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Catalogs and Cataloging

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The future of cataloging needs to be understood through its past. This presentation describes cataloging and catalogs from the book and card catalog to the present. It highlights the problems that arise when working with data that was designed over 100 years ago for the card catalog. This data no longer meets the needs of users. No, no solutions are provided, but it suggests that there is an urgency in finding some.

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Catalogs and Cataloging

  1. 1. CATALOGS, CATALOGING Karen Coyle May 2018
  2. 2. The ghosts of catalogs past/present/future
  3. 3. CATALOGS PAST (A short history)
  4. 4. A CATALOG IS TECHNOLOGY Cataloging is creating the catalog
  5. 5.  Author  Title  Subject Each one provides a different CONTEXT. A catalog of headings
  6. 6. Cat breeds Cat breeds Cat breeds - Dictionaries Cat breeds - Encyclopedias Cat breeds - History Cat breeds - History Cat adoption Cat Caswell, Richard Collocation = context
  7. 7. Printed cards, shared cataloging Library of Congress 1902-
  8. 8. 20th century – things got faster ■ Increase in paper production, faster printing technology ■ Increased rate of publication -> increase in library size ■ Increase in literacy -> more and more diverse users ■ 1960's -> faster card production using computer typography (MARC)
  9. 9. Purpose of MAchine Readable Cataloging ■ Produce printed cards identical to those produced before ■ Some minor sorting functions ■ A document mark-up language
  10. 10. Printed cards & shared cataloging still meant local library work
  11. 11. Locations, corrections, additions
  12. 12. Tada! Online cataloging (aka: OCLC, RLIN, PICA) ■ MARC records + 1970'sOhio College Library Center, then others ■ Customized cards (with locations and call numbers) ■ Reprint of cards for correction of errors (no more erasing or white-out) ■ Production of cards increased greatly from 1970 to late 1980's However…. ■ More cards meant more filing
  13. 13. Card catalogs were huge ~6-8 cards per item X Replacement cards for errors or changes Library of Congress 1937
  14. 14. Filled whole rooms ~6-8 cards per item X Replacement cards for errors or changes Yale 1970's?
  15. 15. Filing became the problem ~6-8 cards per item X Replacement cards for errors or changes Yale 1970's?
  16. 16. CATALOGS PRESENT (-ish)
  17. 17. MARC records were a by- product of card production
  18. 18. From MARC to microfiche (aka: plastic book catalog)
  19. 19. 23
  20. 20. 24
  21. 21. Author Title Subject All entries are in context based on their headings in alphabetical order All headings are a complete name or subject Bibliographic record is the focus Context is not visible 25
  22. 22. From heading-centric to record-centric
  23. 23. The law of 2 ½ screens
  24. 24. FROM HEADING BROWSINGTO KEYWORD SEARCHING Keyword = “words out of context”
  25. 25. Boats and boating--Erie, Lake--Maps. Books and reading--Lake Erie region. Lake Erie, Battle of, 1813. Erie, Lake--Navigation Cooking, French Alps, French (France) French--America--History French American literature De la Cruz, Melissa Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de
  26. 26. Results no longer ordered by headings 1. Cat breeds 2. Cat breeds 3. Cat breeds – History 4. Cat breeds – Handbooks, manuals, etc. 5. Cat breeds 6. Cat breeds -Thailand Order of display: Where did the headings go?
  27. 27. Cat breeds Arco book of cats / by Grace Pond Champion cats of the world / by Catherine Ing … Cat breeds – Handbooks, manuals, etc. The complete cat owner's manual / Susie Page … Cat breeds – History Fifty years of pedigree cats [by] May Eustace & Elizabeth Towe ... Cat breeds – Thailand Mǣo Thai / Sutthilak ʻAmphanwong What catalogers wanted: heading-ordered display
  28. 28. • Canals and Rivers of Britain • The Crimson Hair Murders • Darwin • Darwin; A Graphic Biography : the Really Exciting and Dramatic Story of A Man Who Mostly Stayed at Home andWrote Some Books • Darwin; Business Evolving in the Information Age • Darwin's Radio • Emma Darwin, A Century of Family Letters, 1792-1896 • Java Cookbook Keyword search means non-coherent set (kw = "darwin") Titles:
  29. 29. • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 – Influence • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 — Juvenile Literature • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 — Comic Books, Strips, Etc • Darwin Family • DNAViruses — Fiction • Java (Computer program language) • Mystery Fiction • Rivers--Great Britain • Women Molecular Biologists — Fiction Subjects:
  30. 30. • Bear, Greg • Byrne, Eugene • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 • Darwin, EmmaWedgwood, 1808-1896 • Darwin, Ian F. • Darwin, Andrew • Teilhet, Darwin L. Authors:
  31. 31. Facets
  32. 32. Keyword searching is great, but … ■ It ignores the organization that is created by headings ■ It loses context ■ … the catalog is broken 36
  34. 34. OUR CATALOG MODEL(S) or, 135 years without a major change in how we do things
  35. 35. Charles Cutter, 1875
  36. 36. 1961 International Cataloguing Principles (IFLA)
