State Library Catalogs Relevant Wikipedia Articles…07.02.09

2 07 2009


Catalog 2.0: Your Library Catalog in a Global Environment is an interesting postfrom the Kansas State Library blog:

“…We have cataloged about 1,000 Wikipedia articles analytically at the State Library providing links via the Kansas Library Catalog, WorldCat/OCLC and the State Library’s consortium OPAC, ATLAS. Most all of the Wikipedia articles we’ve cataloged are concerned with Kansas, Kansans or current topics with few resources initially available via standard library resources. We had one of the first records in WorldCat/OCLC linking to information on then-Supreme-Court-nominee, John G. Roberts, as well as an early record on Hurricane Katrina. We followed these entries with other cataloging records accessing more substantive resources, but yes, the initial records were for Wikipedia articles.

Within each Wikipedia cataloging record we’ve included a warning statement in a note stating, ‘Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that is being written collaboratively by the readers of the web site. The site is a WikiWiki, meaning that anyone can edit any article right now by clicking on the edit this page link that appears in every article in Wikipedia. All of the articles are covered by the GNU Free Documentation License, toensure that they can remain freely available forever.’…”

Lone Wolf Librarian Cataloging Project Status Report…07.02.09

2 07 2009


This post is mainly for posterity to help record the progress I have made on the cataloging front.. The content below was taken from the homepage of our special library’s Atriuum OPAC and explains to our staff/patrons the status, condition, and use of our library resources. 


Any staff member with permission can access this online catalog via a web browser from any location in the world with a computer and an internet connection.

Using the catalog “search” feature at the top of this page, you can perform a “simple” SEARCH for any of the library resources for which bibliographic records have been entered into the Atriuum database software. The pull-down menus to the right of the search box above, can also be used to LIMIT a search by 1) author, title, subject heading, call number, ISBN or series title or 2) by one of 41 material format types [complete list available upon request], i.e., HB (hardback book), PB (paperback book), BKL (booklet), CAS (audio cassette), VHS (VHS video cassette), DVD (digital video disk), 3/4″ V (3/4″ video), MAS (master), etc.

The “combo” and “expert” links can also be used for more complex searches. The combo search option is a simple form of the expert search. You are given search fields for Title, Author, and Subject. Search terms can be entered in any or all of these fields. Expert search allows you to enter search criteria for up to three different types of data and ALSO to limit the search by joining that data to “BOOLEAN” search operators (search limiting words “and”, “or”, & “and not”—SEE A “BOOLEAN” SEARCH:

Note that the “my items” link on the left is currently not operational. Using the “my items” link, “patrons” will be able to log in to view their checked out items, reserve shelf, and items reserved.

Using the “bibliography” link on the left, patrons can save favorite or interesting item records for future reference.

The actual process of descriptive and subject CATALOGING of the library materials (using Dewey decimal classification and Library of Congress subject headings) at the main library and the main library off-Site location began August 25, 2006. In April 2007, cataloging began at 2 of the 4 out of state, long-term, storage facility units.

As more bibliographic records are entered into the system, the online catalog will become an increasingly valuable and useful tool for searching for and accessing the library and archive resources. As of July 2, 2009, library holding records for 17,069 physical items have been entered into the catalog database. Cataloging continues and our collections grow daily.

Contact the librarian if you are looking for ELECTRONIC files, such as MS Word or PDF documents of  program, meeting, conference or product TRANSCRIPTS, which are organized in sub-folders in the “TRANSCRIPTS” folder (6,027 files to date) on the department server and CANNOT be searched using this catalog.

There are various relevant links in the left column, including many to the online catalogs of relevant college/university libraries as well as the online catalogs of a few archival centers which may augment your research activities.

Library Classification – The Free Decimal Correspondence…06.10.09

10 06 2009


In case you are like me and haven’t heard about it, here is information about the relatively new Free Decimal Correspondence classification from the Everybody’s Libraries blog from John Mark Okerboom, “digital library architect and planner at the University of Pennsylvania”:

“…The Free Decimal Correspondence, or FDC for short, is a set of decimal numbers ranging from 000 to 999[.9999...], each associated with a particular subject, discipline, or group of subjects and disciplines.  It’s intended to be  reasonably compatible with existing and commonly used library decimal classifications and subject headings, but also as freely usable and adaptable as possible.

