There a Catalog in Your Future?" Their topics represent the very rich and productive future that characterized Williamson's research and teaching in the years following 1982. It was a watershed time for her, and also for subject access systems and classification, as all entered the dynamic and expanding sphere of evolving technologies and applications.
The landmark article reprinted, with the kind permission of the American Library Association, sets the stage, and will introduce those who may as yet be unfamiliar with the work of Nancy Williamson to one of her most enduring thought pieces. This present overview concludes with a bibliography of publications additional to those analysed and referenced in the second article in this special issue, authored by Clare Beghtol, herself an internationally renowned scholar in classification theory.4 Noting that, "Williamson is one of those individuals whose work on behalf of international bodies has enhanced the influence of the various organizations with which she has been associated,"5 Beghtol examines Williamson's contributions to two major publications of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), namely, International Classification/Knowledge Organization and Advances in Classification Research, appending an extensive bibliography that underscores Williamson's particular gift for "working to bring the old and the new into a harmonious balance that does justice to both."
The depth and range of Williamson's scholarship is well represented in the next two articles in the festschrift. While Beghtol speaks to "her serious and long-standing commitment to the field of representing and organizing information and knowledge," Ia C. McIlwaine, and co-authors Julianne Beall and Joan S. Mitchell address Williamson's engagement with, and considerable impact on the development of, respectively, the Universal Decimal Classification, and the representation of both the Library of Congress Classification, and the Dewey Decimal Classification in the MARC Classification Format. McIlwaine6 reminds us that, "In 1991 ... Nancy Williamson suggested that there was potential in adapting the Bliss Classification into a UDC format." Here we see the application of her deep understanding of two established systems of classification to bring about a "harmonious balance" which results in "...the revision of [UDC] Class 61—Medicine, a major undertaking with widespread implications for other classes in the classification," as McIlwaine explains. Williamson's talent for creating new knowledge on the foundations of the old, is echoed by Beall and Mitchell. They begin their description of the development of a MARC format for classification data with Williamson's assertion in 1988 that, "... there is a substantial degree of certainty that a satisfactory US MARC record for the LC classification can be developed and the format can be extended to accommodate the Dewey Decimal Classification schedules." Reminiscent of an exhortation to "make it so!" the co-authors provide an instructive history of the representation of the DDC in MARC 21 formats for classification and authority data, noting the key role Williamson's analysis of the content of the LCC schedules played in shaping the original MARC classification format.
A bridging article by Michèle Hudon7 brings into focus another strength of Williamson's impressive career, namely, that of teaching. "Teaching Classification, 1990-2010," begins with a reference to Williamson's 1997 article, "The Importance of Subject Analysis in Library and Information Science Education,"8 It then explores twenty years of literature on the subject of teaching classification, and asks if changes "in the way documents and information transit from their creators to their ultimate users," require a fresh assessment of the question, "Are we teaching the right things?"
Articles by James M. Turner,9 and Louise F. Spiteri10, respectively, cast a further light on the future—that of Web 2.0 tools and applications—thus bookending the festschrift's opening reprint. In Turner's "From ABC to http: the Effervescent Evolution of Indexing for Audiovisual Materials," the good old days "of something that worked well in the world of analogue materials" that can be brought to bear on developing automated high-quality indexing for digital audiovisual materials never existed. Nonetheless, the omnipresence of digital A/V documents demands "settled methods for indexing," however far into the future that may be.
In "Incorporating Facets into Social Tagging Applications: an Analysis of Current Trends," Spiteri explores existing or proposed methodologies for applying facets to social tagging applications within the framework of five key questions. In the spirit of Williamson's facility for bringing, as Beghtol noted, "the old and the new into a harmonious balance that does justice to both," Spiteri suggests that facet analysis, as conceived by S.R. Ranganathan, "may serve as a useful bridge between the benefits of the grassroots, bottom-up approach to the selection of tags, and a more controlled and efficient organization and visual browsing of tags in social tagging applications."
