, Sandra Roe, News Editor
When does the Forename End and the Surname Begin? Saints' Names as Compound Forenames in Spanish
by Felicia A. Piscitelli
ABSTRACT: While cataloging colonial-era Spanish-language materials, the investigator encountered personal names in which the forename, given in honor of a saint, includes a phrase-like qualifier such as a place name or attribute. In these situations, catalogers occasionally mistake the qualifier as part of the surname. Cataloging rules provide guidance in establishing compound surnames but not so much with forenames. For this article, 28 such forenames were searched in the Library of Congress Name Authority File to identify problematic authorized access points. Familiarity with naming customs in Spanish-speaking societies and with saints' names is needed when creating or revising these access points.
KEYWORDS: Access points, authority control, headings, Hispanophone, names, qualifiers, saints, Spanish
Classifying the Imaginary: An Expansion of Library of Congress' Subclass G9930 for Local Use
by Sierra Laddusaw
ABSTRACT: Class G provides granular classification for most cartographic materials through a well-established and expanded Cuttering system, maps of imaginary places are classified under G9930 which has no formal expansion. With the creation of a collection of imaginary maps at the Texas A&M University Libraries, the lack of expansion under G9930 created access and filing complications. This case study describes the problem that growing a collection under the unexpanded classification system posed and the solution that was found through the creation of an in-house expansion for G9930.
KEYWORDS: Library of Congress Classification (LCC), library classification, Class G, cataloging of cartographic materials, map cataloging
The Cataloging of Self-Published Items
by Nurhak Tuncer & Reed David
ABSTRACT: This article presents the results of a 2015 survey of librarians who catalog self-published items. The survey was conducted in response to the growing popularity of self-publishing and the increasing prevalence of self-published items in libraries. Survey respondents were asked to describe how they are cataloging these items and to provide representative examples of the records they have created. An analysis of both the survey responses and the records is presented, followed by suggestions for best practices for cataloging these items.
KEYWORDS: Self-publishing, descriptive cataloging, surveys, cataloging research, cataloging best practices
The Intellectual Landscape of the Domain of Culture and Ethics in Knowledge Organization: An Analysis of Influential Authors and Works
by Shengang Wang
ABSTRACT: This article aims to examine the intellectual landscape of the domain of culture and ethics in knowledge organization (KO). A domain analysis was conducted on a corpus of 206 relevant papers using bibliometric methods such as author co-citation analysis. The findings revealed a core group of influential authors consisting of Olson, Beghtol, and other influential KO researchers. The most prominent research themes that constitute this scientific community have also been investigated by reviewing some fundamental concepts and influential works in the domain.
KEYWORDS: Knowledge organization, culture, ethics, domain analysis
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. Please send any pertinent materials, notes, minutes, or reports to: Sandra Roe via email at. Following their publication in CCQ, news columns will be freely available from the CCQ website at .
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Research and Opinion
Change the Subject
John C. DeSantis, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian,
Baker-Berry Library, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
During the American Library Association (ALA) Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in January 2016, the ALA Council passed the "Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading 'Illegal Aliens' with 'Undocumented Immigrants'". In response to ALA's action, the Library of Congress (LC) did indeed make the decision to delete the "Illegal aliens" subject heading from its controlled vocabulary. However, because of unprecedented media attention caused by members of the United States Congress who opposed this change, LC has not yet implemented its decision.
Jill Baron (Dartmouth College) has made a documentary film about this issue, and ALA Council's involvement figures prominently in the film. Change the Subject made its premiere at Dartmouth College on April 27, 2019 to a packed audience and was received enthusiastically.
This film will have a screening during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2019. More information, including the film's trailer and list of upcoming screenings, is available at.
International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) Low Countries Chapter inaugural meeting
The ISKO chapter for the Low Countries (covering Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands) has been formed to promote the theory and practice of organizing knowledge and information. ISKO-LC will host its first conference, "Morsels of Knowledge" in Brussels on June 20–21, 2019 in conjunction with the first meeting of the chapter (). The keynote speaker is Prof. Birger Hjorland from the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen. Presentations have been invited on all aspects of application of information and knowledge organization in the digital and web environment, with focus on practice and experience in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
2019 New England Technical Services Librarians (NETSL) Annual Spring Conference
"Back to Basics: Everyday Skills for Technical Services" was held April 5, 2019 at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA. Rhonda Evans, Electronic Resources Librarian at the New York Public Library lead off with her keynote, "I found things I imagined: The magic of technical services librarianship."
Slides for the keynote, presentations, and lightning talks are available at.
