Planet Cataloging

August 19, 2014

Catalogue & Index Blog


CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group (CIG) invites nominations for the Alan Jeffreys Award.

The Alan Jeffreys Award is made by the Cataloguing & Indexing Group Committee in memory of Alan Jeffreys, the former Chairman of the Group, who died in 1994.

The recipient of the award should have made a substantive contribution to the development, teaching or practice of cataloguing or indexing.

Nominations should provide evidence of exceptional achievement in one or more of the following categories:

· Teaching or Professional Development

· Leadership in a changing environment

· Delivery of a project

Evidence should include assessment of the impact the nominee has had. This may include, but is not limited to, improved access to collections; academic performance or efficiencies.

The award is made annually. The recipient receives a framed certificate and will also win a complimentary registration to the next CIG Conference (or a CPD event of their choice).

Nominations should be sent to the CIG Chair: Robin Armstrong Viner, c/o Information Services, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU ( by 5th September 2014.

Please include the name and affiliation(s) of the nominee(s), together with a short indication of why they are being nominated.

by cilipcig at August 19, 2014 07:45 AM

x + 3

How to Homeschool My Children

As we prepare for Titus to enter first grade, a number of colleagues have asked for details about our homeschooling techniques, philosophy, curriculum, etc. Forthwith:


We attended the FPEA convention in May. In addition to having a chance to review materials from a smorgasbord of vendors, we also learned a lot about education philosophies from several of the presentation and workshops. There are five prevailing philosophies (or teaching styles, or learning methods, or whatever you want to call them), and I’m sure each of them has its place in different families. Our experience at the convention was one of discovery. We didn’t so much choose a philosophy; we identified the philosophy we already had. Names are powerful. By identifying the Charlotte Mason method as that which most aligned with our preferred approach, it’s much easier to find resources we think will be helpful additions to our curriculum.

So what is that approach? It’s largely structured around experiencing the world and responding to it. If you’re studying science, observe nature, do experiments. Don’t just read a book that tells you how things work; figure out why they work that way. If you’re studying the arts, seek out the masters. Live with their beauty in your house; learn why it’s beautiful. If you’re studying grammar, learn through great literature.


We started formal education at age three. At the start, the idea is to introduce concepts that we can build on in the future, and start to introduce some structure and discipline in their learning. School takes maybe 15 minutes a day at the beginning, and gradually expands to a couple of hours each day now that we’re starting first grade.

tirzah-mathWe have a designated table where we always do our lessons. Both kids will come sit down; and we’ll either alternate between them, or, wherever possible, engage them both in the same subject (this is easier for some subjects than others).

Our school year formally starts each September. We don’t take an explicit summer vacation, instead opting to take numerous breaks throughout the year (usually timed to avoid crowds that follow the public school schedule).

Beyond the formal curriculum outlined below, we’re also fortunate to live a few blocks away from O2B Kids, where the kids can do many of their “extracurriculars”. Dance, gym, art, and more; they get the opportunity to have fun with other kids and learn skills we would never be able to teach them at home.



Action BibleIt’s never too soon to start studying scripture. We started on day one at Genesis 1, and have read a chapter together every evening before bed. After a few years we reached the end, at which point we circled back to the beginning (now with two kids listening). As part of our routine, everybody gets a notebook and pencils to write down their thoughts or draw picture about the day’s chapter.

Language Arts

  • Wordy Worm – Phonograms are the smallest distinct sounds in our language. Wordy Worm teaches reading and spelling by focusing on these sounds first, and then on the letters (or combinations of letters) that can be used to create those sounds. We start by focusing on a few related phonograms each week, learning songs to help us remember them, and finding books from the library where the kids can use their new knowledge to actually start to read a few words.
  • Explode the Code – This is a more traditional approach to teaching reading and spelling through phonics.Explode the Code Each chapter covers a different sound, so one chapter will be “short a” and the next chapter is “short e”. Most chapters are about 9 pages long and reinforce the learning using several different methods. The child will copy the word, circle the picture illustrating the word, find the matching words in a list, and more. It also introduces basic literacy by having them unjumble words so they make a sentence, reading two sentences and selecting which one describes the picture, and answering yes-no questions. We have encountered a few “problems” that are inconsequential as homeschoolers. The first is that Titus’s handwriting competency was nowhere near his reading skill, making it difficult to fill out so many pages. We compromised and on one type of page he had to circle the letters, but not rewrite them. On the other type, he spelled while we wrote down the letters. The other “problem” was with the jumbled sentence. He had a great difficulty figuring out the correct order. One day, on a whim we tried putting all the words on little squares of paper and he had no trouble putting them in the correct order. So for nearly a year, he would arrange the words and glue them to the page. Now that his skills are improved, he is just writing the words as “expected”.
  • Handwriting Without Tears – This is an excellent series that teaches handwriting skills starting with pre-writing skills and advancing through cursive. In the early years, it focuses a lot on the basics of starting the letters at the top, writing on a line, and word spacing. The curriculum teaches that in the early stages, a child should copy a printed letter every time so they are always looking at a quality examples and will produce quality letters. On the other hand, if a child is required to write a row of the letter “B”, the first few “Bs” will look okay, but as they stop looking at the original “B” and start looking at their own handwriting, the letters will get worse and worse until at the end they are nearly illegible. They also slowly incorporate other aspects of grammar and composition throughout the series. We found ourselves wanting to create our own practice worksheets on occasion, so we purchased a font to match the workbooks from Educational Fontware.
  • Keyboarding Without Tears – From the makers of Handwriting without Tears, a new typing curriculum. We’ll be starting the curriculum next month, with daily 5-minute typing lessons.