You can view or download it from this page

Among other things, the FDC is considerably briefer than the DDC, with less detail and almost no editorial apparatus. It doesn’t include many of the subjects that DDC does.  It associates different terminology in many cases with the numbers than the DDC, and is not guaranteed to be compatible with present-day DDC.  (In particular, we have not consulted the DDC itself when preparing the FDC, except to identify unassigned numbers to skip over in the FDC.) We have made some attempt to be compatible with DDC, however…

I released the first version (0.01) on Public Domain Day, January 1, 2009, and have made some other releases since, the latest (0.05) on on May 16, 2009. As noted above, this version gives complete coverage down to the unit level.  There’s still some room for augmentation, though; for example, to include specific subjects that might be common in present-day libraries and institutional repositories but that aren’t defined at the unit level.

I don’t plan to provide long-term maintenance or support for FDC, however.  But since it’s public domain, anyone else is welcome to further revise, adapt, and support it…”

OCLC Concedes to Library Community–Ends Potential Records Reign of Terror…05.20.09

20 05 2009


The Panlibus blog post today OCLC Dumps New Record Reuse Policy reports on the demise of the library records “Death Star”:

“Jennifer Younger, Chair of the OCLC Review Board of Shared Data Creation & Stewardshipannounced in a presentation on May 18th [video stream and presentation slides here] that they are to ‘Formally withdraw the proposed policy

From her presentation:

  • We affirm that a policy is needed, but not this policy
  • Formally withdraw the proposed policy
  • Until a new policy is in place, reaffirm the existence and applicability of the Nov. 16, 1987 ‘Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records’

She goes on to explain how they are to move on to ‘Discuss the role and value of WorldCat in the information ecosystem, and ways in which it can be leveraged’ – ‘Devise a process for drafting and maintaining a new policy’ [quotes from slides]

In her speech [from 16 minutes in] she indicated that the process for drawing up a new policy ‘must involve the governance structure of OCLC – the proposed policy is fundamental to the functioning of OCLC’…”

“LibraryThing for Libraries”…03.25.09

25 03 2009


LibraryThing has been around for quite a while though I haven’t heard much about the “LibraryThing for Libraries” addition that can be added to your ILS OPAC so I thought I would include here some information about it from the source.

Here are some basics from the LibraryThing for Libraries FAQ page:

“…What’s the difference between LibraryThing and LibraryThing for Libraries?

LibraryThing is the main site, meant for all people to come and share their books. Learn more about LibraryThing here.

LibraryThing for Libraries is a product, built by us at LibraryThing, for public, academic and special libraries with existing library systems (ILS/OPACs).

What does LibraryThing for Libraries do:

LTFL has two awesome OPAC-boosting products:

Catalog Enhancements package

This provides more valuable data for each book, and more points for searching. All of the search information – recommended titles, similar editions, tag search results – relate back to what can be found in your OPAC.

  • Book recommendations. High-quality “recommended” or “similar” books, like reader’s advisory that points to books available in your library.
  • Tag-based discovery. Tag clouds for books, and tag-based search and discovery, drawn from the 41 million tags added by LibraryThing members.
  • Other editions and translations. Provides links to bib pages of other editions and translations of a work that can be found an your library. (This works much like the FRBR model.)

Reviews Enhancement package

  • Patron reviews. Let your patrons rate and review right in your catalog.
  • Already full. Comes with over 200,000 high-quality reviews from
  • Widgets. Patrons can show off reviews and their library with library-branded “blog widgets” and a Facebook application.

You can choose to moderate reviews, and create multiple moderator accounts for other staff…

How does LibraryThing for Libraries work with my OPAC?

LibraryThing for Libraries adds information to your catalog with a few lines of HTML. Installation is extremely easy to add to your OPAC/ILS. Read more in the technical FAQ.

Will LTFL work with my OPAC?

LTFL will work with every major OPAC/ILS, and most of the minor ones too. See the list of libraries using LTFL here...

Can I see a live example of LibraryThing for Libraries in an OPAC?

The Danbury library in Danbury CT has become the first library in the world to put LibraryThing for Libraries on its live catalog. Play with their catalog(complete with LibraryThing for Libraries’s other editions and translations, similar books, and tags and tag browser), and read our blog post.

Other libraries that have gone live with LibraryThing for Libraries:

The Bedford Public Library (catalog) in Bedford TX (blog post).

Waterford Institute of Technology (catalog) in Waterford in south east Ireland (blog post).

Deschutes Public Library (catalog) of Deschutes County in Oregon (blog post).

Is there a list of all libraries participating in the LibraryThing for Libraries?

Yes! Go check it out...”

Cataloging With ‡biblios…02.24.09

24 02 2009

This is from Nicole on the What I Learned Today blog:

“I have uploaded some video tutorials that I put together for ‡ to YouTube - check them out and learn how to catalog with ‡”

I’m going to try and embed the entire playlist here – so feel free to browse through the videos:

Here is the actual CATALOGING with ‡biblios video:

FREE Webinar on OPAL – “The Next Generation Library Catalogs, with Special Guest Marshall Breeding”…02.20.09

20 02 2009

This from an email notice today from OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries):

Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT:

    ALA Connections Salon: The Next Generation Library Catalogs, with Special Guest Marshall Breeding 

    Marshall Breeding has been studying, tracking, and writing about the online library catalog industry for years. Join us for an informal conversation about the promise, trends, and challenges of next generation library catalogs. 