International Standard Music Number (ISMN) Agency Annual General Meeting, Sliema, Malta, September 26, 2018
Dr. Hartmut Walravens, Chairman, International ISMN Agency, Berlin, Germany
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the ISMN Agency 2018, which is in charge of ISO 10957, the International Standard Music Number, was hosted by the National Book Council of Malta which deserves our thanks for their kind invitation and excellent organization. The venue was the Palace Hotel at Sliema. As usual, the meeting immediately followed the ISBN AGM, thus making it possible for attendees to participate in both events. Most ISMN agencies are run in conjunction with ISBN agencies, often by the same staff. The afternoon before the ISMN meeting offered a visit to Valetta, Malta's capital, as an excursion, for both ISBN and ISMN colleagues. In the evening the traditional ISMN dinner took place at a Maltese specialty restaurant in St. Julian, overlooking the bay.
As of this spring, two new ISMN member countries from Africa Botswana and Moroccohave joined. We now number 60 agencies, with the system being applied in more than 60 countries.
The election of the Board was on the agenda again this year. So far librarians have been in charge of ISMN; they proposed the standard and were in charge of its administration for its first 25 years. During this period a firm foundation was laid for the standard. The present phase, however, needs to be more focused on the application and use of the ISMN in the supply chain. The ISMN was created mainly as an important rationalization tool for the publishers and the music trade, and therefore it would be desirable to select a representative from the music publishing industry as chairman of the board who could be in a better position to motivate and convince his/her publisher colleagues as to the benefits of the ISMN in many business operations.
The deputy chairman of the ISMN board, Dr. Joachim Jaenecke, resigned after 12 years of service. The AGM elected Wolfram Krajewski as his successor. While Dr. Jaenecke is a musicologist, Mr. Krajewski has a degree in economics. He and his brother are the developers and promoters of IDNV, a well-designed database which might be dubbed an international Music in Print. Currently, this tool boasts more than 600,000 titles and is growing. Besides being very familiar with the Central European music publishing sector, Mr. Krajewski is also a practicing musician, an additional asset for his new responsibility.
No candidate stepped up for the position of chairman of the ISMN board; the present chairman has already indicated his intention to resign and in the interest of a smooth continuation of ISMN development it would be desirable to pass the responsibility to a younger professional. The current chairman has been in charge of ISMN from its beginning, i.e., more than 25 years, and he has been "retired" now for ten yearstime for a change! Hopefully a suitable candidate for this position can be found soon.
The treasurer, Dr. Bettina von Seyfried, has been with ISMN since 2006 and will stay on.
The latest issue of the ISMN Newsletter provided information on the 2017 AGM. It was published as a PDF on the International Agency website.
Among the current work items are a further enhancement of the Agency's website, especially the news section, and a strategy for the extension of the ISMN application.
In January 2018 we were extremely glad to distribute the administration software, ISMN Manager, to the first nine agencies. Carolin Unger gave a report (see the latest ISMN Newsletter on the ISMN website) of her experiences with the program which was developed by Wolfram Krajewski and is being offered free of charge to ISMN agencies. This tool has a number of benefits of which two may be mentioned here: it avoids wrong or duplicate number assignments and it allows direct data transfer to the International Agency which maintains a directory of international music publishers on its website.
Last year the Board decided to improve the structure of the ISMN website and commissioned a software specialist to do this. The principle design is not much changed but the inner structure, the content management, and the connection between website as such and the publisher database should be easier to manage. This project also provides more data security.
Since the last AGM we attended the Frankfurt Music Fair, the ISO TC 46/SC 9 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, and the IAML Congress in Leipzig, Germany.
MOUG Announces 2019 Distinguished Service Award (1940–2018)
Written by most recent Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) Past Chair, Casey Mullin, on behalf of the MOUG Membership and Executive Board.
The Executive Board of the Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) is honored to name Gary Strawn (Northwestern University Libraries) as the sixteenth recipient of MOUG's Distinguished Service Award. This award was established to recognize and honor those who have made significant professional contributions to users of OCLC. The MOUG Executive Board selects recipients based on nominations received from the membership. The Board thanks Casey Mullin and Morris Levy for liberally contributing to this award letter.
Gary is well known in the broader cataloging community for his tireless efforts to develop tools that streamline the creation, enhancement, and manipulation of library metadata in the OCLC environment. An early instance of this is CLAAR, a program that ran alongside the NOTIS library management system and greatly assisted with authority control.
More recently, Gary was appointed Chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Acceptable Headings Implementation Task Group in 2012. In that role, he developed specifications for the phased conversion of the LC-NACO Authority File to RDA compliance. As a result, over 800,000 authority records were algorithmically updated and enhanced, including many thousands of music name-title records.
