Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WorldCat Local, WorldCat Local Quick Start

I just attended a short web session on WorldCat Local Quick Start, because I wanted to find out more about it - I kind of doubt we'll ever be implementing it, and I don't really think we'd want to. It has some features that I think are pretty nifty (although there are other products that could do the same thing), like the ability for users to add their own reviews, create lists of items, save their searches for later, etc. One feature that I don't believe I've seen in other products is the inclusion of information about authors or others involved with the works - in the case of WorldCat Local, this draws on information from WorldCat Identities. I remember thinking that WorldCat Identities was pretty cool when I first found out about it, but I hadn't really thought of it being incorporated into a catalog like that - my brain just can't seem to make those kind of leaps.

As a cataloger, one thing I don't like at all is that all local record edits are meaningless in the WorldCat Local catalog. All WorldCat Local searches is WorldCat master records. True, these can be very good, but some of them aren't so good. I'm sure more of these records have been edited since the beginning of the Expert Community Experiment, but there are still many, many out there that are, well, shoddy, despite, in some cases, having quite a few library holdings attached. Just because a library has its holdings attached to a record doesn't mean that the cataloger(s) there edited the master record. Plus, even with the Expert Community Experiment, there are still records that need to be edited that can't be easily edited by the cataloging community. It drives me crazy when I come across a PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) record that needs to be edited and I can't edit it - and I don't have the time or inclination to write up the needed edits for OCLC or whoever and, if necessary, fax the proof.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My rat boys!

I've had these photos of my boys on my camera for months now and have finally gotten around to posting them. I love these little guys so much! This first photo is of Bear, chowing down on one of the old apples Kris gave me to give to them.

In this next photo, Yuki's getting involved. Bear is greedily trying to protect the apple with his entire body.

This last photo is a cute close-up of one of the boys. Unfortunately, I can't remember which one this is, and I can only tell them apart if I can see either their tails (the easiest way, since Bear's tail is almost all dark brown) or their backs (harder, but the splotch of color down Yuki's back is choppier than Bear's). Still, it's cute, and one of the few close-ups I've been able to get - usually, when I try for one, the boys get curious and run up to the camera before I can finish taking the picture.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ALA in Chicago

I wish I could go to these. My main source of comfort is knowing that there will likely be similar presentations done at events I will be able to go to, perhaps even online. Near the end of last month I "attended" an pre-conference event on RDA in Canada, so you never really know.

Another source of comfort: presentations with wonderful-sounding descriptions don't always turn out to be as useful as they seemed like they would be.

You Got Me, Do You Like Me? Evaluating Next Generation Catalogs
Co-sponsored by the RUSA MARS Local Systems &Services Committee; LITA Next Generation Catalog User Group.

McCormick Place West W-190a
Sunday, July 12, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Congratulations, you have acquired (or may soon acquire) a Next Generation, Web 2.0 catalog—now what? Hear from a panel of academic and public information professionals who have been evaluating their open source and off-the-shelf next-gen catalogs. Topics will include usability testing, ongoing assessment, vendor collaboration, and user expectations in the transition to next-gen products.

Speakers: Cody Hanson, Technology Librarian, University of Minnesota; Ross Shanley-Roberts, Special Projects Technologist, Miami University Libraries; and Eli Neiburger, Associate Director of IT and Product Development, Ann Arbor District Library.

Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant
Co-sponsored by RUSA RSS Catalog Use Committee; LITA Next Generation Catalog Interest Group; PLA Cataloging Needs of Public Libraries Committee

McCormick Place West W-179
Monday, July 13, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

In today's complex information environment, users have come to expect evaluative information and interactive capabilities when searching for information resources. A panel of experts will address various aspects of providing links to external information in library catalogs, implementing user-contributed functionality, and using computational data to support bibliographic control.

Speakers: David Flaxbart, Head Librarian, Chemistry Library, Univ. of Texas at Austin; Renee Register, Global Product Manager, OCLC; Beth Jefferson, President, BiblioCommons; Ellen Safley, Senior Associate Director for Public Services and Collections, University of Texas, Dallas.

Why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears - All shiny now!