    Host: American Library Association 

    Location: ALA OPAL 100 Room

LibraryThing Responds to OCLC’s Questioning of Motives…02.02.09

2 02 2009

Here is an excerpt of LibraryThing‘s response [Thingology (LibraryThing's ideas blog): The evil 3.26%] to OCLC claim of self-interest in attacking their proposed monopolistic policy change which I found to be a rather enlightening and insightful perspective:

“The question has arisen of why I advocate against OCLC’s attempt to monopolize library data. Roy Tennant of OCLC, an intelligent, likeable man whom, although we disagree on some issues, has done more for libraries than most, accused me of writing and talking about the issue because:

‘… your entire business model is built on the fact that you can use catalog records for free that others created and not contribute anything back unless they pay (yes, there is a limited set of data available via an API, but then they need the chops to do something with it).’

Fair enough. Let’s look at the numbers, and the argument.

I did a comprehensive analysis, available here as a text file, with both output and PHP code. If anyone doubts it, send me an email and I’ll let run the SQL queries yourself…

Stop killing the messenger. It’s time for OCLC to recognize they made this mess, not others. They have perpetrated some astouding missteps—from attempting to sneak through a major rewrite of the core member policy in a few days without consultation, to a comic series of rewrites and policy reversals, culminating in withdrawing the policy entirely for discussion. (It now seems clear they did so on the heels of a member revolt, whether general or just of some key libraries.)

It’s also important to see that, before OCLC started threatening companies and non-profits doing interesting but non-competing things with book data—notably LibLimeOpen Library and LibraryThing—they had none of the problems they have now. Now, by attempting to control all book data, they’ve spurred the creation of LibLime’s ‡Biblios system, a free, free-data alternative to OCLC and, well, sent me, Aaron Swartz of Open Library and dozens of prominent library bloggers into orbit

Being caught so flat-footed can’t feel nice. It must be hard feeling like royalty and discovering your subjects think themselves a confederacy. But this is no time for OCLC to start attacking the credibility of its opponents. Surely LibraryThing is an unusual case—a company that has an opinionated, crusading—okay, loud—president. But the thousands of librarians and other individuals who supported our calls, or raised other objections to the OCLC policy are not less well-motivated than OCLC and its employees. They do not love libraries less. They are, rather, concerned that OCLC’s urge to control library metadata threatens longstanding library traditions of sharing, and sets libraries on a path of narrowness and restriction that will surely prove no benefit in this increasingly open, connected world.”

OCLC Policy Change Controversy Appears in International Media…01.22.09

22 01 2009


(LibraryThing Tee)

Although I don’t have direct dealings with OCLC, I found this excerpt from an interesting post today [The Guardian asks "Why you can't find a library book in your search engine?"] on LibraryThing [] interesting about a an article in the Guardian from the UK about the OCLC policy changes:

The OCLC data-grab has hit the ‘real’ media…The article asks the simple question, ‘Why you can’t find a library book in your search engine?’  

It’s an obvious question. The answer isn’t quite as simple as they put it. Libraries would be in Google if their library catalogs could be spidered. But they’d still be hampered by OCLC in various ways. Anyway the coverage of OCLC, Open Library, and LibraryThing are spot-on…” 

“Perceptions 2008: An International Survey of Library Automation” Released…01.20.09

20 01 2009

Because I had to select and implement our ILS software and may have to do so again in the future,  Marshall Breeding‘s the annual survey of ILS software from Library Technology Guides [] is of great interest to me. “Perceptions 2008: An International Survey of Library Automation” [] is excerpted here but I would suggest reading the article in its entirety.

“…This year, I received 1,450 responses from libraries in 51 different countries. The countries most strongly represented include the United States (1,150 responses), United Kingdom (49), Canada (99), Australia (44). As with the general demographics of the lib-web-cats database, the respondents of the library primarily come from libraries in English-speaking countries. Survey results were gathered between October 31, 2008 and January 16, 2009.

