September 15, 2008

Cataloging Tools from LC

As I was reading the excellent Q&A column written by JayWeitz, of OCLC, in the Music OCLC Users Group Newsletter, I was reminded of a tremendous source of cataloging tools of which we probably aren't adequately aware. It's funded by our tax dollars, so we should be sure to get our money's worth!

The source is LC's Cataloging and Acquisitions homepage which contains a myriad of cataloging resources.

One great resource that was just posted last week is an FAQ about Form/Genre Headings. Who hasn't struggled occasionally to keep the distinction between subject headings and form/genre headings clear, or to figure out whether an authority record represents a form/genre heading or not? (OK, maybe I should narrow that down a bit - what cataloger hasn't struggled...? This probably doesn't trouble the minds of your average person on the street.)

Another helpful document I found on this site covers LC's practice for describing the new sound recording formats. I'm not sure how recent this is, but it has great tips. If you've wondered how to do descriptive cataloging for an MP3 file, or a CD/DVD combo, or other tricky audio formats, this is the tool for you!

The main homepage doesn't have room to list very many titles, so be sure to click the "View All" under the various sections to see full lists of what's there. For example, to find the Sound Recording document I described above, I had to click "View All" in the General, Descriptive Cataloging section, and then scroll down a long list of subcategories to the Sound Recordings listing. There were lots of other interesting resources listed in the other categories, so have fun looking around while you're there!

June 28, 2007


If you want to get up-to-date on technology and information systems in the library, take a look at LITA BLOG, the official blog of the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of ALA. While some of its posts focus on Internal LITA business, many cover the latest trends and issues. 
Currently, there are several reports on sessions at the ALA Annual Conference including a panel on privacy issues, a discussion of libraries as digital publishers, and a lively debate on innovation in the library. Some of the bloggers can be chatty at times, but I found useful information in all the posts I read.

Tips on Sound Recording Formats

I came across a helpful cataloging tool referenced in a recent Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) Newsletter.  It is a set of guidelines developed by the Library of Congress, for internal use by their catalogers, to assist with descriptive cataloging of recent and emerging sound recording formats. 

The PDF file is not dated (that I could find), so  I don't know exactly how current it is, but if you have struggled with how to catalog dual discs (standard audio on one side and DVD on the other), mini CDs, shaped discs, super audio CDs, MP3 files or other formats, this might prove an essential reference tool.

Leave a comment if you have other treasured sources or tools that you'd like others to know about!

June 12, 2007

Description of WorldCat Local

Once again I find myself recommending something written by Marshall Breeding in ALA's Smart Libraries Newsletter...  In this article in the June 2007 issue, he does a great job of explaining WorldCat Local, OCLC's effort at improving the catalog search experience for local users.  In April, a beta version of WorldCat Local installed at the University of Washington Libraries was made public.

We've been hearing a lot lately about WorldCat Local and Ex Libris' Primo product (e.g. the Regional ExLibris User Group meeting), but here's a chance to actually try it out.

Read the article, then go play around in the UW implementation

Let us know what you think or what questions it raises for you.

January 5, 2007

Recommended Reading

I would commend to your attention the Smart Libraries Newsletter. Those who attended CLIC's Forum on the Future of the ILS heard Roy Tennant list Marshall Breeding as an expert to follow on issues related to library systems and I would agree. I have long kept copies of his articles in my files for use when people come to me with questions about automating their library or changing systems.

Breeding contributes a monthly ILS Scoop column to the Smart Libraries Newsletter. Tom Peters, the second contributing editor, tackles topics like gaming, libraries and the Second Life virtual-reality environment, and using technology to enhance book discussion groups - topics perhaps less relevant to those of us in Technical Services, but still of interest. Both have a gift for explaining and exploring technology and its implications in straightforward, practical language.

Of particular interest to our region is Breeding's ILS Scoop in the January 2007 issue, in which he gives the lowdown on Endeavor's acquisition by ExLibris' new owner. He explains the merger, provides historical context, examines organizational changes and even speculates on the implications for the commercial library sphere.

An annual subscription to Smart Libraries Newsletter ("delivering hard data and innovative insights about the world of library technology, every month.") costs $85. You can also access individual issues via ALA's Techsource site at:

Let us know what you think!