Archive for the ‘Cataloguing and Classification’ Category

I was chatting with some coworkers today and they told me about a discussion about Evergreen on the AUTOCAT mailing list. I decided to sign up because I had previously considered it and, really, what’s one more mailing list to join and then ignore?

After signing up, I had to laugh when I received the confirmation e-mail in my inbox which stated:

This list is confidential. You should not publicly mention its existence, or forward copies of information  you have obtained from it to third  parties.

Isn’t it time that this notice be removed from the confirmation message? I was able to find the sign-up form with an easy Google search, there’s a Wikipedia page about the list, and there are even archives up on GMane. I think the AUTOCAT has been out of the bag for some time…

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After recently stumbling across Johannesen’s criticism of MARCXML, another interesting blog entry regarding cataloguing crossed my RSS reader this morning.

This post on Inquiring Librarian talks about the possibility of RDA turning into yet another missed opportunity to sanely digitize cataloguing data:

RDA is supposed to be “made for the digital world.” This is something I can completely get behind. But the drafts I’ve read (and I admit I gave up on them at some point, so maybe this has changed) don’t seem to me that they’re actually accomplishing that. It’s the right goal, but the products I’ve seen don’t meet it. And then it occurred to me: by “for the digital world” I think what the RDA folks actually mean is “catalog digital stuff” rather than “create data that can be used by machines as well as people.” I’m interested in the latter, so that’s what I was assuming they were interested in. But I’m now wondering if that assumption was false.

If true, this is just sad. This isn’t just missing the boat; this is missing the boat by a decade (or longer).

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…there is something so anti-XML about the way MARCXML was designed…”

So says Alexander Johannesen in this excellent blog post. I wholeheartedly agree with him – I’ve never seen XML abused quite like this.

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Two months ago, Tim Spalding of LibraryThing called for a new classification system to be created, called the Open Shelves Classification (OSC) system The primary reason is that the world has outgrown Dewey, which is not only too old and biased but is also a proprietary system. The call was put out and, a short time later, two people offered to shepherd the contributors.

Now, the project has announced a preliminary set of Top Level Categories. So far, they have found consensus on two points:

  • “More top level categories is better than fewer.”
  • “The levels should be focused on the needs of public libraries”

For the first point, they’re not kidding about having more top level categories: the list currently sits at 41, which is 20 more than the Library of Congress Classification system.

For the second point, the project is currently seeking input from volunteers to see if their current list of top level categories matches the collections found in public libraries.

If you work in a public library (or have a good understanding of their collection), consider taking part in this effort. It sounds very interesting and worthwhile.

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