The survey attracted more responses from libraries using Millennium (293), Unicorn/Symphony (233), and Horizon (206). There were fewer than 100 responses for each of the other ILS products represented in the survey. Systems with less than 20 responses did not appear in the main statistical tables. These responses can be seen through the individual ILS Product Reports available…

The number of negative comments provided on the survey forms overwhelmingly exceeded positive ones

Polaris ranked as the product that received the highest score in response to the question probing satisfaction with the library’s Integrated Library System with a median rating of 7.73. Fifty-one libraries using Polaris responded to this question. Last year a total of 59 responders rated Polaris 7.78, reflecting remarkable consistency across the two years. AGent VERSO earned second highest marks in this category (7.26), with Library.Solution from The Library Corporation only a fraction lower (7.20). Millennium from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. also attracted highly positive ratings (7.09)…

One of the major movements in the library automation industry in the last few years involves the entrance of open source ILS products as a mainstream option. That libraries using these products now appear in this survey reflects that this approach has made inroads among the long-established proprietary systems. The three open source ILS products represented in the survey results include OPALS, Evergreen, and Koha, though only Koha received sufficient responses for inclusion in the primary tables…”

Maintained by Marshall Breeding

Jean and Alexander Heard LibraryVanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Copyright 2007

Sign Up for New “Biblios” Cataloging Tool…01.20.09

20 01 2009

Nicole Engard in her post Calling all Catalogers [] today about her work in creating a new cataloging tool called ‡ writes:

“… ‡ is a web-based original and copy cataloging tool with built in federated search of any Z39.50 target (via an integrated search registry with over 2000 targets – or by adding your own) and a large (30 million strong) shared database of catalog records. This means that you can visit ‡ and benefit from the work of other catalogers who have gone before you. You can also edit and contribute to the database without any restrictions.

I have also worked on creating some macros (others can be written by users) to help streamline some of our cataloging processes and templates for common item types to make original cataloging a little bit easier…”

I am signing up and will take a closer look!  I currently use a cataloging feature in our ILS software package which includes a Z39.50 feature.

“Open Shelves Classification”…01.19.09

19 01 2009

This is an excerpt from a LISNews posting today “LibraryThing Calls for New Cataloguing Scheme” [] in which LibraryThing is again pushing for the creation and use of a new classification system-particulary at public libraries-because they seem to believe DDC is no longer relevant:

“…Anyway, with all the talk of whether or not libraries should use DDC, LCCN, BISAC, or something else for their collections and then the possibility of using open databases instead of OCLC, it seems like cataloguing is on everybody’s mind.

It is over at LibraryThing too, where they’ve issued a call for the creation of OSC, or the Open Shelves Classification. They’re looking for a few librarians who are of a mind to create a system…”

Although I’m no fan of OCLC, there are issues with DDC in some applications, and I think the Open Shelves Classification project can be interesting and useful, I don’t agree with the project’s initiators that “it’s time to throw Dewey under the train” and sends the wrong message to the library community and public.

OCLC Says It Will Listen Regarding Policy Changes…01.14.09

14 01 2009

LISNews reports “OCLC to convene Review Board of Shared Data” []:

Good News! OCLC Board of Trustees and Members Council to convene Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship…

OCLC Members Council and the OCLC Board of Trustees will jointly convene a Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship to represent the membership and inform OCLC on the principles and best practices for sharing library data. The group will discuss the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records with the OCLC membership and library community.

The purpose of this Review Board is to engage the membership and solicit feedback and questions before the new policy is implemented. In order to allow sufficient time for feedback and discussion, implementation of the Policy will be delayed until the third quarter of the 2009 calendar year.”

“Time to Put Up or Shut Up” About OCLC Policy Change…01.11.09

11 01 2009

The following excerpt from Thingology (LibraryThing’s ideas blog) entitled “Why libraries must reject the OCLC Policy (part 1)” [] seems to be a pretty good assessment of the OCLC policy change debate that has been ongoing.  I would recommend reading the complete post along with the forthcoming “part 2).

“…1. The Policy fundamentally changes the character of OCLC, a “member” institution, with no formal member approval and with little member input…
2. The Policy is a legal document. No other statements matter….

3. The Policy is illegitimately retroactive…
4. The Policy is perpetual and will create a perpetual monopoly….

5. OCLC can change the Policy at any time, in any way….

6. If you violate the policy your library automatically loses the right to any “OCLC-derived” records you have….

7. OCLC has sole discretion to declare a library in violation and strip it of its records…

Call to action

Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.

A Blast from the Past…01.09.09

9 01 2009

I guess if you remember these like me, you’re definitely not a “Digial Native”:


Source on Flickr:

Of course, I also remember these:


Please do not bend, fold, spindle or mutilate.”

Source on Flickr:

LibraryThing “uClassify Mashup” Contest…12.22.08

22 12 2008

Here is an interesting idea regardless of your position on classification schemes and/or changes therewith from LibraryThing this past  Sunday [] which will be at least interesting to follow:
“I keep up with the Museum of Modern Betas* and today it found something wonderful: uClassify.

uClassify is a place where you can build, train and use automatic classification systems. It’s free, and can be handled either on the website or via an API. Of course, this sort of thing was possible before uClassify, but you needed specialized tools. Now anyone can do it—on a whim.

