Monday, 27 February 2012


I don't know if I'll have time for a Metadata update this week.  However, I did the exercise for 23 Things this morning on Prezi.  It's an interesting tool.  In a few minutes I made this presentation:
I think that I like that it is so quick and easy to make a presentation.  However, I usually use other software that has more features and offers me more control so I found some things about Prezi to be a little frustrating.  While a person can sit down and use it almost right away, it is often difficult to achieve the precise results I want.  I found that as I was working with it I just gave up trying to get certain effects.  Instead I just did the sorts of things that the application is well-suited to doing.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing if all I want to do is bang out a nice-looking presentation quickly.  However, if I am trying to design specific things for specific reasons, I think that it would be frustrating and ineffective to use.  It is better to spend the time learning the more complex software in that case.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Fun Survey

So, this week I don't have any heavy metadata things to report on.  Instead I have my survey from 23 Things.  It was very easy to set up and I think that it will be useful.  I will share the results with this blog in a week or so.  Please take the survey if you have time: And, you can forward it to others as well.
Thanks and have fun.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cataloguing and Metadata Update #3 - More Reporting on RDA from ALA Midwinter

Ok, this post is lazy.  I admit it.  I found a nicely-written blog post that describes two of the sessions that I attended where RDA was discussed.  I'm not sure who Steve is but I think that he captured the content of those sessions well:

Not to be completely lazy, I was a blogger for ALA Mid Winter as well.  Here is a blog post that I wrote for the Copy Cataloguer's Interest Group that fills in some of the gaps that Steve missed.  You can read it at:

I hope that you can access my blog post without being a member of the metadata bloggers group!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Series Authority Records

The question was raised at the cataloguing meeting this morning as to when authority records for series titles was discontinued by Library of Congress.  Time flies....  it was June 1st,2006.  Here is a link to LC's policy about what they do with series titles: .  According to this document, their decisions was "not to create/update series authority records and not to provide controlled series access points in its bibliographic records for resources in series."

This document also says that there is more information about series titles and the 490 tag in the Cataloger's Desktop.  Our subscription has been renewed so we should have access again if you want to read more about it.

Cataloguing and Metadata Update - # 2 More Genre Stuff

While we don’t catalogue too many films, I just happen to have a documentary DVD on my desk at this moment and it needs subject headings and a call number.  Yesterday I started thinking about subject-headings for this DVD and reflected on the idea of separating what the DVD is about and what type of film is presenting that information.   In the process I was reminded of the concepts behind genre forms.   Last night as I was paging through notes from the conference I read that that there was a group working on a policy document on how to apply genre forms to different types of films.  Then, as I was wading through my email this morning, a link to that document happened to show up on one of my list serves:  So, it seems natural that this week’s post should be an extension to the introduction to genre/heading forms I wrote in last week’s blog.
I think that I’ll use the document I’ve referred to extensively because I think that it contains some excellent examples and makes some good points.   Here’s a direct quote: 
Genre/form headings are intended to describe what a work is, while subject headings describe what a work is about. For example, True Grit starring John Wayne is a western; it would be assigned the genre/form headings Western films and Fiction films. If classified, it could be placed in PN1997.A2-.Z8 (fictional motion pictures produced through 2000). John Wayne—The Duke: Bigger than Life is a nonfiction study of Wayne’s life and work and includes excerpts from many of Wayne’s westerns. It is a biographical documentary about Wayne and the western film genre. It would be assigned the genre/form headings Biographical films; Documentary films; and Nonfiction films along with the subject headings Wayne, John, 1907-1979; Motion picture actors and actresses—United States—Biography; and Western films—United States— History and criticism. It would be classified in PN2287.A-Z (biography of American actors) or PN1995.9.W4 (history and criticism of western films).

The document is very kind in providing an example of what we might see in MARC records for these movies:
Title: True grit
655 _7 $a Western films. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Feature films. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Fiction films. $2 lcgft

