Wednesday, September 30, 2009

LCSH for "Cookery" being changed to "Cooking"

The change hasn't happened yet, but apparently a lot of cooking and cookbook subject headings will be changed in the near future or are still being considered for change: see the PDF on this.

The problem, as far as our local catalog goes, is that I am still performing all authority work manually. I could potentially make cooking and cookbook subject headings a special project for myself, but it would only be one of many special projects I've currently got going. Even if I made it a special project and, by hand, exported former "cookery" subject headings from OCLC and imported them into WorkFlows, there's still no guarantee I'd get everything (I'm still finding headings using the older "Vietnam Conflict", and I'm sure we've got more with "European War" instead of "World War", etc.). Plus, we have an unknown number of records with headings that, for some reason, aren't properly linked to their corresponding authority records - these would need to be "flipped" by hand.

This isn't really just a cookery/cooking problem - it's a general, "doing authority work completely by hand" problem. At this point, the best I can do is load new authority records, overlay any that have changed when a new bibliographic record brings those changes to my attention, and load records for unauthorized headings when I have time. I'd love to be able to go through the Library of Congress Weekly Lists and update an of our authority records that have been changed (or split, or merged, or deleted), but, at this point, that's just a nice dream.

Oh, and since this post deals with authority records, I'll just mention that from the beginning of June to today, the end of September, I've loaded 4,102 new authority records. We have a total of 243,981 authority records, period. Of these, 27,811 are provisional (in our system, that means that they're machine-generated and therefore contain nothing beyond the "authorized" form of the name or subject heading and the title of the work that was used to generate the record). A couple hundred thousand authority records may sound like a lot, but we still need many more. I'm working on it. I'm also working on overlaying as many of those provisional authority records as I can.

Ah, authority work, my eternal project...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Classification of video recordings

Every time I catalog DVDs/VHS tapes, I learn something new, since this isn't a format I normally work with. For instance, I've learned a lot about how other libraries handle classification of fiction DVDs and videos. One of these days, especially if there are signs that our DVD collection will be growing significantly, it'd be nice to go over our DVD collection and reclassify anything that needs it (I could include our VHS collection, but I'm betting our DVD collection will be around longer).

I'm currently trying to be good about recording any classification decisions I've made, in the hopes that future classification efforts can be more consistent that they have been. Some things have been classified very oddly over the years, or there have been misunderstandings about the correct way to apply LC's classification schedule (understandable, since LC classification works best for non-fiction).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Awful Library Books - a blog that encourages weeding

I found out about this particular blog a while ago (but still after Yvonne) - Awful Library Books is hilarious and embarrassing at the same time.

It's hilarious because the books that they blog about are so bad (or so strange). It's embarrassing, and should be for any librarian, because these books are all signs that some library's collection is in desperate need of weeding.

The blog focuses mainly on public libraries, but academic library collections need weeding too. Yes, academic libraries should sometimes keep certain older books, perhaps for their historical value or because they are important in their field. It's not possible or advisable to keep everything, however. If the university has no courses that cover the historical aspects of certain topics (such as plant biotechnology, for instance), why keep books whose only current value is historical? There are lots of subjects that tend not to age well if you're not interested in their historical aspects - anything with technology, medicine, science, etc.

I'm not sure this gets mentioned a lot when the benefits of weeding are discussed, but, as a cataloger, I like the idea of large weeding projects, because that usually means lots of old, maintenance-needing records will be removed. I like catalog maintenance, but I like it even more when I know that the records I'm maintaining represent materials people would actually want to use.

Anime online, from FUNimation

I absolutely love that FUNimation is showing free episodes of certain series - sometimes an entire series is available for viewing online. It's now possible to legally try out a series and see if it's worth buying. Yay!

Currently on my list to be watched, whenever I can scrape together the time and willpower:
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - I've watched a little so far, and it's not bad, but the original series and manga are more coherent.
  • Baccano - Watched the first episode so far and it was good, but violent.
  • Basilisk - The website for this show has, if I remember right, a list of death scenes, so I imagine this one is violent, maybe more than I'd like. Yet another reason to try it out, so I know if it's really something to add to my "buy it" list.
  • Big Windup - Baseball and teamwork. Sounds like a feel good series.
  • Darker Than Black - I didn't realize FUNimation had made this one available online! Yes!
  • Desert Punk - My dad may like this one more than me - the jokes seem very guy-oriented.
  • Devil May Cry - I've seen artwork for this, and it looked good, but I don't know about the show itself.
  • Ergo Proxy - I've been on the fence about this show for ages.
  • Gunslinger Girl - Will this show depress me too badly? I guess I'll find out.
  • Hell Girl - Is this show "weirdness of the week" or is there more to it?
  • Jyu-Oh-Sei - I can't remember what I've heard about this one, but I remember thinking I should check it out...
  • Murder Princess - I almost got this one at Hastings because the series is really cheap, but is it actually worth it?
  • Nabari No Ou - The clips I've seen look awesome, and I have a soft spot for shows with ninjas.
  • Sgt. Frog - Sgt. Frog is now an anime?! When did that happen?
  • Soul Eater - FUNimation is putting out Soul Eater?! Oh, I've wanted to see that one for ages!
  • Welcome to the NHK - I found out about this when I was trying to put together read-alikes/watch-alikes for Train Man.

Sick brat (er, rat...)

Yesterday was day 2 of giving my rattie boy Bear medicine on my own. As usual, hardly any of it got inside him, or even on him. I'll just have to hope that he's getting enough to help him feel better.

