WorldCat database reaches 2 billion holdings

On May 7, WorlCat announced that it had added its two billionth holding, via an ebook record uploaded by the University of Alberta Libraries.  WorldCat was created in 1971 for libraries to share cataloguing information from a central database. Today, WorldCat contains records of the holdings of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. It is interesting to note that Canada was the second country to use WorldCat after the U.S.  The history of the exponential growth of the WorldCat holdings is fascinating:  It took thirty-four years to reach one billion records, yet only eight to reach two billion:

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Turning your phones into cataloguing clients

This post discusses how smartphones could be used to create catalogue records via OCR (Optical Character Recognition).  If I understand the premise correctly, you could take a digital photograph of a book’s title page, for example, then use OCR technology to convert the text (e.g., title, SOR) into a MARC record.  Any thoughts?  I do wonder about the quality of the resultant records since, in essence, you are relying on software to select and input data correctly.  This presumes, also, that the software could distinguish between, say, a title statement and an SOR.  Without further details, it’s hard to assess how this woudl work, but it’s an intriguing concept.

Managing my film collection

I’m an avid film buff; I saw my first black and white film at an early age and was hooked instantly.  Keeping track of the films I own and, more importantly, the films I’ve watched, has been a rather painful process over the years.  I’ve tried Access databases, but they are simply too cumbersome, as so much data about a film must be entered manually.  I was using a social media tool to manage my films, but was not impressed with the quality of the metadata (namely, title, date, and image); furthermore, the tool was discontinued earlier this year.  I came across Eric’s Movie Database yesterday and  am thrilled with it so far.  It’s a programme you download to your desktop, so you’re not sharing your films in a social forum which, to be honest, I prefer.  The best feature of this programme is that it downloads records from IMDB; I simply enter the title of the film, and IMDB provides me with a list of matches from which I can choose.  The record downloads very quickly, and contains a lot of very important metadata for a film buff and amateur historian.  You can choose how to sort and filter your films.  I like the option of viewing the films by the image on their jewel case. Below is the metadata downloaded for one of my favourite Warner Brothers gangster films:

I can add my own metadata to the record but, as you can see, it’s already very complete.  I value the feature that allows me to specify whether I own the film, wish to see it, or have already seen it.  Considering the considerable number of films I have seen in my life, so want to distinguish between the films I actually own and those that I’ve seen but do not own.

New visualization tool from WorldCat

WorldCat has launched a new visual way of searching that allows you to show connections amongst related concepts.  This tool is restricted to names at the moment.  Below is a graphical representation for Nietzsche:

 

This is a particularly new approach, since similar visually-based search engines have been around for a while (e.g., LivePlasma and TouchGraph), but it has the added benefit of precision with the use of its name authority files.  I’ll certainly be demonstrating this tool in my cataloguing classes.

Linking to LCSH and LCC: Controlled Subject Headings and Classification Systems through the Web

I’m doing a major happy dance this morning as I read this.  Providing my students to  subscription access to LC products is an expensive proposition, so I welcome this news with enthusiasm.  I don’t see direct access to LCC, despite the title of this presentation, but perhaps more is to come.

Conference Paper: “Linking to LCSH and LCC: Controlled Subject Headings and Classification Systems through the Web” « INFOdocket.

Results from the RDA Test Committee

The US RDA Test Coordinating Committee released its final report today in which it concluded that “RDA should be implemented by LC, NAL, and NLM no sooner than January 2013. The three national libraries should commit resources to ensure progress is made on these activities that will require significant effort from many in and beyond the library community.”

The Committee clearly struggled with the business case for implementing RDA, stating that “the test revealed that there is little discernible immediate benefit in implementing RDA alone. The adoption of RDA will not result in significant cost savings in metadata creation. There will be inevitable and significant costs in training.”  Given the potential benefits of RDA to the end user, however, the Committee recommends the implementation of RDA.

The Committee recommends that “Library schools should ensure that all of their students are familiar with FRBR concepts and terminology, the International Cataloguing Principles, and the value and potentials of linked data on the Web. While advanced cataloging students who will be graduating within the next year will need to have some familiarity with AACR2, the schools should be transitioning from teaching using AACR2 to RDA, so that students graduating in 2013 and on are ready to join staff who will be using the new rules.”  I think this statement is perhaps a little naive.  The view that only some familiarity with AACR2 is necessary is problematic, since for the immediate future, a lot of work will be needed to convert existing AACR2 record to RDA.  My students would have struggled significantly with RDA had they not been well versed in AACR, so it’s not clear that RDA can work as a standalone at the moment, given the current state of library catalogue records. This statement does not distinguish between advanced and basic cataloguing skills.

If a program has only one cataloguing course, how is it possible to provide adequate instruction in both AACR2 and RDA?  Do you teach only RDA?  Teaching FRBR alone requires a fair amount of work, and I find that in programs where cataloguing is not a required course (which is quite common), ensuring a good understanding of FRBR is very challenging, since students often lack sufficient understanding of, and grounding in, cataloguing practice.   Our students are introduced to FRBR in our core Organization of Information course, but since this is a survey course, not  much time can be given to this topic. It was only once students had a firm  grasp of AACR and library cataloguing that they could appreciate FRBR, and this includes only those students who took the  basic and advanced cataloguing courses.  It would have been helpful for the Committee to perhaps consult in more detail relevant instructors in LIS programs to get a more comprehensive view of the instructional landscape, as one brief paragraph isn’t sufficient to address this very important area.

Libraries flooded by demand for e-books

Although this article pertains to only one U.S. state,  I suspect it reflects a growing trend amongst public libraries in North America:

“Libraries can barely keep up with rocketing demand for electronic books as more people turn to Kindles, Nooks and Ipads for reading.Wisconsin libraries in 2010 loaned out e-books 27,320 times compared to 1,609 times in 2009, according to state data.”

“Interest will likely grow even faster after Amazon announced earlier this month that it would begin allowing libraries to lend e-books compatible with its popular Kindle device, a reversal from the company’s previous policy.”

One of the challenges highlighted in the article pertains to the willingness of publishers to allow ebooks to circulate: “Not all publishing companies want to allow lending of e-books, and some want to put limits on the number of times an e-book can be borrowed before the library must buy a new copy. HarperCollins, for example, allows e-books to be checked out only 26 times before they expire.”  From a cataloguing perspective, this growth in ebooks and digital media in general poses some interesting challenges, since I’ve observed that many of these records do not come with compatible MARC records, which may create a two-tiered catalogue system.  In our local library, for example, digital media are not fully integrated into the MARC records; a clear example is the lack of authority control for names and subject headings.

Libraries flooded by demand for e-books | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com.