Title: John Wayne—the Duke : bigger than life
600 10 $a Wayne, John, $d 1907-1979.
650 _0 $a Motion picture actors and actresses $z United States $v Biography.
650 _0 $a Western films $z United States $x History and criticism.
655 _7 $a Biographical films. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Documentary films. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Nonfiction films. $2 lcgft
Again, this is just a snippet of an example of what can be done with genre headings to describe and classify films more precisely for users.  These are the various types of films that are already either recognized or in use by LC cataloguers when they apply genre headings:
Action and adventure films
Animated films
Biographical films
Children’s films
Comedy films
Detective and mystery films
Epic films
Fantasy films
Film adaptations
Historical films
Horror films
Musical films
Romance films
Science fiction films
Silent films
Sports films
Thrillers (Motion pictures)
War films
Western films  
Having worked in reference at the public library for a number of years.  I certainly can see how these headings would be useful in that context.  It is not unusual for a patron to come to the desk wanting help selecting a film which either fits into a certain category or is NOT a certain category.  The immediate application doesn’t seem as apparent in the academic library.  However, consider the following which is an example of how genre headings can be used in very complex ways to very specifically describe a film:
Title: Family guy. A new hope
[A television parody of the Star wars motion picture]
630 _0 $a Star wars (Motion picture) $v Parodies, imitations, etc.
650 _0 $a Star Wars films $v Parodies, imitations, etc.
650 _0 $a Science fiction films $v Parodies, imitations, etc.
655 _7 $a Parody television programs. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Television comedies. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Science fiction television programs. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Animated television programs. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Television series. $2 lcgft
655 _7 $a Fiction television programs. $2 lcgft21
I can see how this type of catalogue record could help university library patrons ensure that they are borrowing the version of the film that they actually require. e.g.  They are getting a recording of the play of Romeo and Juliet, not a parody, not a musical, not a comedy, and not a movie about a couple of hamsters, etc.  While LCSH’s free-floating subdivisions have always allowed for some description of the type of materials, I think that the genre form will be more accessible or easier to understand for today’s diverse academic library users.  Considering that many library users are from divergent cultures and speak English as a second language, the genre/heading terms are much clearer and easy to understand than the terminology found in LCSHs.  For example, looking at the 630 in the example above, we can see that the term “motion picture” is confusing because it is referring to a televisions program.  In the 650s we see the subdivisionv Parodies, imitations, etc.”.  That’s not very precise.  We know that it is not the original story but we don’t know what form the interpretation takes.  In the genre headings we can glean that it is an animated television program which did a comedy parody of a science fiction television program (ok, not quite right but closer than where the LC subject headings take us).
So, what about that DVD I’m working on at the moment?  I won’t be adding any genre/form headings.  We’re not there yet.  But, I certainly am thinking about them and considering how they will change both the description and access of those notoriously confusing [videorecording]s!
What’s up for next week?  I’m not sure yet.  I’m reading through my notes on FRBR and FRAD.  These are very interesting and worth exploring but it might take me a while to put something together. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cataloguing and Metadata Update #1 - Genre Headings

Maybe you've noticed some new coding in MARC records in the last few months that you don't recognize.  It looks something like this: 
655 #7 $a Road maps. $2 lcgft
651 #0 $a Alamo Reservoir $v Maps.
655 #7 $a Bathymetric maps. $2 lcgft

So, what is this all about?  Why is the second indicator a 7 and does it mean that the $2 or |2 is some sort of local coding from another system that just needs to be stripped out?  Until last week, I was stripping these out thinking that it wasn't anything that we would want in our records.

Woah nelly.... even though our OPAC won't do anything with this type of 6XX field, don't strip it.  It's a new extension to MARC developed by LC that is gradually being adopted called "Genre/Form Terms".  Here is a link to a useful FAQ that explains all about them:

In short, genre terms have been developed to allow cataloguers to describe in a 6xx field what type of resource an item is.  It is a controlled vocabulary which allows cataloguers to describe very specifically what type of material the record represents and the vocabulary goes way beyond the limited GMDs. No, it's not the same as the GMD and we're not getting rid of the GMD yet (baby steps toward that one), it's just one step toward making the records more useful to users who are looking for particular types of materials.  Really curious and want to search around the vocabulary?  Here's a link to a place where you can have a look:

So why add these "Genre/form terms" to our MARC records if our catalogues don't do anything with them:

1)  There is a new generation of ILS (the generic term for systems like Millennium) and they will be designed to make use of these subject fields.
2)  Cataloguers are no longer restricted to describing what an item is "about" in 6xx fields which gives them more options and flexibility in terms of making items findable.  This responds to what users need and want.
3)  Free floating subdivisions don't work very well in some information retrieval systems - espeically ones that use faceted searching such as Primo.  Genre terms replace many of those subdivisions.
4) The existing GMD's are too limited for the range of materials in existence today and also limited to the physical format of the item (not only does the GMD not differentiate between videos and DVDS but it does not differentiate between an instructional DVD and feature film DVD which is one of the functions that the genre form is intended to perform).
5) A bunch of other reasons that were discussed at the conference and I either forget or don't understand yet.

So, what does this mean for us?  Nothing much.  When we see records with this type of coding in it, we'll now understand what it is and we also know not to strip it out.  It will be useful to us some day.  We don't have to learn or apply it yet.  But I thought that it was good to at least know what is going on with them.