Subsequent to his work for the PCC task group, Gary developed the Authority Toolkit. The Authority Toolkit facilitates the creation and enhancement of robust authority records of all kinds, increases discoverability of authority data by an order of magnitude, and drastically reduces the potential for human error. Gary's most recent accomplishment is the Music Toolkit. The Music Toolkit employs an algorithm, developed in collaboration with the Music Library Association's Vocabularies Subcommittee, that generates faceted terms based on Library of Congress Subject Headings and coded data in MARC bibliographic records.
Those who know and have worked with Gary are quick to acknowledge his intelligence, strong work ethic, good humor, and generosity. D. J. Hoek, Associate University Librarian for Research & Engagement at Northwestern University Libraries, writes, "When I started working at Northwestern, I found Gary to be every bit as clever and helpful as CLAAR was, plus he was funny and knew a lot about music. In the years since, I've seen Gary again and again apply his smarts and energy to solving problems, operating in a perpetual state of productivity that, in turn, has made librariesand those of us who work in librariesmore productive. While Gary's record of innovation and creativity is remarkable in itself, even more impressive is how freely he has shared his inventions and expertise." Tomoko Shibuya, Music Metadata Librarian at Northwestern University Libraries, notes that Gary "is open minded, passionate about his toolkits, and welcomes questions about his software and suggestions to improve them."
Gary has been a friend to technical services librarians for decades, and his collaborations with the music cataloging community are commendable. Although Gary is not a music specialist, his interest in music, indefatigable service ethic, and keen programmer's mind have inspired him to actions that have transformed the environment in which music catalogers now thrive. His efforts have saved the music cataloging community countless hours of effort. We are grateful to Gary for his time, ideas, and collaborative spirit.
2019 Music Library Association Citation
Written on behalf of the membership of the Music Library Association to recognize Jay Weitz
The Music Library Association Citation for 2019 was awarded to Jay Weitz.
The citation is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to music librarianship over a career. Citation recipients become Honorary Members of the Music Library Association.
Throughout his long career, Jay Weitz has made extensive contributions to the music library profession and to the aims of the Music Library Association in ensuring and enhancing intellectual access to music. His breadth of knowledge regarding cataloging practices past and present, OCLC and beyond, is unparalleled. His responses to cataloging-related questions on both MLA-L and MOUG-L consistently display a depth, thoroughness, and generosity of spirit that make the person asking (and everyone reading) feel more informed, His work on OCLC’s Duplicate Detection and Resolution (DDR) program has been even wider-reaching. While his expertise, understated wit, and generosity may be best known in the cataloging world, every researcher, musician, or librarian who has successfully searched for and identified music or media materials in WorldCat has benefited from his incalculable contributions to cataloging and quality control. Recognizing his tireless, persistent, and effective advocacy for users' needs in all aspects of cataloging, the Music Library Association is pleased to confer upon Jay Weitz the MLA Citation.
A Tribute to Nancy B. Olson (April 10, 1936 – December 24, 2018)
Julie Renee Moore, Special Collections Catalog Librarian, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno
Nancy B. Olson began her cataloging career at Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University, Mankato) in 1970, where she worked for 29 years. Her position provided her with many interesting special format cataloging examples. Early in her career, she gravitated to the special formats, focusing on standardizing the way in which catalogers describe these special formats. One can appreciate the fascinating evolution of cataloging of special formats through a brief review of her bibliography. Her five editions of Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials have been a steadfast go-to guide for special formats catalogers for nearly four decades.
Michael Gorman, editor of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed., notes the impact of Nancy's contributions to cataloging: "Early cataloguing codes were based on the cataloguing of books. Title pages were the prime source of descriptive cataloguing data and the "normal" holdings of a library consisted of books. Other printed materials (maps, music, etc.) were fitted into that template, often with awkward results. In the mid-20th century, cataloging codes caught up with the reality of library holdings and began tentatively to deal with what were, tellingly, called "non-books" (a rubric that encompassed visual, sound, and audio-visual materials, realia, etc.). However, the Procrustean bed of book-based descriptive rules meant that rules for "non-books" produced often unhelpful records. We have come a long way since thenthe term "non-books" and the attitudes it enshrined are long gone. Those "other" materials are treated on their own terms and with the deserved respect for their value. Nancy Olson deserves a lot of the credit for that important change. Cataloging codes became more inclusive, but without the practice and teaching of those more inclusive results that were, in many ways, led by Nancy Olson and certainly exemplified by her, we would not have reached the equality of treatment for all materials that contain recorded knowledge and information that we now enjoy."