  • Fred GaussLife of Fred – I can’t praise this math curriculum enough. You learn math while reading a story of the life of five-year-old Fred Gauss. The stories are silly and entertaining, and Titus will often ask to do another chapter. We started the series when he turned four. Two years in, and Titus can draw a bar graph, solve for x in 3x=12, find the union of sets, and tell you if three lines are concurrent. After we finish the intermediate series (2nd grade), Titus will likely take a break for a while and become the teacher’s assistant as we teach the books to Tirzah.
    • Year 1 (Pre-K): Apples, Butterflies, Cats
    • Year 2 (Kindergarten): Dogs, Edgewood, Farming
    • Year 3 (1st Grade): Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly Beans
    • Year 4 (2nd Grade): Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft

    The curriculum goes all the way through high school and college math courses (trigonometry, calculus, statistics), so we have many years of Fred ahead of us.

  • Math-U-See – This math curriculum is structured around visual and tactile learning with colorful plastic blocks. These are great starting around age three, when you can use them to practice counting and start teaching place value. When we started the Primer at age four, I thought that Math-U-See would be our primary math curriculum, and Fred would be helpful to reinforce the concepts we were learning. I had it exactly backwards. The manipulative blocks are excellent tools for helping visualize math concepts, but the workbooks and tests mostly serve to reinforce the concepts we’re learning in Fred. The drill is still helpful, and we usually have Titus do at least a few drill pages from each chapter. But going into first grade, I’m going to focus more effort on finding pages that specifically reinforce the concepts we’re learning in Fred, instead of going through the book linearly.


Before first grade, science is mostly unstructured. Kids are naturally curious about the world, and it’s easy to guide that curiosity into experimentation and introduce the scientific method. In 2012, a couple of early tropical storms left us with an abundance of standing water, yielding a bumper crop of tree frogs. From the thousands hopping around our front yard, we adopted a handful, raising and feeding them for the next year (we learned a lot more about fruit flies than frogs). We also participated in science fairs with homeschool groups to get some formal practice with the scientific method and with public presentations. You can find books of ready-made experiments, but it’s far more interesting to come up with your own and actually learn something.

Basher BooksBeyond experimentation, good books can go a long way to open up the vast world that science covers. The Basher Science series contains a variety of books that introduce topics in bite-sized, anthropomorphized chunks perfect for preschool children. You’ll also find a number of books on any topic imaginable at your library.

With first grade, we’re starting a formal science curriculum. One of my biggest frustrations with most science curricula I’ve looked at is the lack of any science. They’ll teach you facts about the world (or some biased view of them); but that’s memorization, not science. I want to teach the method; they’ll learn plenty of facts on their own. I was delighted to discover the Real Science 4 Kids curriculum at the FPEA convention. It covers chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and geology, starting all of them in first grade. Every chapter is built around experimentation, so you’re not just reading and memorizing.

Computer Programming

We’re still not sure exactly how to go about teaching programming. At the moment, we’re really excited to see all the resources coming to, including their upcoming K-5 curriculum.


Castillo de San MarcosTeaching history to preschoolers is, to a large extent, an exercise in futility. They don’t really have a concept of time on any scale larger that “last week”. But this is a good age to go and explore that history in person. We’re blessed to live an hour away from the oldest city in the United States. We’ve made a number of visits to Castillo de San Marcos and toured the many museums in the area, learning about life in the area over the last half millennium.

We’re now about to start the Story of the World. It’s a four-year world history curriculum that presents the events of history intermingled with short stories to help children visualize and remember those events. It also comes with an outstanding teacher’s guide/activity book, full of related projects, recommendations for more books, and generally helpful resources.

Book of CenturiesHistory, of course, intermingles will all our other subjects. A wonderful tool we’ve learned about is the Book of Centuries. It’s a simple book that is empty other than dates in the margins, with a spread for each century. Over time, your book begins to show the relationships among the people, places, and events as you mark them in your book. We couldn’t find one we liked, so Stephanie put together her own Book of Centuries through Lulu.

Music and Art Appreciation

Stephanie is an artist. I’m a classically-trained musician. As much as we want to (and do) encourage our children to learn those same skills, it’s far more important for them to learn to appreciate and understand the beauty and history of the cultural heritage available to us.

The first step is to surround them with that beauty. There is almost always music playing in our house (usually Classical South Florida or a curated Pandora station). We have paintings on our walls. We take every opportunity we can to attend concerts. This year we’ll also start explicitly including music and art studies into our school curriculum.

Each month, we’ll pick a different composer. We’ll learn a little bit about their lives and times, but then focus on listening to their music. We’ll have a composition of the week that we will listen to every day as part of our bedtime routine, and finish up the week talking about what we heard. We get a chance to internalize each composer’s style, and find their place in the Book of Centuries to gain an understanding of the evolution of music over time.

We’ll follow a similar process with artists. Study one artist for an extended period, looking at a new piece of art each week. Then we talk about what we saw, learning to appreciate it, but also to analyze and criticize. Then we have an opportunity to create our own art in a similar style.


The government thinks it can do a better job raising my kids than I can, and likely has different goals for their education. There are plenty of undiplomatic things I could (but won’t) say here. Instead, a few anecdotes:

  • I attended public schools for nineteen years, from kindergarten through a master’s degree. I took a lot of history classes. I never finished a history book. U.S. history classes rarely made it past the Civil War (including the ones labeled “1865-Present”). When we did make it into the 20th century, it was usually part of a rushed overview of the 20th century on the last day of class.
  • When I finished kindergarten, my school tried to make me repeat it for another year. My crime: I couldn’t skip. Read that again: I couldn’t skip. You know, hopping on alternate feet. Sure, I was reading at a 2nd-grade level already (as the rest of my class was learning the names of the letters). I had outstanding marks in every subject. But I couldn’t skip. Clearly that’s the most important thing you need to succeed in public schools: physical agility.
  • Stephanie was recently speaking to another mother. The latter had a son in Kindergarten. He had one or two hours of homework every night. This is on top of the four hours he spent in the classroom every day. If you scroll up, you can re-read where I wrote, “School takes maybe 15 minutes a day at the beginning, and gradually expands to a couple of hours each day now that we’re starting first grade.” She was already homeschooling her son, but to meet somebody else’s goals, somebody else’s curriculum, somebody else’s schedule.

