Library of Congress: Future of Library Catalogs

Jay writes "Managing Information recently pointed out that the Library of Congress has published a report titled 'The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools' that 'challenges assumptions about the traditional library catalog and proposes new directions for the research library catalog in the digital era.'. Excerpt: 'Commissioned by the Library and prepared by Associate University Librarian Karen Calhoun of Cornell University, the report assesses the impact of Internet on the traditional online public access catalog and concludes that library patrons want easy-to-use catalogs that are accessible on the Web.'

Read the full report at
The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools."

The Future of Cataloging

Dr Web's Domain pointed the way to a neat set of articles from Library of Congress Professional Guild.

"The Future of Cataloging," by Dr. Deanna B. Marcum, Associate Librarian of Congress.

"Will Google's Keyword Searching Eliminate the Need for LC Cataloging and Classification?" by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.


"Survey of Library User Studies" also by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

New essay! The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. Final Report. March 17, 2006. Prepared for the Library of Congress by Karen Calhoun. A Critical Review by Thomas Mann.


According to the Calhoun report, library operations that are not digital, that do not result in
resources that are remotely accessible, that involve professional human judgement or expertise,
or that require conceptual categorization and standardization rather than relevance ranking of
keywords, do not fit into its proposed "leadership" strategy. This strategy itself, however, is
based on an inappropriate business model – and a misrepresentation of that business model to
begin with. The Calhoun report draws unjustified conclusions about the digital age, inflates
wishful thinking, fails to make critical distinctions, and disregards (as well as mischaracterizes)
an alternative "niche" strategy for research libraries, to promote scholarship (rather than increase
"market position"). Its recommendations to eliminate Library of Congress Subject Headings, and
to use "fast turnaround" time as the "gold standard" in cataloging, are particularly unjustified,
and would have serious negative consequences for the capacity of research libraries to promote
scholarly research.


WorldCatr: OCLC WorldCat Goes Library 2.0

OCLC sent out an email to their customers today informing them of new features added to WorldCat. Namely, users can now add reviews, notes and tables of contents to WorldCat records. No word yet on when users will be able to post pictures of themselves reading the books or Google maps of book locations.

User-contributed content helps extend the OCLC cooperative to include record-enhancing information from non-cataloging library professionals as well as library users. For example, family members may add notes to records for genealogical materials about their families, or community members may comment on historical photographs or documents from digital collections about their communities that reside in the WorldCat database.

Idea Contest Seeks Taggers

LibrErica writes: "Last fall, people from all 50 states contributed more than 22,000 smart, creative ideas for strengthening the economy and improving life for working men and women and their families during the SEIU's idea contest for the best idea since sliced bread. Three winners were selected, but the contest administrators don't want all those other ideas to go to waste. is seeking volunteer taggers so that the ideas can be easily accessed by subject, allowing policy makers, government officials and citizens to find ideas about education or the environment, for instance. Classifying information into subject headings is something that librarians are uniquely qualified to do. Librarians to the rescue! If you have a spare moment, won't you visit and tag an idea or two ?"

We owe a great debt to the brilliant, if flawed, Melvil Dewey

Greg Hill, director of Fairbanks North Star Borough libraries, has A Column in yesterday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Melvil Dewey. He says even with all his shortcomings, Dewey's legacy, an elegant scheme for organizing knowledge logically, remains and overshadows his frailties.


The Straight Dope on Librarians

Jaclyn Mussehl writes "Another library-related article from
The Straight Dope
, this time about the Dewey Decimal System."


Cataloger Discovers Lord Byron Poem

stevenj writes "A poem by Lord Byron has been discovered in a 19th-century book within the archives of University College London. It is the only known manuscript of the untitled poem that appeared in print four years later, in 1816. It was assumed that the original had been lost, but a librarian stumbled across it during a routine cataloguing. Dated April 19, 1812, the poet signed his name in Greek characters. The story appears at:"


LoC says NO to cataloging Italian Books

kathleen writes "Library of Congress says NO to cataloging Italian books.

Saw this on H-Net, but can't find anything at the LOC page to confirm Dr.Connell's notice. Comments welcome.

Dear friends of Italy:

Libraries throughout the United States that have programs to acquire Italian
books now face a major funding crisis because of an arbitrary decision by the
Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress, which is in many respects the world's most important
library, has decided to stop cataloging Italian books.

Meanwhile, books that come in from other countries around the world continue
to be routinely cataloged in Washington at taxpayers' expense.

Cataloging information is made available at no extra charge to smaller
libraries throughout the United States under existing programs, but this will
no longer be the case for Italian language books. It is anticipated that
each library will have to pay an exorbitant fee of almost $15.00 to access
the cataloging information for each new Italian book that it acquires.

All members of the educated public who want American libraries to continue to
acquire Italian books should contact Dr. James H. Billington, who is the
Librarian of Congress ([email protected]), and especially their Congressmen--to
whom the Librarian reports.


William J. Connell
Professor of History and La Motta Chair in Italian Studies
Director, Alberto Italian Studies Institute
Seton Hall University
South Orange, NJ 07079

H-Italy is a member of H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine. H-Italy offers scholars a central source for information in the field of Italian history."


OZ National archives prepares to go digital

Computer World Australia Reports he National Archives of Australia (NAA) in Canberra is set to launch its digital archiving service on new infrastructure.

Lola McKinnon, acting director of the National Archives' digital records projects and operations, said the rate of creation of digital information has spurred a set of "e-permanence" products and guidelines, which is the framework for developing the e-records management system and maintaining it.

"Digital records are subject to the same constraint as paper, which may be made available to the public," McKinnon told Computerworld. "But most records are kept 'private' for 30 years, which makes managing the two types of information a challenge."

Call Number Games & Quizzes

Do you know someone who needs a refresher course in understanding Library of Congress and/or SuDoc call numbers? They might as well have some fun doing it. Thanks to AbsTracked, Here are some links to quizzes, games and tutorials.



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