Their examples are geared toward the simple:

  • Text language. What language is some text in?
  • Gender. Did or a man or a woman write the blog? It was made for (It’s right only 63% of the time.)
  • Mood.
  • What classical author your text is most alike? Used on (this blog is Edgar Allen Poe).

Where did I lose the librarians—mood? But wait, come back! The language classifier works very well. It managed to suss-out NorwegianSwedish and Dutch reviews of the Hobbit.** So what if the others are trivial? The idea is solid. Create a classification. Feed it data and the right answer. Watch it get better and better

Now, I’m a sceptic of automatic classification in the library world. There’s a big difference between spam/not-spam and, say, giving a book Library of Congress Subject Headings. But it’s worth testing. And, even if ‘real’classification is not amenable to automatic processes, there must be other interesting book- and library-related projects. 

The Prize! So, LibraryThing calls on the book and library worlds to create something cool with uClassify byFebruary 1, 2009 and post it here. The winner gets Toby Segaran’s Programming Collective Intelligence and a $100 gift certificate to Amazon or IndieBound. You can do it by hand or programmatically. If you use a lot of LibraryThing data, and it’s not one of the sets we release openly, shoot me an email about what you’re doing and I’ll give you green light.

Some ideas. My idea list…

  • Fiction vs. Non-Fiction. Feed it Amazon data, Common Knowledge or LT tags.***
  • DDC. Train it with Amazon’s DDC numbers and book descriptions. Do ten thousand books and see how well it’s guessing the rest.
  • Do a crosswalk, eg., DDC to LCC, BISAC to DDC, DDC to Cutter, etc…”

Searching 2.0 Preview…12.04.08

4 12 2008

Michael Sauers, “The Traveling Librarian” [], posted the following about the non-final, pre-publication “Searching 2.0 Nearing Completion” chapter from Neal-Schuman which he described as “…sample pages from Neal-Schuman to show me the proposed layout for the book…free to take a look but keep in mind that these sample pages should not be considered final.”

You can read this interesting piece here: Searching 2.0 Chapter 2 Sample []

Floor Plan Maps in Library OPACs…11.20.08

20 11 2008

Here is an interesting use of the OPAC in helping patrons find materials in the physical plant of the library as noted by The Ubiquitous Librarian today []:

“…I discovered a very cool finding aid to help users locate items in the stacks.

Check it out. Go to FSU’s Library site  and search for something.  Cloning is always my default keyword.

You’ll see something like this:


When you click on “map” you get this:
It’s a great concept. Maybe all the catalogs are doing this these days—I have not been following the talk about 2.0 OPACs but this helps with a common challenge: finding books in the stacks. So I commend FSU for this. However, I tried to use their “texting” feature and after 2 hours it still has not arrived.  

So on a hunch I looked at several other Florida universities since I know they use the same catalog. Here are more examples of map/floor plan layouts that are linked out via the catalog: UFUSFFGCU,FAUUNFUWFUCF

You’ll find a lot of variation, but… FSU trumps them all with their low-tech image simply because it provides an indication of where the book can be found.  99% of the time I side with form over function, but this is one of those rare cases where 1% wins out. I like their map because it shows me where about on the floor I can find the book.”

Amazon, Google, LibraryThing, WorldCat, and Open Library…11.19.08

19 11 2008

Posted [] on the In The Library With a Lead Pipe blog is an interesting overview of Amazon, Google, LibraryThing, WorldCat, and Open Library and how they may fit into the library universe that has been excerpted here:

“Depending on books can feel like relying on snail mail. “Now that I’ve showed you how to find some articles,” I say to people at the reference desk, “I’ll show you how to use our website to find some books you might want to check out. And after that, wouldn’t it make your grandmother’s day if you wrote her a letter?”

For anyone accustomed to the Internet, books can lack the immediacy of articles or websites. Books generally have slower developing narratives, and often have longer paragraphs, sentences, and words, which means they don’t lend themselves to skimming. Compared to digital material, relevant passages can be hard to find, and even finding the right book can be challenging.

Although library websites are improving, keyword searching doesn’t work well at most libraries and faceted browsingthe links down the left side of the page on Amazon—is still a rarity. More importantly, with one notable exception, there is a good chance that nothing on the shelf that is ‘printed on paper and constructed on the model of the codex’ includes the exact information you have in mind.