Sometimes the government can be forceful in asserting its supposed claim on your children. To keep matters simple, we follow a few steps:

  • Move to a location where the laws are conducive to homeschooling. Florida requires an annual standardized test or portfolio review, but otherwise is fairly unoppressive. Our county, in particular, is quite welcoming.
  • Avoid interacting with the government. Its goals are not your goals. If you go to the government for advice, it will give the wrong advice, and it will often come with legal entanglements.
  • Know the law, know your rights, and always follow the letter of the law.
  • Join the HSLDA. They do important work fighting the legal battles to keep you free.

MultiplicationObviously, homeschooling is a large investment in time (but possibly not as much as you might expect). It comes with so many benefits, though, that it’s well worth the cost. We start with giving our children the highest quality education possible. As freelance workers ourselves, homeschooling is a perfect lifestyle fit, giving our kids the same flexibility we have to work when and where we choose. Add to that the opportunity to spend quality time with them, helping them discover the world and discover themselves while we nurture our relationship with them. It keeps us busy, but who isn’t busy? We’re doing exactly what we want to be doing, and we’re loving it.

by Jonathan Brinley at August 19, 2014 03:05 AM

August 18, 2014

Bibliographic Wilderness

Google Scholar Alerts notifies me of a citation to me

So I still vainly subscribe to Google Scholar Alerts results on my name, although the service doesn’t work too well today. 

Today (after retrurning from summer vacation), I found an alert in my inbox to Googlization of Libraries edited by edited by William Miller, Rita Pellen. 

Except oddly, the Google Books version wasn’t searchable so I could find where my name was mentioned. (But clearly Google has/had text at one point to generate the alert for me!).  

But the Amazon copy was searchable. Amazon doesn’t let you copy and paste from books, but I’ll retype. 

Of course, some aspects of this comparison do not fit. For example, it is unlikely that the existence of Google Scholar is going to “dumb down” research (It might, however, make possible the distribution of less reputable research, unfinished manuscripts, etc. Scholars like Jonathan Rochkind have explored this concept. [32]).

From Standing on the Shoulders of Libraries by Charlie Potter in, Googlization of Libraries, edited by William Miller and Rita Pellen, Routledge 2009. Page 18. 

I don’t actually recall exploring that concept.  Let’s see what the cite is…  doh, the page of citations for that chapter isn’t included in the Amazon preview. Let’s see Google… afraid not, Google wouldn’t show me the page either. 

I wonder how many scholars are doing research like this, from the freely avaiable previews from Google/Amazon, giving up when they run up against the wall.  

Maybe I’ll ILL the book, Amazon search says I’m cited a few more times in other chapters, although it won’t show me them. 

Filed under: General

by jrochkind at August 18, 2014 01:40 PM

August 17, 2014

Universal Decimal Classification

IFLA General Conference 2014

If you happen to be in Lyon, please join us for our regular UDC Update session at the 2014 IFLA General Conference and Assembly. Members of the UDC Editorial team will give a brief presentation on the current developments in the UDC, ongoing translation projects, forthcoming publications and events. Monday, 18 August 12.45-13.45 Room St. Clair 3b The UDC Update Newsletter is available

by Aida Slavic ( at August 17, 2014 10:41 PM

August 16, 2014

First Thus

ACAT Friday OT : Science fiction fans, I could use some help!

Posting to Autocat

On 8/15/2014 9:32 PM, Blodget, Emily@CSL wrote:

Two original Star Trek episodes spring to mind, because I watched them recently. In “All Our Yesterdays,” the planet Sarpeidon is going to be destroyed by a supernova, but when the Enterprise arrives, there’s no one who needs saving–because everyone already went to the library, picked a favorite historical period from the collection, and hopped back in time. The extraordinarily dedicated head librarian is the only one still there, putting off saving himself until the very last minute in case he needs to help any stragglers. (His trick of making lesser-skilled doubles of himself is also a novel solution to a staff shortage!) Preserving the past saved them from a future apocalypse–albeit in a way that no doubt produces time-paradox headaches for anyone who thinks about it too hard.

“All Our Yesterdays” was written by a librarian who was later at Princeton University, a good friend of mine, and I’m sure that Mark remembers her too: Jean Aroeste. I see she actually made it into Wikipedia! That’s good.

When I asked her about it, she told me what it was like to write a TV script and how strange she found it. Then she said, “That really was another life.”

She was a good friend of Seymour Lubetzky also. I have always been a “Trekkie” and this episode has been one of my favorites, so it was a real thrill for me when I found out that Jean was the writer!


by James Weinheimer at August 16, 2014 03:49 PM

Terry's Worklog

MarcEdit 6 Update

So I missed one – I made some changes to how MarcEdit loads data into the MarcEditor to improve performance, especially on newer equipment, and introduced a bug.  When making multiple global updates, the program may (probably) will lose track of the last page of records.  This slipped through my unit tests because the program was reporting the correct number of changes, but when the program analyzed the for indexing, it was dropping the last page.  Oops.  This was introduced in the update posted at 1 am on Aug. 15th.  I’ve corrected the problem and updated my unit tests so that this type of regression shouldn’t occur again.

One question that did come up to me privately was why make this change to begin with.  Primarily, it was about performance.  MarcEdit’s paging process requires the program to index the records within a MARC block.  In the previous approach, this resulted in a lot of disk reads.  Generally, this isn’t a problem, but I’ve had occasion where folks with lower disk speeds have had performance issues.  This change will correct that.  For files under 50 MB, the program will now read the entire file into memory, and process the data in memory to generate paging.  This is a more memory intensive task (the previous method utilized a small amount of memory, whereas the new process can require allocations of 100-120 MB of system memory for processing) but removes the disk reads which is the largest bottleneck within the process.  The effect of this change is a large performance gain.  On my development system, which has a solid state drive, the improvement loading a 50 MB file is over a second, going from 3.3 seconds to 1.8 seconds.  That’s a pretty significant improvement – especially on a system where disk reads tend to happen very quickly.  On my secondary systems, the improvements are more noticeable.  On an Intel I-5 with a non-solid state drive and 6 GB of RAM, the old process took between 3.7 to 4.1 seconds, while the new method loaded the file between 1.6-1.8 seconds.  And on a tablet with an older Atom processor and 2 GB of RAM, the old process took approximately 22 seconds, while the new only 9 seconds.  These are big gains that I hope users will be able to see and benefit from.


