Monthly Archives: July 2013

E-Resource Batch Cataloguing

E-Resources always comes with cataloguing records in files.  Managing the batch cataloguing projects becomes part of the regular jobs in cataloguing departments.  Therefore, it requires a systematic approach for the tasks.  Kent State University States has developed a checklist to handle batch cataloguing jobs of eBook.  The checklist has proven to be an effective management tool and helped make library e-resources more discoverable.

The checklist is downloadable at here:

An article written by Roman S. Panchyshyn with the title: “Asking the Right Questions: An E-Resource Checklist for Documenting Cataloguing Decisions for Batch Cataloguing Projects” was published in the Jan-March 2013 issue of “Technical Services Quarterly”.  The article has more details about checklist and the experiences that the university library has gone through.

Application of Linked Data in BBC

BBC is one of the pioneers who uses the Semantic Web technology to enhance the user experience in their website. This video shows how the BBC’s /programmes and /music sites make use of rich RDF data, as well as giving a demo of a simple mashup of user reviews using SPARQL and the Talis Platform.

W3C: Semantic Web

We have been hearing the Semantic Web is going to be the next phase of the World Wide Web, the W3.0. What is Semantic Web? The standard answer is that it is the status of ‘Web of data’

W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) is an organisation leading the full potential of World Wide Web by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth the web. In its webpage of Semantic Web, it says:

“The term “Semantic Web” refers to W3C vision of the Web of linked data. Semantic Web technologies enable people to:
– create data stores on the Web,
– build vocabularies,
– and write rules for handling data.”

It will be easier to understand if we look at a traditional library collection. We build our collection – that is the data stores. We use standard vocabularies to describe the items in our collections. We follow the established metadata standards (AACR, RDA, MARC21, Dublin Core). These are the agreed rules of handling data.

In order to build a web of data, there are four areas to look at:

“1. Linked Data: The Semantic Web is a Web of data — of dates and titles and part numbers and chemical properties and any other data one might conceive of. RDF provides the foundation for publishing and linking your data. Various technologies allow you to embed data in documents (RDFa, GRDDL) or expose what you have in SQL databases, or make it available as RDF files.

2. Vocabularies: At times it may be important or valuable to organize data. Using OWL (to build vocabularies, or “ontologies”) and SKOS (for designing knowledge organization systems) it is possible to enrich data with additional meaning, which allows more people (and more machines) to do more with the data.

3. Query: Query languages go hand-in-hand with databases. If the Semantic Web is viewed as a global database, then it is easy to understand why one would need a query language for that data. SPARQL is the query language for the Semantic Web.

4. Inference: Near the top of the Semantic Web stack one finds inference — reasoning over data through rules. W3C work on rules, primarily through RIF and OWL, is focused on translating between rule languages and exchanging rules among different systems.”


WorldCat Identities

Searches in standard OPACs is always about the resources or document. WorldCat Identities is an alternative search engine that provides you the details about the identities in WorldCat database. The identities includes person and corporate body, real or fictitious. When you search for a name, the result data pull from the WorldCat database and other resource in one page. The summary page will list out the overview, publications timeline, works about the person, works by the person, related identities, subjects associated to the person, various form of names in different language.

The WorldCat Identities is also incorporated in the (the OPAC of WorldCat). You can get it from the Details Section in a detail record display. There is a pull-down in the ‘Find more information about’ box under the ‘All creators/contributors’ field.

There is always a creative way to present the data from our catalogue and associated resources. WorldCat Identities service is one good example.


WorldCat Identities search page
Example: Search for ‘Mark Twain’

Keyword Search vs Subject Search by LCSH

In respond to the thinking of “Google makes books easily accessible”, Dr. Thomas Mann, in his paper “What is Distinctive about the Library of Congress in Both its Collections and its Means of Access to Them…” (2009) compared the keyword search and subject search based on LCSH (p.11-14):

“Tens of thousands of examples are possible here; for the present we will have to let one suffice: the subject cataloging access to books on “Afghanistan” that is infinitely more efficient in providing an overview of the whole scope of our relevant collections than could be provided by either Google or Amazon search mechanisms. And I need not emphasize how important it is to our national interest that Congress, and scholars generally, have access to as much knowledge on this subject as we can possibly provide.

