The ILS the digital library and the research library

The ILS, the digital library and the research library. Great question from Lorcan Dempsey

" Responsibility for the integrated library system (or library management system) appears to be a part of each post, yet it is not foregrounded in the position description. For these libraries, maybe, the ILS is a necessary part of doing business, but is not the site of major development. Designing and developing digital infrastructure now includes the ILS but is no longer led by it. Or maybe there is some other reason .... ?"

Can Full-Text Search Replace Metadata?

From a review by Jeffrey Beall of a presentation by Eric Hellman at ALA Annual 2011 that touched upon that:
Hellman's talk was among the most arrogant and flippant I had ever attended at an ALA conference. His talk was supposed to be about linked data, but he exploited his position as speaker to unwarrantedly trash libraries, library standards, and librarians.
By way of GMANE, you can read what the folks at AUTOCAT had to say in discussing the matter further. Links to the slides used are also discussed in that AUTOCAT thread.

Suggested RDA Improvements

Mac Elrod of Special Libraries Cataloguing responds to Tuesday's announcement that implementation of RDA, the successor to AACR2r, has been recommended to be delayed until 2013.

Open data’s role in transforming our bibliographic framework

Open data’s role in transforming our bibliographic framework
If you also see potential in open library data, now is an excellent time to join in the discussions that the Library of Congress and OCLC are inviting. The more these and other leading organizations in the library community see how open data can advance the goals of the community, and how open data initiatives can get the support needed to be sustainable, the richer the knowledge base that our evolving bibliographic framework will support.


The search for a minimum viable record

The search for a minimum viable record
The Open Library has run into these complexities and challenges as it seeks to create "one web page for every book ever published."

George Oates, Open Library lead, recently gave a presentation in which she surveyed audience members, asking them to list the five fields they thought necessary to adequately describe a book. In other words, what constitutes a "minimum viable record"? Akin to the idea of the "minimum viable product" for getting a web project coded and deployed quickly, the minimum viable record (MVR) could be a way to facilitate an easier exchange of information between library catalogs and information systems.

In the interview below, Oates explains the issues and opportunities attached to categorization and MVRs.


How the Modern Web Environment is Reinventing the Theory of Cataloguing

Panizzi, Lubetzky, and Google: How the Modern Web Environment is Reinventing the Theory of Cataloguing: This paper uses cataloguing theory to interpret the partial results of an exploratory study of university students using Web search engines and Web-based OPACs. The participants expressed frustration with the OPAC; while they sensed that it was "organized," they were unable to exploit that organization and attributed their failure to the inadequacy of their own skills. In the Google searches, on the other hand, students were getting the support traditionally advocated in catalogue design. Google gave them starting points: resources that broadly addressed their requirements, enabling them to get a greater sense of the knowledge structure that would help them to increase their precision in subsequent searches. While current OPACs apparently fail to provide these starting points, the effectiveness of Google is consistent with the aims of cataloguing as expressed in the theories of Anthony Panizzi and Seymour Lubetzky

Libraries + RFID + Augmented Reality = ?

Okay, so Apple has a patent on blah-dee-blah and the next-gen-iProducts will have an RFID chip onboard, but what could this mean for libraries?

I'm not familiar with what you can do with RFID, but I was wondering if there would be an app that would be called a Dewey Killer.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Cataloging Digital Documents

On "All Things Considered"

This week, Maya Angelou turned over a large trove of personal papers to the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The collection includes many handwritten notes, drafts and letters. Nowadays, though, so much writing is done on computers rather than on paper; correspondence is done over email rather than through the postal service. To talk about how archivists deal with this shift toward digital documents, Michele Norris talks with Richard Oram, associate director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Full piece here.


The Internet Needs a Dewey Decimal System

Words often fail us in our information searches on the web. A Dewey Decimal System for the web would help connect more people to the information they're looking for. Not only would this help individuals, it would speed commerce, increase education and improve health outcomes. <a href="">The Internet Needs a Dewey Decimal System</a>

The coming age of FRBR-ized library catalogs

The coming age of FRBR-ized library catalogs :
There’s been a lot of talk lately in the library world about the coming age of FRBR-ized library catalogs (prompted in part by development of RDA, a cataloging standard that uses FRBR). Exactly what such catalogs will look like, and whether they will actually help readers use the library more effectively, are matters of ongoing debate. One of the key differences between FRBR and older catalog models is that books and other resources that share common properties can be grouped together at various levels of abstraction.