Testing Results Old Process

Machine Description File Description Time to Load
I-7 Dell XPS Ultrabook, 8 GB RAM, SSD 45,922 records; 50 MB 1st load: 3.4s
2nd load: 3.3s
3rd load: 3.2s
I-5 Dell Workstation, 6 GB RAM, 7200 rpm HD 45,922 records, 50 MB 1st load: 4.1 s
2nd load: 4.0s
3rd load: 3.8s
Atom 1.5 mhz ACER tablet, 2 GB RAM, SSD 45,922 records; 50 MB 1st load: 27s
2nd load: 22s
3rd load: 23s


Testing Results New Process

Machine Description File Description Time to Load Diff
I-7 Dell XPS Ultrabook, 8 GB RAM, SSD 45,922 records; 50 MB 1st load: 1.4s
2nd load: 1.3s
3rd load: 1.3s
I-5 Dell Workstation, 6 GB RAM, 7200 rpm HD 45,922 records, 50 MB 1st load: 1.8 s
2nd load: 1.6s
3rd load: 1.6s
Atom 1.5 mhz ACER tablet, 2 GB RAM, SSD 45,922 records; 50 MB 1st load: 10.1s
2nd load: 9.6s
3rd load: 9.7s


While the new process appears to provide better performance on many different types of systems, I realize that there may be some system variations that not benefit from this new method.  To that end, I’ve added a new configuration option in the MarcEditor Preferences that will allow users to decide to turn off the new paging method.  By default, this option is selected.


If you update the program via MarcEdit, the download will be offered automatically the next time you use the program.  Otherwise, you can get the update at:



by reeset at August 16, 2014 06:20 AM

August 15, 2014

Open Metadata Registry Blog

Server move in progress

…from Rackspace to Digital Ocean and from one large-ish server to several smaller ones, from a relatively prehistoric version of RedHat to the latest Ubuntu 14LTS, from Zend Server+Apache to nginx (openresty actually), and from PHP5.2 to PHP5.5. It really wasn’t as painful as it sounds like it should have been. As part of the move, we also made some improvements in error and uptime reporting, integrated into a Slack channel for near real-time monitoring.

Actually the move is pretty much complete, although we’re still tinkering a bit with the caching and load balancing setup — we apologize for any brief outages you may experience while we do that — since we couldn’t afford to completely replicate the entire server stack in a staging environment.

Getting browser/proxy/server caching right is actually taking more time than we anticipated. We’ll let you know here as soon as we turn our attention to other things. In the meantime, if you see something, please say something — we’ve got issues!

by Jon Phipps at August 15, 2014 09:02 PM

Terry's Worklog

MarcEdit 6 Update

Latest update has been posted.  The following has been fixed:

  • Bug Fix: Delimited Text Translator — The Edit LDR, Load Template, and AutoGenerate buttons were not responding.  This has been corrected.
  • Bug Fix: MARCCompare — when processing data with improperly formatted mnemonic data, the program doesn’t correctly trap the generated formatting error.
  • Bug Fix: Edit Field Data: When processing control fields by position, the replacement would generate duplicate data.
  • Bug Fix: MARC Tools — the MARC8 and UTF8 conversion checkbox would become grayed out when selecting new functions from the function list.
  • Bug Fix: Task Lists — The Delete Subfield Text task wasn’t respecting the option to delete the entire subfield option.
  • Performance Fix: Re-did the paging code so that for files under 50 MBs, the program utilizes a different, faster method of reading data.  This method utilizes more memory because data processing happens in memory rather than on disk, but this gives a 50 to 75% improvement in speed over the past method.
  • Bug Fix: Classify Tool — when processing dates, if the 008 wasn’t present, the program wouldn’t capture date information from the 260 or 264.
  • Enhancement: Classify Tool — The program now utilizes prefixes within the control number to eliminate false control number matches.
  • Bug Fix: Merge Records Tool — when merging on the 035, the program wasn’t properly normalizing all data for matching.

You can get the update automatically or from the download page at:


by reeset at August 15, 2014 05:02 AM

August 14, 2014

Catalogue & Index Blog


Join CIG for a post conference visit to the historic Canterbury Cathedral Library ( The library holds a wealth of books and manuscripts on church history, theology, history, travel and science dating back to the Norman Conquest. Tours will be led by a member of library staff and there will be no shortage of fascinating things to discover. Places are limited to book today to ensure your place.

CIG members: Free
Non-CIG members: £9

Visit times:
Wednesday 10th September 2.30pm & 3.30pm. Please note that the 3.30 tour is subject to demand. Tours should last about an hour.

Please contact Claire Sewell at by September 1st to reserve your place.

by cilipcig at August 14, 2014 12:16 PM

First Thus

ACAT Left hand searching/helping users, etc. (was RE: Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic)

Posting to Autocat

On 8/13/2014 11:34 PM, Kuperman, Aaron wrote:

One could establish relationships (RDA is set up to support this) between geographic terms, and then some clever OPAC designer could exploit this. One could encode the record for Israel to indicate it is part of Palestine (the region as defined by LC), is adjacent to the West Bank, and that Palestine is part of West Asia and the Middle East. If we really wanted to we could say it was part of Gondwana (according to some theories). You could use relationships to indicate that Israel was once part of the Ottoman and British Empires (something very important for understanding its legal system. The if someone looks for Israeli dinosaurs, they could automatically be referred to adjacent and immediately broader terms.

Of course we could put all sorts of cool data in our records, but getting the OPAC people and the searchers to use it is another matter.