A researcher using LC’s online catalog can easily call up a browse-display such as thefollowing:

Afghanistan—Constitutional history
Afghanistan—Defenses—History—20th Century—Sources
Afghanistan—Description and travel
Afghanistan—Economic conditions
Afghanistan—Economic Policy
Afghanistan—Emigration and immigration

……. <snipped>

Such “road map” arrays in our OPAC enable scholars who are entering a new subject area to recognize what they cannot specify in advance. They enable scholars to see “the shape of the elephant” of the book literature on their topic early in their research.

Neither Google nor Amazon makes such systematic overviews of subjects accessible at all, let alone “easily accessible.”

Subject cataloging in our OPAC accomplishes the goal of extending the scope of scholars’ inquiries by showing them more of the full range of what is available than they know how to ask for before they are exposed to it. LCSH cataloging enables them both to recognize a much broader range of topical options within their subjects that would not occur to them otherwise; and it also enables them to pick those aspects of interest in a way that separates them from other aspects that would only be in the way, as clutter, without this roster of conceptual distinctions to choose from.

…… <snipped>

… LC now has a new way (the Subject Keyword option in our OPAC’s Basic Search menu) to bring up, systematically, a browse-menu of all other headings in which Afghanistan is itself a subdivision of another topic, for example:

Abandoned children—Afghanistan
Administrative law—Afghanistan


Buddhist antiquities—Afghanistan
Cabinet officers—Afghanistan—Biography


Muslim women—Afghanistan
Muslim women—Education—Afghanistan—Bibliography
Rural women—Afghanistan—Social conditions
Sex discrimination against women—Afghanistan
Single women—Legal status, laws, etc.–Afghanistan
Women—Afghanistan—Social conditions

…. <snipped>”

LCSH: Pre- vs. Post-Coordination

In 2007, Library of Congress released a report: Library of Congress Subject Headings: Pre- vs. Post-Coordination and Related Issues.

The report lists the pros and cons of the two different approaches. For those who are interested to know the comparison, the report is a ‘must read’.

In summary, the LC concluded that though the pre-coordinated system is still the best way to build a subject heading system for such a wide scale. The pre-coordinated system provides a best view of the context of subject matters of the work being described. To quoted an example cited in the Appendix II of the report:

‘The work “Evitas Geheimnis” has the following subject headings:

600 10 Peron, Eva, ‡d 1919-1952 ‡x Travel ‡z Switzerland.
600 10 Peron, Juan Domingo, ‡d 1895-1974.
651 _0 Argentina ‡x Ethnic relations.
650 _0 Voyages and travels.
651 _0 Argentina ‡x Foreign relations ‡z Switzerland.
651 _0 Switzerland ‡x Foreign relations ‡z Argentina.
650 _0 Immigrants ‡z Argentina ‡x History ‡y 20th century.
650 _0 Bank accounts ‡z Switzerland.
650 _0 Antisemitism ‡z Europe ‡x History.
651 _0 Argentina ‡x Emigration and immigration.
651 _0 Germany ‡x Emigration and immigration.
650 _0 War criminals ‡z Germany ‡x History ‡y 20th century.
650 _0 War criminals ‡z Argentina ‡x History ‡y 20th century.
650 _0 Nazis ‡z Argentina ‡x History.

After removing the duplicate headings, there are 20 separate concepts represented.

20th century
Bank accounts
Emigration and immigration
Ethnic relations
Foreign relations
Peron, Eva
Peron, Juan Domingo
Voyages and travels
War criminals

This means there are 2,432,902,008,176,640,000 possible combinations of these terms. There are quite a few chances to get some false drops in this set of terms.’