A Trip to Rochester to Learn about The eXtensible Catalog

Eric Lease Morgan took a A Trip to Rochester to Learn about XC. He had the opportunity to visit the University of Rochester River Campus and meet with a number of very smart people to discuss a thing called XC (eXtensible Catalog, This travel log documents the experience.
Communities and cooperation are a large part of what it means to be libraries. If libraries were to pool their resources and work together, I am certain the sum will be greater than its parts. XC is a manifestation of this idea.

When tags work and when they don't: Amazon and LibraryThing

Thingology (LibraryThing's ideas blog): When tags work and when they don't: Amazon and LibraryThing: This is an extensive post, revealing the results of a statistical comparison between Amazon and LibraryThing tags, and exploring why tagging has turned out relatively poorly for Amazon. Tim Spaldin ends by making concrete recommendations for ecommerce sites interested in making tagging work.

Can subjects be relevancy ranked?

Over at LibraryThing Time Spallding wondered Can subjects be relevancy ranked?
Some ideas he considered:

  • Treating subjects as links, and running some sort of "page-rank" style connection algorithm against them. Maybe this would bring out coincidences that simple statistics misses.
  • Using other library data, such as LCC and Dewey. This would be reminiscent of how I made LibraryThing's LCSH/LCC/Dewey recommendations.
  • Doing statistics on other fields, such as the title. So, for example, there's probably a statistical correlation between "Man-woman relationships" and books with "dating," "men and women" and "proposal" in the title.

It's Back to Work for this Eighty-four Year Old Librarian

Frances Williams has been asked to come back to work...even though she's now 84 years old. She'll be working at a library in Madras India helping them to catalogue thousands of books using the Dewey Decimal system. She worked at the same library during the 1980's. Story from the UK's Malvern Gazette.


Working Group Established To Discuss Future of Bibliographic Control

Is there anything librarians love more than committees and working groups? Probably not. The LOC Announced a new group. "Advances in search-engine technology, the popularity of the Internet and the influx of electronic information resources have greatly changed the way libraries do their work. To address those changes, the Library of Congress has convened a Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control to examine the future of bibliographic description in the 21st century."

Brown University cataloguing its repository of rare maps

The AP Wire has one on a Brown University collection of more than 1,000 rare maps that librarians are in the process of cataloging online in an effort to move into the digital age.

Officials say the push to catalog the artifacts -- some brittle with age, and many dating back 100 years or more -- will make them more accessible to the public and help those interested in urban studies, genealogy and other research areas.

What is Going on at the Library of Congress?

I thought we had pointed to What is Going on at the Library of Congress? [pdf] but I could be wrong. In any case, Steven Chabot has written A summary and commentary of Thomas Mann's "What's Going on at the Library of Congress?"Both pieces are worth a read. Chabot focuses on 2 of Mann's points, A move to abandoning the LC system of headings (essentially leaving categorization to Google-like keyword searches and Amazon-like user recommendations) and
To accept digital copies of those works not "born digital", i.e. books, in place of their paper representation on a physical shelf.

New Blog Tracks Typos in Online Catalogs

Terry Ballard writes "The blog Typo of the day at was inaugurated on October 11, 2006. This will highlight one word each day from the list of thousands found by the members of the forum LIBTYPOS-L ( The group was formed in the summer of 2000 to supplement the findings of Terry Ballard's 1992 study of typographical errors in library databases. Since that time the group, now numbering more than 150 librarians, has found thousands of correctable errors in online catalogs, using the massive OHIOLINK catalog as their baseline. The full list, which is updated annually, can be found at yposcomplete.html

Update: 10/18 19:14 GMT by B :Terry Ballard writes some more: :I sent in a story about the Typo of the Day blog yesterday, and notice two things that need fixing (how ironic). Wendy Eyler should be Wendee Eyler, and the postings are done every weekday.


A catalogue of errors How many books written in seemingly obscure languages are misfiled and languishing unfindable in libraries? Joyce Flynn's experience at Harvard suggests the answer is: a lot.
Flynn, a researcher in Celtic languages, discovered some common mishaps that no one discusses much.

Sometimes, cataloguers and shelfers did strange things with books written in foreign languages. They mangled the catalogue listings, and tucked the books away on the wrong shelves.



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