And I still use left-hand matches, which are very powerful if you combine them with field-specific keywords. Of course, only a veteran cataloger probably understands this.

RDA is really irrelevant to this–we don’t need to establish new types of relationships. The problem is, the ones we have now are not being used. Why would new ones make any difference?

But if we accept that new relationships are needed, it begs the question: who is going to do all that work? There are not enough of us now to do all of the work we currently have, and I don’t foresee that armadas of catalogers will be hired in the future. This is similar to what I have mentioned about RDA in general: its “new, improved” relationships imply that every record needs to be edited, and if the old records are not edited, those materials will be even harder to find than they are now. (I discussed this at some length in “Cataloging Matters No. 16: Catalogs, Consistency and the Future” Some may conclude that the old materials are not as important as the newer ones, but that is certainly not in the competence of the catalogers to decide. I, for one, would argue strongly against it. The public must be included in such a decision.

It is clear that those older records will not be edited, and therefore it will never happen. Yet, I will grant that that the old records might be edited, but without any added staff, it will take a long time–decades at the very least–and in today’s information universe where normal time speeds up in an almost relativistic rate, those decades probably translate into hundreds of years of “internet time”. The first Iphone was announced only seven years ago and look at the “mobile web” now! We have absolutely no idea what the information climate will be in 30, 40 or 50 years from now. As a result, what we are creating is something only for the far future, in an information world we cannot even imagine, and no one can even demonstrate that RDA is what anybody wants today! And yet, we are all supposed to strive toward this “wonderful future” together.


I also use left-handed search browses, but as you say, only veteran catalogers really understand them. There are many advantages with that kind of search, but that no longer matters. The real task is to make what we have now work for the real-life public of today. That demands making a catalog we know they will want and use. It seems logical to make the cross-references we have useful once again. For instance, could someone come up with a way of having the real-life search “battles wwi” (keyword) come up with the absolutely vital cross-references,

See: World War, 1914-1918–Aerial operations.
See: World War, 1914-1918–Campaigns.
See: World War, 1914-1918–Naval operations.
(“World War, 1914-1918–Battles, sieges, etc.” is not a valid subject heading but exists only as a reference)

and that each of these headings have multiple subdivisions of all kinds, then it would be something useful for the searcher. The problem is not a lack of information. All the information already exists in the authority records (the reference from “wwi” is in the record for “World War, 1914-1918″ and the reference for “battles” is shown above) In the old days, a reference librarian would have pointed this out to the searcher, but we are living in another world now.

Only new types of catalogs can fix this. But first, we need to recognize that our catalogs do not function for today’s world, and need to be fixed.


by James Weinheimer at August 14, 2014 10:42 AM

August 13, 2014

First Thus

ACAT Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

Posting to Autocat

On 8/13/2014 4:29 PM, Marc Truitt wrote:

On 08/13/2014 08:57 AM, Kuperman, Aaron wrote:
For local place names we use the current jurisdiction, regardless of how anachronistic is. Thus we’ll use: $z Czech Republic $z Prague not only for a contemporary work , but for something about in the 1940s, or even the 16th century (a book about the Golem of Prague will get a $z for the 2014 place name) or even the prehistoric past (I once had to decide whether a book on “Dinosaur tracks” dealt with Israeli dinosaurs, Palestinian dinosaurs, or West Bank dinosaurs, even though Israel and the West Bank in their current boundaries are 20th century creations but “Gondwana” isn’t allowed – BTW I went with “Palestine” which is defined to be the historic region of the “Holy land”).

Two hours later and I’m still laughing about this, Aaron. Thanks for making my day!

While this really is humorous, just as funny as the possibility of Soviet birds, I always think about the users. How is someone who is interested in books about dinosaurs in a specific area of the world supposed to know that they need to look under “Dinosaurs–Palestine” or “Dinosaurs–West Bank” or “Dinosaurs–Gaza Strip”? This is something that probably wouldn’t even enter people’s minds.

True, there are cross-references, e.g. under Israel

which has a cross-reference to Palestine (which in turn has a scope note and cross-references to Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel) but the only way for users to see this structure is if they search for left-anchored browse “Israel” or “Palestine” etc., and if they search for the more realistic “Dinosaurs–Israel” or a variant, they cannot ever know of the other possibilities.

Of course, practically nobody searches by left-anchored browses any longer, and if you do a real-world search using keywords “dinosaurs israel” etc., you never see any cross-references at all. And yet, if people want information on these topics, they absolutely need these references.

So yes it is funny, but for real-life people who are really searching for information they need and want, this is anything but funny; in fact, it is entirely incoherent. Plus, it is further evidence–to them–that our catalogs do not provide what they want and are obsolete.

Sooner or later, catalogers will have to take the plight of the searchers seriously, and create something that will really serve their needs, not only ours.


by James Weinheimer at August 13, 2014 09:01 PM

ACAT Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

Posting to Autocat

On 8/13/2014 9:09 AM, Elhanan Adler wrote:

LCSH (via Connexion) has
World War, 1939-1945 ǂz Czechoslovakia
but for individual towns:
World War, 1939-1945 ǂz Czech Republic ǂz Prague


(from this I deduce that ǂz Czechoslovakia is still valid for relevant periods, but ǂz Czechoslovakiaǂz [place] should not be used even for the relevant period) however, LCSH has both

World War, 1939-1945 ǂx Campaigns ǂz Czech Republic
World War, 1939-1945 ǂx Campaigns ǂz Czechoslovakia
and both
World War, 1939-1945 ǂx Concentration camps ǂz Czech Republic


World War, 1939-1945 ǂx Concentration camps ǂz Czechoslovakia

Shouldn’t these be ǂz Czechoslovakia only? With perhaps a cross reference?

See the Slavic Cataloging Manual for a discussion of this at

Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic refer to two different geographic areas. Czechoslovakia was created after WWI from various areas, and in 1993, the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As a result, all cities that had been qualified by (Czechoslovakia) had to have other qualifiers, either (Czech Republic) or (Slovakia).