Nancy taught special formats cataloging workshops at local, state, and national conferences, spreading the seeds of standardized special formats cataloging throughout the country. She founded On-Line Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. (OLAC) in 1980. For all these years, special formats catalogers have had the pleasure of meeting, learning from one another, and making friendships. OLAC CAPC (Cataloging Policy Committee) produces excellent best practices guides for how to catalog many of these formats. Due to her vision and efforts, special formats catalogers have OLAC to help guide them through the new cataloging challenges for special formats. We have Nancy to thank for gathering a great group of experts who share the love for cataloging special formats.
Jay Weitz, Senior Consulting Database Specialist, OCLC, recalls Nancy's contributions to audiovisual cataloging: "Nancy Olson was one of the first OCLC Visiting Scholars, back in the early 1980s, while she was working on the Audiovisual Glossary that OCLC would later publish. As I recall it, Nancy began her OCLC residence not long after I started working there in June 1982. Among non-book catalogers, she was already something of a legend with her training workshops and the manuals that had grown out of them. It was during her residency when I first got to know her in person, but I had encountered her work a few years earlier, while I was still the non-book cataloger at Capital University in the Columbus suburb of Bexley, Ohio. One day in early 1980, a small yellow pamphlet arrived at my desk: Volume 1, Number 1 of the OLAC Newsletter. Nancy was the editor of the newsletter, just as she was the founder, first president, and driving force behind the new On-Line Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. When the Music Library Association held its 1988 annual conference in Nancy's neighborhood, Minneapolis, she, Edward Swanson, Richard Smiraglia, and I had a conversation among the exhibits that eventually led to my first book, Music Coding and Tagging. Nancy was one of those extraordinary teachers, mentors, and friends who drew the best out of you and enabled your achievement. Given the direction in which libraries, library resources, and cataloging have gone in the decades since then, Nancy’s vision, determination, and persistence seem all the more astonishing. It’s almost as though she saw the evolution of media and communication stretching out before her and then led the rest of us catalogers into that future."
Like so many catalogers, I feel very fortunate to have known Nancy as an author, a workshop instructor, a mentor, and a friend. For decades, she taught us to catalog these special formats in a practical manner. As we develop new best practices and cataloging manuals, we continue to keep her practical approach to cataloging in mind.
Nancy's impressive career was acknowledged with well-deserved praise and numerous awards. In 1980, she received the Esther J. Piercy Award (American Library Association, Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS)) for outstanding contributions to librarianship in the field of technical services. In 1986, she received the OLAC Founder Award for her contributions to audiovisual cataloging and for founding OLAC, the award that now carries her name as the Nancy B. Olson Award. In 1999, she received the Margaret Mann Citation from the ALA ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section (CSS) for her role in "guiding the evolution and promoting the adoption of standardized cataloging" for audiovisual materials. These are the most prestigious awards in the cataloging profession.
Nancy has had a profound impact on many of us, special formats catalogers. Anyone who catalogs special formats materials will be touched by Nancy's work, since she shaped many of our current practices and standards. We are grateful for her work, her contributions to cataloging, and the impact that she made on our profession.
Nancy B. Olson Bibliography
Compiled by Luiz H. Mendes
Cataloging Handbooks & Manuals
Nancy B. Olson, Robert L. Bothmann, and Jessica J. Schomberg, Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials and Other Special Materials: A Manual Based on AACR2 and MARC 21, 5th ed. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2008).
Nancy B. Olson, Sheila S. Intner, and Edward Swanson, Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials and Other Special Materials: A Manual Based on AACR 2, 4th ed. (DeKalb, IL: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1998).
Nancy B. Olson, ed., Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide, 2nd ed. (Dublin, OH: OCLC, 1997).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials, 1996 Update (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1996).
Nancy B. Olson, ed., Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide. (Dublin, OH: OCLC, 1995).
Nancy B. Olson, A Cataloger's Guide to MARC Coding and Tagging for Audiovisual Material (DeKalb, IL: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1993).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, Cataloging Computer Files (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1992).
Nancy B. Olson, Edward Swanson, and Sheila S. Intner. Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials: A Manual Based on AACR 2, 3rd ed. (Mankato, MN: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1992).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, Cataloging Motion Pictures and Videorecordings, 1st ed. (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1991).
Nancy B. Olson, Audiovisual Material Glossary. (Dublin, OH: OCLC Ohio Computer Library Center, 1988).
Nancy B. Olson, A Manual of AACR 2 Examples for Microcomputer Software with MARC Tagging and Coding, 3rd ed. (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1988).