This is where universal catalogs come into play. If there’s nothing on the shelf that meets your needs, the next step is to figure out if such a book exists. There are five websites that provide relatively complete and easily accessible lists of books: Amazon, Google, LibraryThing, WorldCat, and Open Library. In order to make the best use of these websites, it can be useful to learn how each of them started, what keeps them going, and how their business models and practices affect the data they collect and and how they go about sharing it…”

OCLC and Google Policy Discussion Continues…11.19.08

19 11 2008

As the discussion about CHANGE in policies at 2 major library institutions garners rants, raves, and speculation, here [] is commentary worth reviewing from “The Library 2.0 Gang”:

“This month’s Library 2.0 Gang conversation is stimulated by recent announcements from two significant organisations in their spheres of influence.

Gang regulars Tim Spalding and Marshall Breeding chew the fat on OCLC’s policy change announcement(s) which has set the library blogosphere alight over the last couple of weeks and was the subject of a Talking with Talis podcast with OCLC’s Karen Calhoun & Roy Tennant..   What are the motivations behind it – is OCLC a good thing – what could the ramifications for the wider community – does the wider library community care enough about it?

Google Book Search and their provisional settlement with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers (AAP) around copyright issues.  One of the spin offs from the settlement being the setting up of Book Rights Registry, managed by authors and publishers, that will work to locate and represent copyright holders Book Rights Registry, managed by authors and publishers, that will work to locate and represent copyright holders.  Is this the beginnings of a change in the publishing industry to take on some of the attributes of the music industry?

As always another lively and entertaining conversation.”

Insight About Library Catalog “Discovery Tools”…11.18.08

18 11 2008

Below is an interesting post by Laurie Tarulli, “The Cataloguing Librarian” [] on “discovery tools” which I know little about but have also been curious about at various times, especially when considering changes to our ILS software and OPAC. Mmmmmm….”Cataloguing”–Laurie must be a librarian friend from the “Great White North“–north of the border, Eh?  :-)


“Last week, I attended a presentation for the discovery tool Encore. Encore is one of many up and coming discovery tools being overlaid onto library catalogues. Other examples of discovery tools include AquaBrower and Primo.

This is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit through a full presentation pitch on discovery tools. In the past, there have been brief visits with vendors at conferences or short presentations to wet my appetite, but never the full opportunity to sit back and analyze the potential of these products and exactly how they work.

As most (or all) of you know, discovery platforms overlay a library’s existing catalogue. They read our MARC records and extrapolate that information for use in the discovery tool overlay. Therefore, a discovery tool is only as good as your MARC records. Without full, descriptive records and appropriate subject headings, your tag clouds and refined search parameters are sloppy and inaccurate. Without uniformity, your tag cloud will assist in retrieving some items but not others with different.

This is quite interesting with the amount of records currently being supplied by vendors. Will these records provide the level of quality and accuracy necessary to make discovery tools successful? If records lack descriptive elements or the ‘local’ touch, will they be as effective in this setting? In Encore, the tag cloud depends upon the subject headings and I find it hard to believe that records that have not been edited or reviewed by in-house cataloguers are able to provide the same quality needed to properly sustain these new platforms.

From my understanding, all of the discovery tool platforms rely on the information in MARC and convert it to a more user-friendly format. Given the growing popularity of platforms, it appears as if there is a growing need for quality cataloguing. As a selling feature, these platforms sell themselves as user friendly as well as ‘automated reference librarians’, allowing patrons to be guided through their discovery by the catalogue, rather than by an individual. With this type of reliance on a tool, it is imperative that the information created for these tools is of the highest quality, as emphasized by the vendors themselves.”

Libraries Using Open-Source Evergreen ILS Software Continues to Grow…11.17.08

17 11 2008

Evergreen seems to be expanding quickly.  The Evergreen website describes the software as follows:

“Evergreen is an enterprise-class library automation system that helps library patrons find library materials, and helps libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials, no matter how large or complex the libraries. As a community, our development requirements are that Evergreen must be:

  • Stable, even under extreme load.
  • Robust, and capable of handling a high volume of transactions and simultaneous users.
  • Flexible, to accomodate the varied needs of libraries.
  • Secure, to protect our patrons’ privacy and data.
  • User-friendly, to facilitate patron and staff use of the system. 

Evergreen is open source software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL.

Want to learn more? Visit the Frequently Asked Questions or search the site. Or chat with us live.”