  37. 37. 86 years of "progress" 1875 1961
  38. 38. FRBR-ized ICP
  39. 39. FRBR –WHATYOU SHOULD KNOW Even if you’d rather not
  40. 40. http://kcoyle.net/beforeAndAfter/index.html
  41. 41. FRBR is not our future It is 20 years old this year Based on relational database technology ■ 1990 – Stockholm meeting (IFLA) ■ 1992 –Terms of reference completed ■ 1994 – First draft for comment ■ 1998 – Final draft ■ 2009 – Current draft ■ 2013 – RDA implemented ■ 2017 – Library Reference Model
  42. 42. The study results ■ 142 pages of text ■ 3 diagrams
  43. 43. “FRBR is not a data model. FRBR is not a metadata scheme. FRBR is not a system design structure. It is a conceptual model of the bibliographic universe.” B. Tillett, 2005 Tom Delsey
  44. 44. THE USER IN FRBR ☹️
  45. 45. FRBR user tasks Find Identify Select Obtain
  46. 46. Find Identify Select (1875)
  47. 47. LRM: based on FRBR, which is 20 years old; adds "explore" ■ FindTo bring together information about one or more resources of interest by searching on any relevant criteria ■ Identify To clearly understand the nature of the resources found and to distinguish between similar resources ■ SelectTo determine the suitability of the resources found, and to be enabled to either accept or reject specific resources ■ ObtainTo access the content of the resource ■ ExploreTo discover resources using the relationships between them and thus place the resources in a context
  48. 48. Implementation?What should the catalog be? Find: "To facilitate this task, the information system seeks to enable effective searching by offering appropriate search elements or functionality."
  49. 49. Implementation? Find: "To facilitate this task, the information system seeks to enable effective searching by offering appropriate search elements or functionality."
  50. 50. FRBR/LRM doesn't solve our problems Not a technology/Is a technology No record design/Is a record design Forget the diagrams – they have problems It does not produce significantly different bibliographic data! RDA is the only implementation, and it isn’t a technology or record design, it's cataloging rules
  51. 51. CATALOGS FUTURE (the future is NOT now)
  52. 52. New set of problems the catalog must solve ■ Scarcity ■ Expert readers ■ Limited formats ■ Limited access ■ Users were local ■ Abundance ■ Everyone ■ Multiple media ■ The Internet ■ Users are remote Then Now Evolution
  53. 53. Yet, we continue with obsolete & inadequate practices
  54. 54. There is better data Cultural and historical context, not the manufacturing details of this copy. What does this mean, not what did we buy.
  55. 55. OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM: ABUNDANC E What should happen between a search and a bibliographic display? p.s.This negates the FRBR user tasks
  56. 56. FACETS Don't solve abundance problem
  57. 57. Not all resources are equal Yet we treat them all the same. Do we really want someone to select the least important book on the topic? Could ranking be based on importance? Suitability to the user? ??
  59. 59. We need a new technology! (BIFRAME?)
  60. 60. We need a new technology! (BIBFRAME: same data – MARC in RDF)
  61. 61. We need data and technology that work together (More than IRIs for the same things we've had in our catalogs for 135 years)
  62. 62. We need data and technology that are appropriate to our goals (What ARE our goals?)
  63. 63. WE NEED NEW GOALS!
  64. 64. Goals based on what users want to do Goals based on what users need to do Current goals are a list of what we let them do
  65. 65. CHANGE!
  66. 66. We are information taxis in an Uber world
  67. 67. How we got here is not a reason to avoid change
  68. 68. If we are to have a future: a manifesto ■ We have to address that our data is inappropriate for today's uses and users – "Cataloging" needs to be an essential part of "creating the catalog", not separate from the technology that makes use of it – Catalog data has to be based on what users KNOW, not what we think they SHOULD know – We need to provide information ABOUT authors/works/subjects, not just headings – We have to see resource abundance as a major issue to be addressed – The catalog should place works in (intellectual) context – The catalog must reflect what the user cares about (content) not what the library cares about (purchase and inventory) – The catalog needs to provide better subject access! Not just known item searching ■ [your ideas here]
  69. 69. We can't because … ■ It's too expensive ■ It won't be authoritative ■ We already have "too much" data ■ … ■ We can't change ■ We don't want to change No! We Have To Change!
  70. 70. A 12-step program begins … 1. Admit you have a problem (We have a problem)
  71. 71. In summary ■ We haven't had a major change in the content of our data in ~130-150 years ■ We have not accepted that technological change requires data designed for that technology ■ We have not addressed the fact that our current challenge is resource abundance ■ We think our users are 19th century scholars ■ We treat the catalog technology and the catalog data as entirely separate operations
  72. 72. THANKYOU kcoyle@kcoyle.net