Each of the authors in this special issue was invited to submit a paper representative of her or his own work, as a tribute—a "gift"—for the honoree. Within such a broad framework, variety and diversity would necessarily be the order of the day. Nonetheless, a theme seems to emerge ad hoc to connect the collection, and itself to acknowledge the breadth and depth of Williamson's academic career and scholarship. From a solid foundation of first principles, and a deep knowledge of both subject analysis and classification, and subject access systems, Williamson has consistently cast an informed eye into the future. As a result of her undertakings as a researcher and educator, and through her numerous partnerships as colleague or mentor, many of her innovations have been implemented, and speculations realized. The field is decidedly richer for that. And like the various initiatives described in several of the papers, Williamson's career continues to present itself as a work-in-progress.
1. "Classification at a Crossroads: Multiple Directions to Usability: International UDC Seminar 2009, The Hague, 29-20 October, 2009," http://www.udcc.org/seminar2009/index.htm (accessed Sept. 18, 2009).
2. Nancy J. Williamson, "Is there a Catalog in Your Future? Access to Information in the Year 2006." Library Resources & Technical Services, 26 (April June 1982): 122-135.
3. Nancy J. Williamson, "Is there a Catalog in Your Future? Access to Information in the Year 2006," in Library Lit: The Best of 1982 (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press l983), pp. 113-128.
4. Williamson served on the committee for Beghtol's dissertation, "Field Experiment to Test the Comparative Retrieval Effectiveness of Two Manual Subject Access Systems: A Conceptually Arranged Classified Catalogue and an Alphabetically Arranged Subject Heading Catalogue," (1993).
5. To add further context to Beghtol's comment, Williamson continues active membership in, though not restricted to, the American Library Association (since 1962), the American Society for Information Science & Technology (since 1972), the Canadian Library Association (since 1950), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (since 1982), and the International Society for Knowledge Organization (since 1989).
6. McIlwaine, past UDC Editor-in-Chief, was co-investigator with Williamson on a feasibility study (1993) for restructuring the Universal Decimal Classification. They continue their collaboration on revising UDC Class 61—Medicine.
7. Hudon's doctoral dissertation, "An Assessment of the Usefulness of Standardized Definitions in a Thesaurus Through Interindexer Terminological Consistency Measure- ments," (1998) was supervised by Williamson.
8. Nancy J. Williamson, "The Importance of Subject Analysis in Library and Information Science Education," Technical Services Quarterly 15, nos. 1/2 (1997): 67-87.
9. Turner's doctoral dissertation, "Determining the Subject Content of Still and Moving Image Documents for Storage and Retrieval: An Experimental Investigation," (1994) was supervised by Williamson.
10. Spiteri's doctoral dissertation, "Evaluation of the Structural Quality of Faceted Thesauri," (1996) was supervised by Williamson.
BY NANCY J. WILLIAMSON, PhD
Monographs, Edited Volumes, and Chapters in Books:
"Subject Access in the Online Environment." In Advances in Librarian-ship. New York: Academic Press, 1984. v.13, pp. 49-97
"The Universal Decimal Classification: Its Future." In The UDC: Essays for a New Decade. Edited by Alan Gilchrist and David Strachan. London: Aslib, 1990, pp. 29-32.
Williamson, Nancy J., and Hudon, Michèle, eds. Classification Research for Knowledge Representation and Organizations: Proceedings of the 5th International Study Conference on Classification Research. (FID 698). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1992.
"Subject Analysis Systems." In Guide to Technical Services Resources. Peggy Johnson, editor. Chicago: American Library Association, 1994, pp. 68-85.
The Library of Congress Classification: A Content Analysis of the Schedules in Preparation for Their Conversion into Machine-Readable Form. Nancy J. Williamson, Principal Investigator. With the Assistance of Suliang Feng and Tracy Tennant. Washington, D.C: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1995.