Of course, Evergreen is not the only “open-source” ILS sytem available (see also Koha but here is a list of libraries that have chosen to use Evergreen:

  • Georgia Public Library Service
  • Equinox Software
  • University of Windsor
  • SITKA (BC Pines)
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Kent County Public Library
  • Grand Rapids Public Library
  • Michigan Library Consortium
  • Indiana Open Source ILS Initiative
  • Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Marshall Public Library
  • © 2008 GPLS | Partially funded by the Library Services & Technology Act through the Institute of Museum and Library Services

    Into the Belly of the Beast–OCLC Issues Revision of New Policy…11.05.08

    5 11 2008

    You can review the complete and “final” version of the much-discussed new “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Record” at OCLC here:

    © 2008 OCLC

    SOPAC Integration through YourLibrarySite…11.04.08

    4 11 2008

    Here is a press release from YourLibrarySite about their latest offering–of interest to those ILS users who want SOPAC functionality:

    YourLibrarySite(TM) Now Offers SOPAC Integration.

    The library website development team at (a website development initiative offered by CraftySpace, LLC) is currently integrating Social OPAC functionality with the Palos Verdes Library District’s website ( YourLibrarySite is using John Blyberg’s SOPAC2 Drupal module to integrate PVLD’s ILS with their website. This integration empowers library patrons to review, tag and rate biblio records without leaving PVLD’s website, and to view the content created by other patrons.

    An innovative further step allows libraries to optionally share their patron input with other libraries, thereby creating a richer environment for all involved. This sharing also allows newly created SOPAC communities to “prime the pump” by displaying patron-created content from already established SOPAC communities.

    About YourLibrarySite and SOPAC2:

    Last year at the Internet Librarian 2007 conference, Joseph Muennich (one of the partners from YourLibrarySite) met with John and began discussing how best to enable social integration of an ILS within a library’s website. (If you aren’t already familiar with John, you may want to check out his blog at This year, John invited CraftySpace, and a small group of other library-focused developers, to a technology summit sponsored by the Darien Public Library ( Participants learned about SOPAC2, and what it adds to the open source library community. CraftySpace is using this information upgrade the to a Drupal 6 site with SOPAC2 integration.

    YourLibrarySite will be offering SOPAC2 trainings on the West Coast in the near future. For information, contact or visit .

    For a detailed explanation of SOPAC, see  and

    OCLC New Sharing Policy Revealed…11.03.08

    3 11 2008

    OCLC has officially set out its new and much blogged about policy today as follows:

    “The Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records have been updated to become the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records. The policy is scheduled to become effective mid-February 2009, to give OCLC member libraries and other organizations time to implement any changes resulting from the update. Until that time, the Guidelines will remain in effect.

    OCLC® encourages and supports the widespread, non-commercial use of WorldCat records for scholarship and research to advance innovation that benefits libraries, museums, archives and their users. The “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records” is intended to foster such use while protecting the investment OCLC members have made in WorldCat, and ensuring that use of WorldCat records provides benefit to the membership.


    1. To use, reproduce, incorporate into works and display WorldCat records.
    2. To transfer WorldCat records of your library’s own holdings.


    1. Noncommercial Use. Use of WorldCat records for commercial purposes requires a separate agreement with OCLC.
    2. Noncommercial Transfer. WorldCat records may not be sold, sublicensed, or otherwise transferred for a fee, other economic gain or commercial purposes.
    3. Attribution. WorldCat and OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. must be clearly identified as the source of WorldCat records.
    4. Reasonable Use. Use must not discourage the contribution of bibliographic and holdings data to WorldCat or substantially replicate the function, purpose, and/or size of WorldCat.
    5. Modification. The OCLC number, the link to the policy, and any other means of attribution may not be removed from WorldCat records.
    6. Conveyance. The policy terms and conditions remain in effect following the transfer of WorldCat records.

    This brief summary of the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records is for informational purposes only…”

    © 2008 OCLC

    Study of Searching With “Tags”…11.03.08

    3 11 2008

    New post from Catalogablog [] on tag searching study:

    Searching with Tags: Do Tags Help Users Find Things? by Margaret E.I. Kipp appears in Proceedings 10th International Conference of the International Society for Knowledge Organization, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    This study examines the question of whether tags can be useful in the process of information retrieval. Participants were asked to search a social bookmarking tool specialising in academic articles (CiteULike) and an online journal database (Pubmed) in order to determine if users found tags were useful in their search process. The actions of each participants were captured using screen capture software and they were asked to describe their search process. The preliminary study showed that users did indeed make use of tags in their search process, as a guide to searching and as hyperlinks to potentially useful articles. However, users also made use of controlled vocabularies in the journal database.”

    Library Automation Perceptions Survey…11.03.08

    3 11 2008

    Nicole Engard’s post []  on surveying the latest in library automation is worth the participation:

    “It’s that time of year again.  Marshall Breeding has posted information on how to participate in his Perceptions 2008 International Library Automation Survey:

    We live in interesting times when it comes to automation strategies in libraries.  Competition intensifies between traditional companies licensing their products and a new wave of open source challengers.  I think that it is important to pursue research that gauges the effectiveness of the various approaches to help other libraries make decisions regarding their automation strategy.