It bothered me that one of our most checked out items was using one of our strange all-caps records, so that's now been fixed (true, many months after the initial blog entry was published, but still).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cataloging - Worrying about the details

Little nitpicky things I got to worry about today while cataloging:
  1. Copyright renewal dates - If a book that says it was originally copyrighted in 1972 includes a copyright renewal date of 2000, should it be cataloged on a record that uses the 2000 date or the 1972? According to LCR 1.4F6, it belongs on a 1972 record, because copyright renewal dates for works first copyrighted before 1977 are ignored. I waded through a few archived AUTOCAT posts to confirm this as well.
  2. Author cutter for Theo. LeSieg - Dr. Seuss's real name was Theodor Geisel. He used the name LeSieg when he wrote books to be illustrated by others. The cutter number used on the book I was cataloging was G276, which appears to be based on Geisel rather than LeSieg. Not sure why that is, but it was assigned by LC. I decided to just go with it, since we've got other LeSieg books that use the G276 cutter. One of these days I'll figure out why it was cuttered for Geisel when the authority record is for LeSieg.
  3. PS8615 in an 050 field - I at first thought that the punctuation and subfield coding for this call number was badly done, but then I realized it was probably a Canadian classification number than someone just copied and pasted into an 050. It doesn't fit into the section identified in Classification Web as being for Canadian literature (PS8001-8599), but the original record was created by the National Library of Canada, and that call number was exactly what was in the 055. So, I got to build a new one.
  4. 050, 2nd indicator 4, not checked against LC's shelflist - 050 2nd indicator 4 is an LC call number assigned by an agency other than LC. I'd love to be able to assume that these call numbers have been checked against the LC shelflist, but, alas, this is not always the case. Usually, I probably won't find out if the call number is off unless someone reports the problem to me later on, since I don't often check call numbers. Today, I identified one because it was a PZ7 call number with a very short first cutter number. Many PZ7 call numbers have extremely long first cutter numbers, because there are so many authors that must be alphabetically arranged in a very small space. In this case, the cataloger who assigned the call number used the cutter table to create the cutter and then never bothered to check it against LC's shelflist. I fixed the call number, but as many as 300 libraries may have used this incorrectly cuttered number. This kind of thing annoys me.

Numbers 3 and 4 aren't really nitpicky things, not to my mind, but I'm sure the entire list would make most normal people twitchy.

Where's my cow?

I cataloged Terry Pratchett's Where's My Cow? (and was the first person to add a 2nd cutter number to the call number in the master record) - I'm not sure what children would think of it, but, as a fan of Pratchett's Discworld, I thought it was hilarious. I had some trouble thinking of Sam Vimes sitting down and reading a silly picture book, but, once I got past that, his "Where's my daddy?" was perfect. Young Sam is a very odd-looking child, though.

It's not actually possible to get everything in this book unless you're familiar with the Discworld, but young children might still have fun with some of the things they'd get to do when certain characters come up (not sure that their parents will necessarily appreciate the spitting).

Nifty things online

Here's a few nifty things I've learned about recently:
  • Odiogo - When you sign up for Odiogo, your posts become listenable as well as readable. I found out about this over at Catalogablog - try listening to one of the posts over there. I'd like to sign up for that sometime soon. I think I'll probably sign my other blog up, since most of the posts there are really long.
  • Omeka - A free and open source product for putting up online exhibitions. Yet another one I'd like to look over. I don't think I, personally, would ever need to use it, but the library might be able to use it for something. We could do exhibits of our Texas history stuff, special collections, etc.
  • OCLC Classify - Ok, this is something I've known about for a while, but I don't think I've written about it yet. This can, at times, be very helpful when I need to decide between multiple possible call numbers for an item. I can see how many libraries have used one versus the other(s). Right now, it's still experimental - I wonder if OCLC plans on charging for access to this once it's no longer experimental? I hope not.
  • OCLC xISSN History Visualization Tool - This is pretty cool. You can search a particular ISSN, and it will give you a visual representation of that title's history (as long as the ISSNs for each of the various incarnations the title has gone through are available to the tool). I haven't had much luck with the ISSNs I've hunted down and tried out - the best way to be sure to see what this tool is capable of is to try one of the ISSN sample links. You get a visual representation of preceding ISSNs, your requested ISSN, succeeding ISSNs, and which of these are print, online, microform, or CD-ROM.