For subject usage, both are valid depending on the geographic area covered. If a book about WWII deals with the entire area of the former Czechoslovakia, you use that heading, but if it deals only with Slovakia or the Czech Republic, you use one of those.

By the way, this is normal practice, but everything works differently from the Russia/Soviet Union/Former Soviet republics headings, which all describe the same geographic heading and as a result, have become very difficult to assign. (This is also covered in the Slavic Cataloging Manual)

How users are supposed to divine any/all of this has always been a mystery to me. In the card catalog, you could put in guide cards that people would find by browsing, and that would explain these matters, e.g. see in the Princeton card catalog the guide cards that explains the earlier treatment for Russia.–%28Without+subdivision%29&g=124531.500000&n=1&r=1.000000&thisname=0000.0001.tiff

The public would inevitably come across these cards while searching, as I described in a podcast “Cataloging Matters no. 18: Problems with Library Catalogs”

With keyword, the traditional method of providing help to people browsing the cards disappeared and nothing has replaced it. Still, people need to be aware of this vital information that helps them search the catalog more effectively.


by James Weinheimer at August 13, 2014 11:04 AM

August 12, 2014

025.431: The Dewey blog

Big data

What's big about big data?  For over a decade, big data has been characterized in terms of 3 Vs:  high volume, high velocity, and high variety.  According to its Webopedia definition,

Big data is a buzzword, or catch-phrase, used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it's difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques. In most enterprise scenarios the data is too big or it moves too fast or it exceeds current processing capacity.  

In other words, when we have data of high volume, at high velocity, and with high variety, we have the potential for big problems.

Because big data is a buzzword, we have chosen to represent it in descriptive terms in the notes for 005.7 Data in computer systems:  "Class here high-volume data sets."   (We have also mapped the LCSH Big data there.)  The import of this note is that big data approximates the whole of 005.7.  Since class-here notes have hierarchical force, big data can also be found throughout the subdivisions of 005.7.  Thus, Large scale and big data: processing and management, a comprehensive work on big data, is classed in 005.7, while Data warehousing in the age of big data is classed in 005.745 Data warehousing.

This doesn't mean that all works on big data are classed in 005.7 and its subdivisions.  (Things are rarely that simple, are they?)  At the centered entry for 004–006, we find the following preference note:  "Unless other instructions are given, class a subject with aspects in two or more subdivisions of 004–006 in the number coming last."   This means that a work treating two or more aspects of computer science, for example, big data (at 005.7) and data mining (at 006.312 Data mining), is classed in the later number, in this case, in 006.312.  Such is the number assigned to Data mining and knowledge discovery for big data: methodologies, challenge and opportunities.

If big data were to come with the potential just for big problems, we would find ways to decrease the volume, velocity, or variety of the data we work with.  But big data also has the potential for big value:  "Big data is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that . . . enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization."  We see this, for example, in Actionable intelligence: a guide to delivering business results with big data fast!, to which  the Library of Congress subject headings, Decision making, Strategic planning, and Big data have been assigned.  By the rule of application, such a work is classed in management and not in computer science.  Specifically, this work has been classed in 658.4038028557 (built with 658.4038 Information management ["Class here gathering of information by management for use in managerial decision making; information resources, knowledge management"], plus notation T1—0285 Computer applications, plus notation 57 from 005.7 Data in computer systems).

by Rebecca at August 12, 2014 07:16 PM

Catalogue & Index Blog


You are warmly invited to our 49th Annual General Meeting 2014. It takes place on:

Tuesday, 9th September 2014
16:45 – 17:45 approximately
University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7LX

Please find the following supporting documents attached to help you prepare:
AGM 2014 (49) agenda
AGM 2013 (48) minutes
Annual report for 2013
CIG accounts of 2013
CIG business plan for 2014

The committee would be happy to receive any points for discussion at the AGM in advance of the meeting, preferably by 31st August 2014. Please send these to:

Esther Arens
CIG Honorary Secretary
15 Rockery Close
Leicester LE5 4DQ

We hope to see many of you there.

Kind regards,

Esther Arens (CIG Honorary Secretary).

by cilipcig at August 12, 2014 12:55 PM

August 11, 2014

OCLC Cataloging and Metadata News

July 2014 data update now available for the WorldCat knowledge base

The WorldCat knowledge base continues to grow with new providers and collections added monthly.  The details for July updates are now available in the full release notes

August 11, 2014 08:30 PM

August 10, 2014



I’m working through the results of a survey on metadata practices with digital scholarship. I asked a question about why metadata services aren’t provided. Several answers were of the variation that administration didn’t support metadata services. The most negative answer recorded was that administration ignored cataloging and metadata. I’ve heard this complaint before at various conferences and in blog posts.

Before delving into this, I need to make a detour to a conversation I had with a colleague after work. We hope to create a new position for a data management librarian. We want this future person to be sort of a jack of all trades in relation to data management. This person would have a social or hard sciences background, be able to talk to faculty, coordinate with various key people in the library and on campus, ensure the data management repository suits the needs of our researchers on campus, provide training, etc. etc. etc. We finished our wish list which made us pause. We both realized that this is a new type of librarian job. This person would have to bridge technology and outreach and be comfortable in a variety of working environments.

In a sense, we wanted someone with a working knowledge of:

Outreach and marketing, Training and education, Documentation, Technologies and technical infrastructures, Assessment, evaluation, and audit methods, procedures and their applications, Higher education research policies and procedures, Project management, Emerging technologies, Current and upcoming trend, Faculty (and yes they deserve a category unto themselves :)), Licensing and copyright.