Nancy B. Olson, Cataloging Microcomputer Software: A Manual to Accompany AACR 2, Chapter 9, Computer Files (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1988).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, eds., The Complete Cataloging Reference Set: Collected Manuals of the Minnesota AACR 2 Trainers (DeKalb, IL: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1988).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, A Manual of AACR 2 Examples for Microcomputer Software, 2nd ed. (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1986).
Nancy B. Olson, Edward Swanson, and Sheila S. Intner. Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials: A Manual Based on AACR 2, 2nd ed. (Mankato, MN: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1985).
Nancy B. Olson, Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials: A Manual Based on AACR 2, Supplement; Coding and Tagging for OCLC (Mankato, MN: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1985).
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, A Manual of AACR 2 Examples for Microcomputer Software and Video Games (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek, 1983).
Jean Aichele and Nancy B. Olson, A Manual of AACR 2 Examples for Motion Pictures and Videorecordings (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1981).
Wesley Simonton, Nancy B. Olson, and Phillip Mannie, A Manual of AACR 2 Examples for Music and Sound Recordings of Music (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1981).
Nancy B. Olson, Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials: A Manual Based on AACR 2 (Mankato, MN: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1981).
Nancy B. Olson, "Cataloging Kits," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 31, no. 3–4 (2001): 151–157.
Nancy B. Olson, "Cataloging Remote Electronic Resources," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2001): 101–137.
Nancy B. Olson, "Cataloging Three-Dimensional Artefacts and Realia," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 31, no. 3–4 (2001): 139–150.
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, "The Year's Work in Nonbook Processing, 1988," Library Resources & Technical Services 33, no. 4 (Oct. 1989): 335–343.
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, "The Year's Work in Nonbook Processing, 1987," Library Resources & Technical Services 32, no. 4 (Oct. 1988): 391–398.
Nancy B. Olson, "Cataloging Microcomputer Software," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 7, no. 1 (1986): 3–17.
Nancy B. Olson and Edward Swanson, "The Year's Work in Nonbook Processing, 1986," Library Resources & Technical Services 31, no. 4 (Oct. 1987): 356–363.
Nancy B. Olson and Mary K. D. Pietris, User's Guide to the Library of Congress Shelflist Reference System (Arlington, VA: United States Historical Documents Institute, 1980).
Nancy B. Olson, Index to the Library of Congress Cataloging Service Bulletin: Numbers 1–125, June 1945–Spring 1978. (Lake Crystal, MN: Olson, 1979).
Nancy B. Olson, ed., Library of Congress Classification Number Index to the MARC Data Base, 1968–1978 (Arlington, VA: Carrollton Press, 1978).
Nancy B. Olson, Index to the Library of Congress Cataloging Service Bulletin: Numbers 1–120, June 1945–Winter 1977 (Lake Crystal, MN: Olson, 1977).
Nancy B. Olson and Daniel W. Lester, A Management Information System for Serials and Continuations (Mankato, MN: Mankato State College, 1974).
Nancy B. Olson, The Combined Indexes to the Library of Congress Classification Schedules, 1974. (Washington: U.S. Historical Documents Institute, 1974).
Roger Brisson, 1956–2018
John Hostage, Senior Continuing Resources Cataloger, Harvard Law School Library Cambridge, MA
Roger Brisson, a multifaceted librarian, died of a heart attack that he suffered at his home in Rockport, Massachusetts, on February 18, 2018. At the time he was Head of Metadata and Discovery at the University of Connecticut. He had an illustrious career in academic libraries as well as a stint as a public library director and some time working for a vendor. He was known as an enthusiastic colleague who loved to talk about ideas and was always interested in new technologies to improve technical services in libraries.
Roger was born on July 10, 1956, in Windsor, Ontario. When he was ten his family moved to Long Beach, California. He graduated from Pomona College and then got an M.A. in history from UCLA. While in college he spent a year in Athens, and while in graduate school he went to Göttingen, Germany, for three years to conduct research toward a Ph.D. in Western European intellectual history and the history of humanism and education. It was there that he met his wife Ulrike. During that time, he also completed training to be a teacher in Waldorf schools.
After completing his MLS at UCLA in 1990, Roger participated in a two-year post-MLS residency program at the University of Michigan. He went on to work in cataloging and collection development at Pennsylvania State University from 1992 to 2001, interrupted by a year as an ALA Library Fellow in Leipzig, Germany, and a year as coordinator of the German Resources Project for the Association of Research Libraries.
The next stop in Roger's career was in the Harvard College Library (2001–2006), where he was head of the Germanic Division of HCL Technical Services and later acting librarian for Germanic collections. He was actively involved in Harvard's implementation of the Aleph system in 2002. During that time, he was also working closely with Harrassowitz, the library's vendor for German publications. He wanted to improve the quality of catalog records that the company provided with its books, and even went to Wiesbaden to train the staff, in German, in American cataloging practices.