"Subject Analysis Systems." In New Directions in Technical Services: Trends & Sources (1993-1995). Peggy Johnson, editor. Chicago: American Library Association, 1997, pp. 86-118.
Williamson, Nancy J., and Beghtol, Clare, eds. Knowledge Organization and Classification in International Information Retrieval. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, c2003. (co-published simultaneously as Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 37 (1/2), (2003)).
"Professor Neelameghan's Contribution to the Advancement and Development of Classification in the Context of Knowledge Organization." In Knowledge Organization, Information Systems and Other Essays: Professor A. Neelameghan Festschrift. Edited by K.S. Raghavan and K.N. Prasad. New Delhi: Ess Publications for Ranganathan Centre for Information Studies, Chennai and Bangalore, 2006, pp. 17-28.
Papers in Refereed Journals:
"Education for Acquisitions Librarians: A State of the Art Review." Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory, 2 (1978): 199-203. (First presented at a meeting of the ALA/RTSD Education Committee in 1977)
"An Experiment in the Application of William Goffman's Indirect Method of Information Retrieval." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 1 (Fall 1980): 3-21. (First presented at a meeting of the Canadian Classification Research Group, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., May 5-7, 1978)
"Viewdata Systems: Designing a Database for Effective User Access." Canadian Journal of Information Science, 6 (1981): 1-14.
"Cataloging and Classification Section: Annual Report, 1980 81." Library Resources & Technical Services, 26 (January/March 1982): 62-65.
"Is there a Catalog in Your Future? Access to Information in the Year 2006." Library Resources & Technical Services, 26 (April-June 1982): 122-135. (Also published in Library Lit: The Best of 1982. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press l983, pp. 113-128)
"Subject Cataloguing in Canada." International Cataloguing, 11 (July 1982): 30-32.
"Classification in Online Systems: Research and the North American Perspectives." International Cataloguing, 14 (July/September 1985): 29-31.
"The Library of Congress Classification: Problems and Prospects in Online Retrieval," International Cataloguing, 15 (October December 1986): 45-48.
"Education for Positions in the Subject Control of Information." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 7 (Summer 1987): 57-67.
"Classification in Online Databases." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 10 (1987): 95-104.
"The Role of Classification in Online Systems." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 10 (1989): 95-104.
Cherry, Joan M., Williamson, Nancy J., Jones-Simmons, Carol R., and Gu, Xin. "OPACS in Twelve Canadian Academic Libraries: An Evaluation of Functional Capabilities and Interface Features," Information Technology and Libraries 13 (September 1994): 174-195.
"Standards and Rules for Subject Access." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 21(3/4) (1996): 155-176.
"The Importance of Subject Analysis in Library and Information Science Education." Technical Services Quarterly 15 (1997): 67-87.
"Classification in the Millennium." CD ROM and Online Review 21 (5) (1997): 298-301.
"Knowledge Structures and the Internet: Progress and Prospects." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 44 (3/4) (2007): 329-342.
Papers in Refereed Conference Proceedings
Richmond, P. A., and Williamson, N.J. "Three Dimensional Models in Classification." In Ordering Systems for Global Networks: Proceedings of the Third International Study Conference on Classification Research, Bombay, India, 6 11 January, 1975. Edited by A. Neelameghan. The Hague: FID/CR; Bangalore: Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science, 1979, pp. 188-203.
"Restructuring the UDC: Problems and Possibilities." In Classification Research for Knowledge Representation and Organization: Proceedings of the 5th International Study Conference on Classification Research, Toronto, Canada, 1991. Edited by Nancy J. Williamson and Michèle Hudon. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1992, pp. 381-388.