Order in The Library! On-Line Game

Via [email protected] (Shannon Miller of the Van Meter, IA Library), check out Order in the online game using the Dewey Decimal system.

There are three games you can play; the sorting game, the shelving game and the reordering game. There's even a Spanish version. Go to it!

6 of the Best Free Linux Library Management Systems

6 of the Best Free Linux Library Management Systems
To provide an insight into the quality of software available, we have compiled a list of 6 excellent library management systems. Hopefully there will be something of interest for anyone who needs an enterprise resource planning system for a library.

Now, let's explore the 6 library management systems at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.


The power of parametadata

The power of parametadata
First we had content, then not long after that we had metadata, although no-one called it that. Now we need parametadata – the metadata about metadata!

Neither metadata nor parametadata are anything new, but what is new is how central they have become to all sorts of business processes.

Are catalogues more than an inventory?

Exploration, acceptance or even the concession that library catalogues can never be more than an inventory should give us all pause; given the technology at our fingertips and the continual growth and maturation of “social” (what I have recently been calling “Collaborative”) catalogues.


The DDC is Killing our Libraries

The DDC is Killing our Libraries. Christopher Harris: "Instead of a 200 year old system that doesn’t make sense, we need a new system that just works. Steve Jobs, love him or hate him, makes things that work. You don’t have to learn how to use an iPad, children just pick it up and start using it because it is an almost instinctual interface. They have hidden the things that you shouldn’t have to think about and removed the minutia that require instruction. Libraries must do the same. We must make our collections accessible, with a user experience that just works. And to do that, we must rid ourselves of the Dewey Decimal System. "


2010 Year of Cataloging Research

In response to On the Record (the final report created by the LC commissioned Task Force for the Future of Bibliographic Control), the American Library Association and the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) are highlighting the need for research in bibliographic control by declaring 2010 the Year of Cataloging Research.

The Year of Cataloging Research website is now available at:

It features announcements, event information, links to relevant videos, and other information highlighting cataloging research.


Bib records as perpetual betas

Christine Schwartz pointed Nicole Engard to a post Dodie Gaudet titled Perpetual Beta & Bibliographic Records. Nicole says...

"that we as catalogers can only do so much with the information we have and the background knowledge we have. The problem here – is a wiki is open to the public or at least to all in a specific field and with bib records we save them to our system and maybe send them to a cooperative of some sort – but then that’s our record, we don’t get to benefit from the others that edit the record after us because it’s in their system – not accessible to us. "

All three posts are worth a read.

Debating Breaking Free Of OCLC: The Pros and Cons of the Largest Legacy System

One of my favorite lists to read is NGC4Lib "'next generation' library catalogs" list. I'm not much of a cataloger, nor do I even use a catalog at work, but NGC4Lib has some of the best discussions anywhere. This one is no exception, and worth a read. Set off by This Article over on LJ about the dispute over cost to use non-OCLC records for ILL. It's a great discussion on the role of OCLC, WorldCat, SkyRiver and DIY approaches to resource sharing and collaboration. Tim Spalding of LibraryThing takes a big swing at OCLC:

The real work here is done by librarians, not OCLC.... Today, when libraries are starting to realize OCLC's core service isn't worth what it was worth in 1967, OCLC is looking to permanently lock up their central position with viral contracts and, as the MSU case makes clear, monopoly pricing and flat-out bullying.

Ting: collaboratively sourced library infrastructure

Lorcan Dempsey: Ting: collaboratively sourced library infrastructure
Ting is an initiative which is creating a shared systems and data infrastructure for Danish public libraries - and potentially others. At its heart is a 'data well', an enriched aggregate of data (see a list of data sources here). Another important component is Ding, a Drupal-based content management system for presenting library resources.


Subscribe to RSS - Cataloging