Roger was also one of the leaders of the team that translated the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules into German in 2002. This project of international collaboration was a major step along the way that led to the adoption of Resource Description and Access (RDA) by the German-speaking cataloging community.
In 2006 Roger became director of the public library in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with the goal of leading a major capital campaign and developing a model 21st-century "information commons" in the library. Unfortunately, a tax override was defeated at the polls and Roger left soon after.
He returned to academic libraries as head of Metadata Services and a member of the Digital Initiatives and Open Access Group at Boston University (2010–2013), where he led the library's early adoption of the Alma system and the Primo discovery and service platform.
He was recruited by Ex Libris as strategy director for Europe to help lead the company's introduction of next-generation platforms in European libraries, which he did for two years.
Throughout his career, Roger pursued many outside interests, including his dissertation on Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and the origins of anthropology. Roger served on the editorial board of this journal, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly; was its first Network Access and Applications Editor; and was instrumental in creating its website, said to be the first website launched by any library and information science journal.1,2
In what turned out to be his final position, Roger was head of metadata and discovery at the University of Connecticut. His colleagues at UConn remember him as someone full of ideas and always enthusiastic to take up new challenges. But he also liked to talk about many other topics, whether it was the future of libraries or cars or travel or philosophy. He lived his last years in the home he had built for himself and his wife in Rockport, Massachusetts. He is mourned and missed by his family and colleagues.
"I would say Roger was outstanding in the way he strove for universal knowledge. His home library comprised about 3000 books and his scope of knowledge was immense. He could talk about cars with the same enthusiasm and expertise as he could talk about Kant and Hegel. He was working on a book about Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and the origins of anthropology. He was also an excellent cook and built our lovely home in Rockport by himself. He is deeply missed by his wife, his siblings in California, his in-laws in Germany, and his friends and colleagues." Ulrike Brisson.
"It came as a shock to all of us at Harrassowitz when we learnt of the passing of Roger Brisson. It was the most unexpected and improbable piece of news for any of us. Nobody could possibly imagine or anticipate such an unlikely and sad turn of events. It was less than a couple of years ago that Regina Lichti and I met him in Rockport, where Roger was his usual lively and rigorous self, dedicated to his work and research, loving his professional activities and the people he had gathered around himself: the many librarians and Germanists, the many publishers and booksellers whom he had befriended throughout the years and whose company he enjoyed.
In the many meetings during his visits in Wiesbaden or ours in New England, there never was a hint that his life could possibly be in jeopardy. Death as such was not excluded as a topic from our discussions, but never was the subject related to himafter all, there were others in our group who were his seniors and had more reasons for concern for themselves than relating the subject to him.
We will keep our wonderful memories of Roger, his engaging personality, his professional capacities as a collection development librarian, bibliographer, and cataloger. We were always grateful for his input of ideas into our mutual concerns and want to thank him again for the assistance that he has given us on so many occasions. His wide range of experience in technological advancements was always a welcome challenge. We all profited from his practical approach to the world of library business and admired his hands-on ways of organizing his life and that of his family.
We have known him as someone who loved his profession and life in general, so the news that he will no longer be among us hit us hard. We miss him and can only say that we lost an eminent colleague and a dear friend." Knut Dorn, retired managing partner, Harrassowitz.
"Losing Roger to a heart attack was a real shocker; he was always so active and health-conscious (backpacking, biking, kayaking, etc.). Roger was always influential to me in many ways, from love of classic rock, history, philosophy, musical instruments, tech, tools, etc. Roger, Ron, and I would exchange interesting web links several times each month on a plethora of topics, and Roger was always speedy with an in-depth reply. Roger was "Mac", I was "PC", so we had fun poking fun at each other.
Shortly after his passing, Ron and I carried half of Roger's ashes back to Long Beach to sprinkle into the Pacific, and Ulrike later sprinkled the other half into the Atlantic." Chris Brisson (brother).
"I met Roger a couple of timeshe spearheaded the project of translating AACR2 into German (along with Monika Münnich, who sadly has also passed away, back in 2008), and I got heavily involved in that work, back around 2000. This was an important milestone in facilitating better communication between the cataloging communities in Germany and the United States, and we can all be grateful to Roger for the role he played in getting it off the ground. I believe his efforts in that direction took shape at the IFLA Conference in Boston in 2001.
