Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The hidden costs of ebooks for academic libraries

Despite the convenience and attraction of e-books, they actively discourage intense reading and deep learning, according to Peter C. Herman, in a Septemer 29, 2014 post to the Times of San Diego.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Cost of Inaction

We all know that budgets are tight and it’s not always easy to integrate preservation work, especially when it comes to multimedia. However, failing to implement a preservation and/or conservation strategy can have its own costs. To help determine what that cost is, as well as to help prioritize collections, AVPreserve has developed the Cost of Inaction Calculator (COI Calculator).

While AVPreserve is a firm that works with institutions to help them better manage, use, distribute, and preserve their media assets and metadata, "they have developed the COI Calculator as a free tool to help users analyze multimedia collections and make more educated decisions about what to digitize, what to perform lower levels of preservation on, and what to leave in its native state. According to their site, the COI Calculator "helps organizations analyze the implications of varying levels of preservation action when dealing with legacy audiovisual collections. COI adds a data point to ROI, or Return on Investment, and helps articulate what stands to be lost or gained in terms of access, intellect and finances based on different scenarios around digitization, physical storage, digital storage, and media longevity." To help explain the goals of the Cost of Inaction Calculator, they have put together a short video that can be viewed here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Draft LC-PCC Policy Statement on facsimiles and reproductions available for comment

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) has issued a draft LC-PCC Policy Statement which outlines proposed exceptions to the RDA instructions regarding facsimiles and reproductions. RDA currently instructs catalogers to describe a facsimile or reproduction by "record[ing] the data relating to the facsimile or reproduction in the appropriate element. Record any data relating to the original manifestation as an element of a related work or related manifestation, as applicable." The draft Policy Statement proposes deviating from this instruction by recording certain elements as they apply to the original resource, and using the MARC 533 field to record certain other elements as they pertain to the reproduction, mirroring LC's practice under AACR2 chapter 11. In addition, the draft Policy Statement sets forth guidelines on a provider-neutral approach to cataloging print-on-demand materials and photocopies.

The PCC is soliciting feedback on the proposed Policy Statement until September 26. To read the draft, go to the PCC's homepage ( and look under "What's New."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cataloger's Desktop interface changes and training resources.

The Library of Congress is rolling out a new interface for the Cataloger's Desktop product on September 10, 2014. This new interface will be simpler and cleaner; focus will be on search and retrieval instead of table of contents browsing.  The text of the announcement is posted at

The Cataloger's Desktop Training and Tutorials page provides links to presentation slides and recordings from recent webinars, plus links to "Quick Tips" documentation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

OLCC MARC Format Update 2014, phase 2

OCLC Technical Bulletin 264 describes changes to the MARC 21 formats for bibliographic, authority and holdings data to be implemented in the near future. Things we are most likely to see in our day-to-day cataloging work include:
  • Addition of $q Qualifying information to identifier fields such as 020 (ISBN), 024 (Other standard number) and 027 (Standard Technical Report Number). 
  • Definition of first indicators for field 588 (Source of Description) to provide display constants. First indicator 0 will generate a display constant meaning source of description; first indicator 1 will generate a display constant meaning latest issue consulted. CONSER participants should wait for notification by the Library of Congress and OCLC before using these new indicators.
  • Data recorded in Marc field 265 (Source for Acquisition/Subscription Address) will be converted to field 037 $b (Source of Acquisition/Source of Stock Number/Acquisition). Marc field 265 will be invalidated
  • $c (Location of Meeting) has been re-defined as repeatable for for many fields including 110, 111, 610, 611, 710 and 711)
Changes to the MARC format for authority data include:
  • Addition of $q (Qualifying information) in fields 020 and 024
  • Repeatability of $c (Location of meeting) in fields  110, 111, 410, 411, 510 and 511
Additional MARC fields relating to audience and creator characteristics have also been defined. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Videorecording of June BIBFRAME forum now available online

If you were unable to attend the most recent forum of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) at the ALA annual meeting in June, a videorecording is now available online at The main speakers were Sally McCallum, Kevin Ford, Andrea Leigh (all of LC) and Philip Schreur of Stanford University Libraries. I was particularly interested in Kevin Ford's live demonstration of the prototype BIBFRAME editor, which became available a few months ago. Unfortunately, all the viewer sees during the live demo is Kevin typing on his computer; the screen he is typing on is not shown in the recording. For me, not being able to see the interface or what was being typed made the live demo worthless. This is clearly a case of "you had to be there."