"Standards and Standardization in Subject Analysis Systems: Current Status and Future Directions." In Subject Indexing: Principles and Practices in the 90s: Proceedings of the IFLA Satellite Meeting Held in Lisbon, Portugal, 17-18 August 1993. Sponsored by the IFLA Section on Classification and Indexing and the Instituto da Biblioteca Nacional e do Livro, Lisbon, Portugal. Edited by Robert P. Holley, Dorothy McGarry, Donna Duncan, Elaine Svenonius. München: K.G. Saur, 1995, pp. 278-291.
"The Universal Decimal Classification: Research to Determine the Feasibility of Restructuring UDC into a Fully-Faceted System." In Proceedings of the 5th ASIS SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop, October 16, 1994. Held at the 57th ASIS Annual Meeting, October 16-20, 1994, Alexandria, Virginia. Editors: Raya Fidel, Clare Beghtol, Barbara H. Kwasnik, Philip Smith. Medford, NJ: Published by Information Today for the American Society for Information Science, c1996, pp. 187-198.
"Knowledge Structures and the Internet." In Knowledge Organization for Information Retrieval: Proceedings of the Sixth International Study Conference on Classification Research, held at University College London, 16-18 June 1997. The Hague: International Federation for Information and Documentation, 1997, pp. 23-27.
"The Development of a Notational System for a Restructured UDC." In Proceedings of the 6th ASIS SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop, October 8, 1995. Held at the 58th ASIS Annual Meeting, October 9-12, 1995, Chicago, Illinois. Editors: Raymond P. Schwartz, Clare Beghtol, Elin K Jacob, Barbara H. Kwasnik, Philip J. Smith. Medford, NJ: Information Today for the American Society for Information Science, c1998, pp. 227-235.
Papers in Other Conference Proceedings:
"The Present and Future Activities of the ALA/CLA/AECT/AMTEC/CAML Joint Advisory Committee on Nonbook Materials," In Non Print Media Problems: Proceedings of a Pre Conference Workshop. Sponsored by the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries, held at Winnipeg, June 22-23, 1974. Edited by Ann Woodsworth. CLA Occasional Paper, no. 83. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, l973, pp. 30-32.
"Methodology in Bibliography," In The Society of Canada Colloquium III, National Library of Canada, Ottawa, 19 21, October 1978. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1979, pp. 26-42.
"The Compilation of a Bibliography: Bibliographic Representation and Organization." In Bibliography for Canadian Studies—Present Trends and Organization: Proceedings of a Conference held at Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S. on June 1 & 2, 1981. Edited by Anne B. Piternick. Sponsored by the Association for Canadian Studies. Willowdale, Ontario: The Association, 1982.
Papers in other Books and Journals:
"Canadian Music and Composers Since 1949." Ontario Library Review 38 (May 1954): 118-22.
"ISBD: Problems and Prospects." Expression 1 (Spring 1976): 3-7; 38-40.
"Bilingualism and Canadian Libraries." Urban Academic Librarian 9 (Spring 1988): 17-24.
McIlwaine, I.C. and Williamson, N.J. "Future Revision of UDC: Progress Report on a Feasibility Study for Restructuring." In Extensions and Corrections to the UDC, 1993. The Hague: UDC Consortium, 1993, pp. 11-17.
McIlwaine, I.C. and Williamson, N.J. Annual progress reports on the revision of UDC Class 61. In Extensions and Corrections to the UDC. The Hague: UDC Consortium, 1994.
"Future Revision of the UDC: Second Progress Report on a Feasibility Study for Restructuring." In Extensions and Corrections to the UDC, 1994. The Hague: UDC Consortium, 1994, pp. 19-25.
McIlwaine, I.C. and Williamson, N.J. "Restructuring of Class 61 - Medical Sciences." In Extensions and Corrections to the UDC, 1995. The Hague: UDC Consortium, 1995, pp. 11-67.
McIlwaine, I.C. and Williamson, N.J. "Medicine and the UDC: the Process of Restructuring Class 61." Extensions and Corrections to the UDC, 2008. The Hague: UDC Consortium, 2008, pp. 9-16.