I’m probably missing a lot on my list. And there are the “soft” qualities such as being flexible, dynamic, communicative, and the like. I began thinking of this list and realized that this is much of what is also demanded of many library jobs today including catalog/metadata library positions where metadata services are offered. Metadata services need to reach out to fellow staff and the community; generally metadata services are being marketed to the data management and digital humanists crowds at research or liberal arts universities. There’s documentation to be created and updated. You need to know various technologies and infrastructures to understand such things as how metadata is being indexed. Services imply that you’re helping people with their projects — project management. You’re always on the lookout for better technologies and trends in the profession. This is a lot to do for one person. Imagine when your catalog/metadata is the only one trying to pull off a variety of jobs and trying to do all of these things for all the jobs they’ve had to inherit because of downsizing.

My guess is that many library administrators realize the changing trends in cataloging and metadata but haven’t quite grasped the enormity of the various functions involved in carrying out a program called metadata services. I would say this is true in the libraries where I have worked. It is not that administrators ignore cataloging and metadata. They are unaware of what is involved to create, implement and sustain metadata services. Of course, not all library administrations are similar. I would hope that those administrators who purposely ignore cataloging and metadata are few and far between.

One of the ways to bring to the forefront the various functions and the importance of metadata services is to be active in outreach, marketing and assessment. This is particular true at my library where assessment is a big deal. In a sense, it is necessary to market metadata services to library administrators in addition to those at whom these services are directed. Further it is necessary to market these services in a language that library administrators understand. At my library, this means assessment as well as describing these services in relation to the university’s academic priorities and what the provost has set as the goal for our head of libraries. Granted this is far from easy and requires years of practice. But I would suspect that it’s worth it. We’re just beginning to think of assessment. But a good example is a project done by a colleague in eresources. Her team created a massive analysis project that made the recommendation to discontinue Web of Science. This document was well received and in a language (assessment) that library and university administrators understood and supported at the end of the day. In my next post, I want to look at ways to assess and evaluate metadata services.

Filed under: cataloging, Metadata Tagged: metadata services

by Jen at August 10, 2014 07:09 PM

August 08, 2014

First Thus

RDA-L Re: Title translated by the publisher

Posting to RDA-L

On 8/7/2014 11:39 PM, Mark Anders Harrison wrote:

1. It is my expectation – my presupposition – that while MARC may be limiting, these distinctions in a database designed for RDA would be cast in language that the average user would see and find helpful. While we as cataloguers might use our technical vocabulary, the user might see something like: “Translation of title” and “Title in Latin alphabet” (I’m not sure if the general public going to a public library know what “transliteration” means). I assumed this in part because of the references in RDA to particular variations like “spine” title. This could be particularly valuable in a number of books I’ve catalogued where it is actually difficult to figure out what the full, or “official” (aka title proper) is. If a bibliographic record in database designed for RDA will not provide such information to the end user, then yeah, we should really think about whether we want to keep preserving such distinctions.

Of course, the native format of how a database (or individual record) is structured has no bearing on what the user of the database sees. For instance, a specific bit of information may be labelled in the database something like “ap1″ which means nothing to anyone, except to the people who work with the database itself, it speaks volumes. In this case, “ap1″ may mean “first year of publication” but the database was designed by Italians (anno di pubblicazione). The corresponding information linked to “ap1″ and its display in the user interface can quite literally be anything someone wants; it can be in Italian, or in any other language perhaps based on the searcher’s IP address or a cookie in the browser. It can be an image or a sound. In mobile technology, it can even be a vibration.

Therefore, there is no need to wait for new formats to change how the information is displayed to the users. That just takes a few seconds. But I think that these distinctions are almost always meaningless to the public and becoming more meaningless all the time, whereas those same bits of information may be vital for the librarians.

2. With that in mind, I figured that if I brought this to my friend’s attention, I would give him the information he needed. I wouldn’t expect him to just know, but if such distinctions were going to translate into entries in a record that he could use, then he might just care. On top of this, I am talking about a friend who is quite likely to easily grasp the distinctions we’re making. I have another friend who, while quite brilliant, wouldn’t care in the least and might have to be dragged into such a discussion. I wouldn’t do that.

That really could be interesting and important, to discover whether such distinctions make any difference to real users, of if they just ignore them, much as we ignore all kinds of things we do not understand in Google searches.

Concerning directions in cataloging rules, I think it is inevitable that sooner or later, the various pressures will force catalogers to re-open Lubetzky’s maxim, “Is this rule necessary?” for the early 21st century, but they will have to include much more than he did: e.g. “Is this subfield/indicator necessary?” “Is this bibliographical distinction necessary?” “Is this cataloging practice necessary?” etc. plus “How does the existence of new technologies affect these considerations?”

And finally, to determine the usefulness of all of this based not only on some abstract notion of a “user” that exists only in theory, but for much more specific communities. I can only hope that one of the most important communities will be that of librarians and catalogers, who–it must be admitted–use the catalog in ways that are quite different from anyone else.


by James Weinheimer at August 08, 2014 11:25 AM

August 07, 2014

First Thus

RDA-L Re: Title translated by the publisher

Posting to RDA-L

On 8/7/2014 5:21 PM, Wagner, Leslie wrote:

For the Hebrew title, would a transliterated title be used in the 246 if no transliteration of the title is offered? If it is offered, might there be additional 246 fields to allow for varying transliterations/spellings?

For a transliterated title, it depends on how you want to do it. I have never entered a non-Roman script title into a MARC library catalog, so I don’t know if it is still done with 245/880 linking fields or not. I have always transliterated using the LC transliteration tables. Since most databases are now Unicode compliant there seems to me to be little reason for the 245/880 linking fields any more, but there could be reasons I am unaware of. I know there have been some discussions about getting rid of transliteration practices and whether it is necessary but that is another topic.

For translated titles that appear on the item, it is necessary to decide if they are actual parallel titles or just another title on the item. If the cataloger supplies the translation, it goes into 242.

Since the final result is merely another title added entry that is searched by the user in exactly the same way as other titles (i.e. “Find title”), and that the user experiences in the same way as all other title added entries (because nobody understands the labels “Uniform title” “Parallel title” “Spine title” etc.), I personally think that a lot of this discussion is rather academic and of exceedingly little importance to the public. On the other hand, the distinctions are important to catalogers for reasons I have mentioned already.