I especially remember spending some time with him at ALA Midwinter in San Diego in 2004. I never got to know him well, but I remember being impressed by the force of his personality, and by his many talents and interests. As I remember, his actual background was in anthropology, but I think he also spent time studying at German universities, where he became interested in German libraries. He was something of a Renaissance man, I believe, with wide-ranging interests outside his intellectual pursuitsas I recall, he was an avid outdoorsman as well." Charles Croissant.
"In the afternoon, Roger would get a cookie from his stash and make an expresso with his Nexpresso machine. He used the Nexpresso machine because he could recycle the coffee pods. He was always generous with his machine, offering coffee to everyone. The cookies, howeverthis was his private stash.
He was always the first to jump on projects. One of his favorite phrases was "We can do this." No matter what the "this" was, Roger was always confident he and his team could get it done. Generally, we would always be like "OMG can we do 'this'?" That was one of his great qualities. Roger was always up to trying innovative solutions and continually learning how to solve problems.
Then one last anecdote, he was truly a learned scholar. He enjoyed philosophical discussions on all topics and was open to considering many hypotheses and tangents. Being well read, he often included quotes or references that always made those around him think out of the box and more creatively about the topic discussed.
I didn't know Roger that long, a little less than a year. In that time, he was truly a role model and an inspiration. I was truly saddened by his passing. I was also grateful to have had known him and his leadership during that time." Jennifer Eustis.
"Almost inevitably, when Roger and I began discussing something library-related, we would rapidly reach a decision as to what needed to be done and how to do it, then spend the time reminiscing about European travels and places, occasionally to the consternation of others. There was one afternoon in which we our meeting devolved into discussing our favorite European airports, and why they were our favorites, and after hearing about Schiphols, Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin, and the layouts of those airports, and the restaurants available in the terminals, and the mass transit that reached those terminals, and the Chair of the committee just begged us to stop. I do miss talking with Roger." Richard Bleiler.
"Roger was a valuable (and fun!) colleague because he was always thinking at both the micro and macro levels, regardless of the topic; he pushed everyone to see the present complexity, yet he was good at making that complexity comprehensible. He also cared deeply about the library and wanted it to be the best library it could be. He was one of only a handful of people in my career with whom I feel privileged to have worked. The souvenir of Roger that I kept was his copy of the German version of AACR2 that he led the writing of, because he was so damn proud of itand I don't read a lick of German. (And he loved dogshe and I could spend hours talking about dogs!)" Janice Christopher.
"What immediately comes to mind is our shared love of hiking. We compared hikes done in Colorado and he recounted that once he was almost hit by lightning. Another recollection is that you could literally have a meaningful two-way conversation about anything with him." Elinor Penn.
"Roger was extraordinarily full of life. He was a librarian, polymath, intellectual, outdoorsman, musician, polyglot, builder, cyclist, storyteller, and world traveler. He built his own home, spearheaded innovation in libraries and systems, and, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, 'suck[ed] out all the marrow of life.' He was also a kind and generous human being, always ready to share an amusing anecdote along with a draught of his elegant Italian coffee. Roger was the best of us." Michael Rodriguez
"I worked with Roger over a number of years, first at Harvard and then on several Ex Libris and Boston Library Consortium projects. At the time of his untimely passing, we were founding co-chairs of the BLC Alma/Primo Collaboration Working Group. When I picture him in my mind, I see his wide smile and great excitement and passion which he brought to all facets of his work and his life. In fact, his initial excitement after learning about Alma in its fledgling, conceptual phase, was a major influence on Northeastern joining Boston University as an early adopter of the product. I admired Roger for his intellectual understanding and creativity in the field of metadata and his willingness to take risks. And I always enjoyed hearing the stories of building his very own home! I still miss his exuberance, energy, and the great brainstorming sessions we shared." Amira Aaron.
"His expertise in cataloging and metadata were why we hired Roger at Boston University, but his broad-ranging interests were why we enjoyed him so much. He was as comfortable with tools in hand to build a house or fabricate a scanning station as he was with a 'left-handed' guitar. Bikes were his favorite mode of transportation, but not just for commuting. He once flew to a conference in Salt Lake City a day early to purchase a mountain bike and spend a day riding in the mountains before the conference began. And he was thrilled at the opportunity to introduce new technologies to any who were interested. He was a splendid photographer and jumped at the chance to travel to Senegal to train Senegalese archivists to construct and use a simple photographic digitizing station to digitize Ajami language manuscripts held by local families. And of course, he was ever focused on the importance of good structured metadata for the future of discovery and access to information." Jack Ammerman
"The thing that I would like to say first about Roger Brisson is that he is probably the closest I've ever come to working with a genius. I remember the first time I met Roger. He was a candidate for the Head of Metadata & Discovery position at the UConn Library and he was having his pre-interview dinner with me, Martha Bedard, and Holly Jeffcoat. During the course of the evening, Roger regaled us in that way that only Roger could about a wide range of topics: from the details of library system configurations to the fundamental roles of libraries in the twenty-first century and from his achievements as a humanities scholar to his adventures as an Airbnb lodger. Driving home that evening, I noticed a peculiar-looking car zoom past me on the Massachusetts Turnpike with a license plate that said KANT. I peeked over to see what kind of person uses their license plate to pay homage to an eighteenth-century German philosopher and, of course, it was none other than Roger.