    Last year, I conducted the inaugural version of this survey, which resulted in the report titled “Perceptions 2007: an international survey of Library Automation.”  The 2007 survey included responses from 1,779 libraries.

    This survey is well known and highly regarded – so make sure your opinion is heard!!  Read Marshall’s instructions and participate ASAP”

    FREE LC Cataloging Courses…10.21.08

    21 10 2008

    Planet Catalog posted  [] the following information about FREE cataloging and metadata training programs available from the Library of Congress:

    “Last year I mentioned how much I’d learned taking the cataloging and metadata training programs developed by the Library of Congress. Well, now the training materials for these workshops are free via the Cataloging and Distribution Service (CDS)! Here’s a list of what’s available:

    Cataloging Skills (CCT)

    * Basic Creation of Name and Title Authorities
    * Basic Subject Cataloging Using LCSH
    * Fundamentals of Series Authorities
    * Fundamentals of Library of Congress Classification

    The Digital Library Environment (Cat21)

    * Digital Project Planning & Management Basics
    * Metadata and Digital Library Development
    * Metadata Standards and Applications
    * Principles of Controlled Vocabulary and Thesaurus Design
    * Rules and Tools for Cataloging Internet Resources

    Continuing Resources (SCCTP)

    * Advanced Serials Cataloging
    * Basic Serials Cataloging
    * Electronic Serials Cataloging
    * Integrating Resources Cataloging
    * Serials Holdings”

    Koha ILS System Availabile Free to Library Schools…10.14.08

    14 10 2008

    I hope this is a trend with ILS companies.  This in from Library Journal news:

    “...Many LIS students complain they don’t get enough hands-on experience while in school, especially with library-specific software like ILS systems. To remedy this, open source development and support vendor LibLime offers a program to LIS schools called ‘Koha with Class,’ designed to provide up to five installations of the Koha ILS, hosted by the company free of charge. Any college or university that offers “a program in Library and Information Studies/Technology” is eligible, according to the company, and every new request will include the latest 3.0 version of Koha, released in August, featuring improvements such as batch MARC imports as well as improved searching and indexing capabilities. Schools already participating in the program can request to upgrade their installations of  Koha 2.2 to the new 3.0.

    ‘Proprietary ILS systems are black boxes…. It’s time to break open that black box and let library students play,’ said LibLime CEO Joshua Ferraro of program’s initial release in January 2007. Since then, more than 50 library classrooms worldwide have requested installations said LibLime.

    Diane Neal, now assistant professor of North Carolina Central University, was one of the first to use Koha in the classroom as an instructor at Texas Woman’s University, and told LJ that it gives her students an advantage she didn’t have in library school: ‘Working in groups, with each student assigned a role of either Head of Acquisitions, Head of Cataloging, Head of Circulation, Systems Administrator, or OPAC designer, they configured a Koha installation based on a library scenario I provided to them. They learned an incredible amount through the project, and I have heard from some of them that the experience truly benefited them both in their job interview efforts and after landing their first professional position.’

    As with any open-source product, the Koha software is openly available, meaning that there is nothing explicitly preventing any LIS school from downloading the software, installing it, and hosting it themselves. But the ‘Koha with Class’ program removes the burden of staff time and effort generally required for local ILS installations by hosting and maintaining the software remotely, allowing instructors to integrate hands-on ILS instruction into their curriculae quickly and easily.”

    ©2008 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Continuing Library Dilemma…10.02.08

    2 10 2008

    It’s been almost 2 weeks since my 09.23.08 post [Solo Library Management Dilemma Discourse–An Encore…09.23.08] where I spent the time explaining and rationalizing my need to push to the forefront a project that has been on hold for a long time.  At that time I said, among other things:

    “…Faced with a great desire and need to proceed with a massive–and growing–cataloging project that was indefinitely suspended/ignored/put out-of-mind at the end of last year, I am faced with the choice of perpetually ignoring the situation or once again (multiplied other attempts have failed due to matters of more pressing import to departmental management) taking the risk of approaching relatively uninterested, non-librarian superiors to try to convince the ‘powers that be’ that decisions need to be made and actions taken to move forward with the project that already consumed large amounts of time and other resources…”

    Well, I have sought many times for an appropriate opportunity to once again broach the subject.  Unfortunately, my department head has taken on yet more responsibilities within the organization meaning “face time” with staff now is relegated to approximately 2-5 minute intervals or being summoned to discuss only specific issues of immediate urgency regarding non-librarian duties. I must continue to walk a fine line between frustration and perseverance which includes encouraging myself that an opportunity will arise. More if things change…


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