While these considerations may be diverting as an intellectual exercise, I am still hoping that there could be a discussion concerning the actual utility of many of our current practices and the need to continue them (or not) instead of even more abstruse discussions on topics that the public neither needs nor wants.

“Does a user (or librarian) need to this information by “Find title” or is it superfluous?” is one of the questions that would be interesting on its own.


by James Weinheimer at August 07, 2014 05:45 PM

RDA-L Re: Title translated by the publisher

Posting to RDA-L

On 8/7/2014 3:33 PM, Mark Anders Harrison wrote:

I have a friend of 40 years who chairs the Jewish studies program at California State University Long Beach. He’s not a librarian, but I might show him the language and examples used in RDA and see what he thinks just to get a different POV. He has a mind for debating possible interpretations and was a lawyer before deciding to teach instead. It might be interesting to get a academic’s POV.

I would predict that the reply from almost any non-librarian will be: “What is a parallel title?”

These issues are highly technical and mostly do not matter to the users, who are most interested in access, e.g. can I find this item by searching for this title? People don’t understand various types of titles: parallel, alternative, series, running, spine, etc.–and I have never met a single member of the public who cares. I have found some who have cared about earlier/later names of serials, but those people also far preferred latest entry treatment to successive entry.

If we step back from these issues to re-evaluate the purposes of why these titles are input into the record in the first place, things become clearer. In this case, we are discussing a book entirely in Hebrew but it has a title in English–what can be the utility of that title in English?

I would hazard a guess that it is for marketing purposes. If someone searches in English there will be a chance (but still not much of a chance) that they will find this book in Hebrew. Perhaps someone will then buy a copy without noticing that the book is in a language incomprehensible to them. Of course, if this is the purpose, the language of the title would not have to be English, but any language at all could potentially widen the market for the book: from Chinese to Egyptian hieroglyphs to Klingon!

An alternative case could perhaps be made that someone might use English keywords on a topic that interests them, find this book because of the English title, and they could then find someone to translate it for them. Such a line of thinking seems a bit forced, although it would still be good to hear from a real user. (I don’t want to consider Google Translate for the moment!)

So, it seems to me that the primary purpose of the English title is for the publisher to sell more books and its use for “discovery purposes” will range from very limited to nil. So, the logical follow-up is: who needs this title?

The cataloger needs to know about the title for identification purposes, even if it is just a note that says “Title also in English” without transcribing the title itself.

Otherwise, it is only a matter of differences in computer coding (which indicators of the 246? even 740?) which are all searched in exactly the same times in exactly the same ways. These concerns matter very little to the users, who see all kinds of things on the Amazons, Googles, HathiTrust and article databases.


by James Weinheimer at August 07, 2014 03:04 PM

Catalogue & Index Blog


A brand new title from Facet Publishing has arrived on my desk. Here are the details:

Linked data for libraries, archives and museums: how to clean, link and publish your metadata / by Seth van Hooland and Ruben Verborgh. London : Facet Publishing, 2014. xvii, 254 pages. ISBN: 9781856049641

If you are interested in writing a review of this book for our E-journal, Catalogue & index, or would like further information, please contact me:

Neil Nicholson, Book Reviews Editor, Catalogue & index

by cilipcig at August 07, 2014 02:28 PM

Mod Librarian

5 Things Thursday: Rare Materials, Archivists and Archives, OCLC

5 Things Thursday: Rare Materials, Archivists and Archives, OCLC

Here are five more things:

  1. OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights (Issue 13) is now available and features interesting articles on digital preservation and Rangananthan as well as scholarly records.
  2. Archivally Correct talks about changes for visitors at the National Archives.
  3. Some great presentations from the Women Archivists Roundtable.
  4. Standard Citation Forms for Rare Materials Cataloging are…

View On WordPress

August 07, 2014 12:32 PM

August 06, 2014

Catalogue & Index Blog


CIG are pleased to announce that we are able to sponsor a full delegate place at our conference in Canterbury in September 2014.  A full programme can be found here.

Applicants must be CIG members (though CILIP membership is not required). We would like the sponsored delegates to write a report/summary to be publicised on our blog and/or journal. Your application (ca. 200 words) should demonstrate why you would like to attend, how you would use your attendance to highlight or promote CIG areas of interest and why you would not be able to attend without CIG sponsorship. Please submit your application to the Honorary Secretary Esther Arens ( by Monday, 18 August 2014.

In addition there are still some places remaining for the conference. The registration deadline is September 1st 2014.

by cilipcig at August 06, 2014 11:25 AM

First Thus

RDA-L Title translated by the publisher

Posting to RDA-L

On 05/08/2014 7.52, Ghada Dimashk wrote:

I have some books from the Center for Arab Unity Studies, the book is originally published in Arabic, but the publisher here translated the Arabic title into English and it is found in verso title page, knowing that the text is not translated into English.
In this case, should we mention the English title in Field 246 indicator 1 (parallel title)? or should we mention it as a note? or can we mention it in 246 $i title translated by publisher?

This used to happen all the time during the period of the Soviet Union. The title in the colophon was almost always in Russian, no matter what was the language of the item. We made a reference for the title in the colophon, e.g. in the Slavic Cataloging Manual:

Following this, you could also describe it as placement in the item, e.g. 246 1/ $iTitle on t.p. verso:

or even as
246 15
considering it as an added t.p.

But, if the question is: should you add the title at all? In my opinion, absolutely. It is one of the titles found on the item and should be recorded somewhere–even as a note. Maybe it will not be so much helpful for a user to access the item since it is entirely in Arabic, but without a doubt, it sure helps the poor catalogers and librarians determine that it is the same thing or not. If a title appears clearly and prominently on an item and is ignored in the record, the catalogers/librarians (not a user) could wonder if they are looking at the same thing or something different.

Wanting to save the time of the cataloger is very important–especially today.


by James Weinheimer at August 06, 2014 07:47 AM