Since that time, I realized that I had never met someone quite like Roger and, over the course of the 13 months that I worked with him, I had the opportunity to learn what an extraordinary person he was. As our new Library Dean Anne Langley recently commented, Roger was a true Renaissance man and, as such, I can think of so many ways of describing him. A few that have come to mind: colleague, intellectual, humanities scholar, bibliophile, musician, electric motorcycle enthusiast, technology guru, Alma/Primo evangelizer, metadata wizard, advocate, architect and builder, and visionary. And, finally, like I said, Roger was a genius. I say this because Roger was someone who could see further and deeper into his work. In my many long conversations with him about the work that we and others were doing in the Library, Roger brought a rare and unique intellectual rigor and also the technical know-how to get from vision to reality.
Beyond that, Roger was always one or many steps aheadthinking about the work of libraries, metadata, inventory, and discovery in a way that was bolder, more ambitious, and more expansive in its scope. Much like one of his heroes, Steve Jobs, Roger saw further, looked harder, thought bigger. He had a fully formed philosophical grounding for his positions and over the course of our many conversationssome of the richest and most rewarding of my careerhe would take me to deeper and deeper ways of contemplating the functions of libraries today and in the future.
I feel confident that Roger's views about libraries ultimately must have mapped into his engagement with Hegelian philosophyRoger was far too meticulous a thinker not to have made these kinds of connections. And while I never reached the full Hegelian grandeur of Roger's vision for metadata and libraries, I did get enough of it that, thanks to Roger, I will never think about my work as a librarian in the same way. And, even as his bold and ambitious ideas would sometimes lead to what Roger was fond of calling a "healthy tension" with me and his colleagues, we always knew that the place that these ideas came from was ultimately one that was grounded in a carefully thought-out vision of how libraries should support their communities.
Through his energy, warmth, and spirit of collaboration, Roger did an extraordinary job galvanizing the exceptional talents of his colleagues and bringing the work of the Library forward in ways that have been truly remarkable. In dozens of projects that I could rattle off for you, Roger has done so much for UConn Library. He elevated all of us in our workinspiring us to think deeper, work harder, and enable the Library to realize new horizons of possibility.
I also want to emphasize what a kind, generous, compassionate, and thoughtful person Roger was. Roger spoke often and lovingly of his wife Ulrike, of the home that he built and shared with her, and about their rich life together. Roger also cared deeply about the people that he worked with, about the community that we serve, and about the broader social issues that shape our world.
Roger was the engineer behind a project called the Diversity Bookshelf, which was the Library's very successful contribution to the university's day of reflection and conversation on November 8, 2017 on the topic of working together to confront racism. Roger collaborated with a group of colleagues to curate, display, and promote a collection of library books on this topic. Our university president Susan Herbst has announced that the university will be holding another one of these days of reflection and conversation on the topic of the environment. In the days prior to his death, Roger was collaborating to submit a proposal called the Environmentalist Bookshelf as the Library's contribution to this university-wide event. I'm pleased to announce today that the Library will be funding this project and will dedicate the project in Roger's memory. I want to thank Roger's co-worker Jennifer Eustis for suggesting this idea.
To conclude, I just want to say that I really miss Roger, and I am grateful for the time that I spent with him. My understanding is that on the morning after his death, Roger's plan was to visit the German Consulate in Boston so that he could have his German motorcycle license translated and notarized so that he could begin riding a new electric motorcycle that he was purchasing. While Roger never got to realize that aspiration, his plan reminds me that, while his life was too short, he was someone who lived life to its fullest, thriving as he had the experiences and did the kinds of work that he was most passionate about. We all have much to learn from Roger." Patrick Carr: remarks at a memorial gathering at University of Connecticut Library.
1 Ruth C. Carter, "Editorial," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 21, no. 2 (1996): 1–2,
2 Roger Brisson and Ruth C. Carter, "Cataloging & Classification Quarterly: A Web Site for a Professional Journal in Librarianship," The Serials Librarian 35, no. 3 (1998): 97,