Philip Schreur presented an overview of a two-year grant-funded project in which Cornell University Library, Stanford University Libraries, and the Harvard Library Innovation Lab are collaborating. The goal of the project, called Linked Data for Libraries (LD4L for short) is to "create a Scholarly Resource Semantic Information Store (SRSIS) model that works both within individual institutions and through a coordinated, extensible network of Linked Open Data to capture the intellectual value that librarians and other domain experts and scholars add to information resources when they describe, annotate, organize, select, and use those resources, together with the social value evident from patterns of usage."

Andrea Leigh described the background of a BIBFRAME AV modeling study (available at The report was commissioned by the BIBFRAME team within the Network Development and Standards Office at the Library of Congress and aims to identify the content description needs of the moving image and recorded sound communities and specify how those requirements can be met within a generic bibliographic data model like BIBFRAME. The presentation did a good job of outlining the many complex challenges associated with the description of audio-visual resources, but did not hint at how these challenges might be addressed by BIBFRAME.   

The question-and-answer portion of the session is not particularly useful because the questions cannot be heard and no effort was made to repeat them so that they would be audible for the recording.

Monday, July 28, 2014

RDA news

Two recent developments around RDA may be of interest.

RDA conversion of the LC/NACO Authority file, Phase 3

Gary Strawn posted the following announcement concerning plans for phase 3 of the LC/NACO Authority files via several e-mail lists. Permission for re-posting to other lists without prior approval was given.  The RDA phase 3 documents available via the link in Strawn's e-mail provide further detail as to how some of these tasks might be accomplished. Enrichment of authority records using data mined from the textual 670 fields is an interesting possibility.

Following the successful completion of phases 1 and 2 of the conversion of the LC/NACO Authority File for use under RDA, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging has appointed a task group to consider additional changes to the file. This work is to constitute "Phase 3" of the preparation of the LC/NACO Authority File. This task group's final report is due by March 15, 2015; the report is to propose a schedule for performing the work. After receiving this report, PCC will decide how to proceed.

The most important single task to be achieved during Phase 3 is the re-coding as RDA of those AACR2 authority records that bear no indication that the 1XX cannot be used under RDA. The task group is considering other changes that can be made to records in the authority file at the same time. Some of these changes will be related directly to the adoption of RDA; but this is not necessarily the case. Because millions of records will need to be re-issued to achieve the main goal, other clean-up projects that affect a large number of records can be considered.

The task group has so far investigated the following additional tasks (in some cases the investigation is still very much in progress):
* Enhanced generation of the 046 field in authority records for personal names
* Re-formulating older occurrences of the 678 field as 670
* Programmatic switching of terms for relationships, following on changes made to RDA earlier this year
* Programmatic switching of standard terms for music medium of performance, also following changes made to RDA earlier this year; corresponding generation of the 372 field
* Adding ISNIs in the 024 field
* Re-categorize texts used in subfield $c of personal names
* Regularizing the recording of names in the 370 field

Not all of this work will necessarily be held until the primary job of Phase 3 is undertaken. For example, several thousand records with 678 fields have already been adjusted; and changes to music medium of performance will probably be undertaken as soon as the specifications have been approved.

The task group is preparing documents that describe in detail each aspect of its work. Three of these documents (corresponding to the first three bullet points in the above list) are now available for comment. These documents, and the group's charge (including a list of members), can be found at this site:

The group invites discussion on the PCC and/or RDA lists of these documents. The group also actively encourages suggestions for additional automated manipulations that might be made to the LC/NACO authority file as part of this project.

Additional documents will be posted to this site as they are prepared, and discussion of them invited as well. The group has created a Twitter account that will be used to broadcast notifications of new and revised documents: rdaphase3. Interested parties are encouraged to follow that Twitter account, to be up-to-date on the group's activities.

In its work, the task group has uncovered, and expects to continue to uncover, a number of categories of problems that cannot be handled by a program, but could be cleared up by a group of dedicated volunteers. For example, the program that made a preliminary examination of the 370 field identified a large number of fields with subfield $2 reading "naf" or "lcsh" for which no corresponding authority record could be found. Each of these must be reviewed, and an appropriate action taken; but there is far more work to do than the task group can achieve on its own.  All NACO participants--at either the individual or institution level--will be encouraged to assist in the work.  Other likely projects include: authority records for personal names for which the conversion program could not generate an 046 field for one reason or another, but which appear to contain date-shaped information; records whose 100 has only a birth date but whose 670 fields contain a death date. There will no doubt be many more such projects. The task group will announce each clean-up project as it prepares the unnecessarily underlying problem reports and suitable instructions.

RDA toolkit technical committee formed

James Hennelly, Managing editor of ALA Digital References recently announced the formation of an RDA Toolkit Technical Committee via several e-mail lists.  The purpose of the committee is to address "open technical issues related to the application of RDA, RDA Toolkit and the RDA registry.  The full text of the announcement and a membership list for the committee are available via the RDA Toolkit blog.