Yesterday morning, Bear had me all worried, because he didn't eat when I fed him and his brother. He wouldn't lick me either (sometimes he reminds me of a little dog, he likes licking my hands so much). He didn't look listless, and he didn't look any worse when I came home that day, but he still barely ate and there was so little water missing from the water bottle that I'm guessing Bear didn't really drink from it that day.

I fed them again before I went to bed (I divide feeding time up, because when they were younger they'd overeat if I gave it all at once). Only a few minutes after I turned out the light, I heard somebody munching away. It was Bear, the little brat. I think he was just sulking about being given the medicine, because he ate like usual this morning.

What a relief, but argh. Pets can make you crazy sometimes.

Yet another stray cat in need of a home

I'd love to find a home for this guy (girl? I'm not actually sure...). This kitty is a sweetheart and, as far as I can tell, has no actual street smarts, despite that ear notch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Interactive Dan Brown Sequel Generator

Dan Brown's next book, according to The Interactive Dan Brown Sequel Generator and my selections:

The Invisible Temple -- An ancient code in the monuments of Dallas. A ruthless cult determined to protect it. A desperate race to uncover the Boy Scouts of America's darkest secret.

Wow, I had no idea there even was a secret branch of the Boy Scouts of America...

Seriously, try this out, it's worth some laughs. I used to have a collection of links to various generators, but I left all that behind when I last got a new computer...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More on the Google Book Settlement

Is the Google Book Settlement Dead? - Just saw this blog post. Considering all of the "Google Books is leaving/is going to leave libraries in its dust" stuff I've been reading lately, this made for interesting reading. I recommend reading Marybeth Peters's entire testimony, which can be found here. The testimony is far more readable than I expected and clearly highlights several concerns about the settlement.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

RSS feeds for electronic journals

I don't know if this is something that would necessarily interest our undergraduates too much, but I love it and I think our faculty, at least, would find it useful (if they don't mind RSS feeds in general).

I'm subscribed to several feeds for blogs about cataloging, FRBR, LibraryThing, and more, but I hadn't thought about RSS feeds for journals. While looking up an article in Technical Services Quarterly, which we have access to through Informaworld, I discovered that I could subscribe to an RSS feed for that particular journal. It's not hard to unsubscribe to a feed if I don't like it, so I decided to try it, and I love it! When a new issue of the journal becomes available, I get emails corresponding to each article in that journal (as well as reviews or other things the journal contains). The emails aren't very informative - all I get is the title and author of the article, no abstracts (although this may differ from publication to publication) - but it's still better than trying to remind myself to check and see if anything new has come out and if I want to read it. Plus, this way, if there's nothing I want to read, I don't have to sit and wait for Informaworld to load - I just delete the emails and forget about it.

I haven't looked to see if other electronic journals I should be keeping up with also have RSS feeds, but I will. I'm sure Informaworld isn't the only one doing this sort of thing. It's a nifty way for professionals to keep current.

I ♥ RSS feeds.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

John Adams, prolific writer of erotic fiction and children's stories

This came up recently in some AUTOCAT posts, in a discussion about retaining or deleting relator terms and/or codes in records. Back when our Validate Headings Wizard was much more sensitive, I used to delete all relator codes and terms, because they made it impossible to properly validate name headings that had them. Now, I retain them - who knows, we might one day actually be able to make use of them in the way that WorldCat Identities does.

Of course, even WorldCat Identities can give out garbled results when it only has garbled data to work with, as can be seen in that example from AUTOCAT. John Adams, an active writer from 1651 to 2008, is rarely written about although he himself is a prolific writer of such varied works as erotic fiction and children's stories. He is a businessman, mayor, and legislator, as well as a performer, conductor, speaker, and more. Truly, this is a renaissance man. Or maybe vampire.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Google's Book Search

"Google's Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars" by Geoffrey Nunberg

As a cataloger, I find this article darkly amusing. It's an example of why good metadata can't (yet) be created quickly and automatically. Too many errors crop up, and bad metadata is as bad, or worse, than no metadata at all. If your metadata is bad, you just spent time and money creating something that is almost unusable the way it was intended to be used. As painful as it may be, it still takes time and the work of someone (often many someones) who knows what they are doing to produce really good, really worthwhile results.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Work-time listening: Digital music

Sometimes I listen to audiobooks, online radio, or webcasts. For the past couple weeks, I've been listening to the digital music we recently provided access to through our OPAC (although we've had access to it via our databases page for some time now - it's all from Classical Music Library). Last week it was Chopin - The complete Chopin piano works, which brought to my attention the difficulty of getting exactly what you want when all the links look the same. Every one of those links on that record takes you to a different volume, although the only way someone using the OPAC would know that is if they clicked on each of the links (like I did - I listened my way through the whole thing) or changed the display to "Unformatted display: Yes" (which makes the links disappear, by the way, so there'd be the added annoyance of copying and pasting the URL in order to get to the page). If I had realized how this was going to display, I would've added "do something about the subfield 3's" to the list of changes we decided to make to the records. Maybe there's still something we can do about that, though. I'll have to look into that. Maybe the subfield 3 info can be made to display. I wonder if other libraries display their subfield 3 information...?

Anyway, this week's listening fun is Brahms - The complete piano variation so Johannes Brahms. I like piano music.

If you want to do a search in the catalog just for our digital music, go to the Power Search screen (advanced search) and selected "Digital Music" under "Type." I know Tracy loaded something like 400 records, and many of them have more than one link in them, so that's a lot of music.