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Library Boot Camp Notes


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The notes ofr the day-long presentation given on November 3, 2009 covering library cataloging and classification, authority control, RDA, FRBR, etc.

The notes ofr the day-long presentation given on November 3, 2009 covering library cataloging and classification, authority control, RDA, FRBR, etc.

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  • 1. Page 1 of 15 Slide 1 Good morning and welcome to Library Cataloging Boot Camp. Don’t worry--I won’t be demanding you run obstacle courses or do push ups, but rather to exercise your mind to hopefully achieve a better understanding of some basics in the cataloging arena. Slide 2 Before we get started, there’s just a few housekeeping points to cover. <GO OVER THE HANDOUTS> <TODAY”S SCHEDULE, BREAKS, LUNCH, REST ROOMS, ETC> Slide 3 Today we’re going to touch on a few cataloging topics that I hope will be of interest to you. Much of this material I have covered for other workshops and during a semester-long course I have taught for SUNY Albany’s Library school, so I tried to pick out the highlights that I thought would be of interest and of use to you. We’ll go over two main areas, cataloging and classification, and specifically discuss access points, MARC records, Authority control, FRBR and RDA, and the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Slide 4 The objectives we are striving to attain are to ….. Slide 5 Any questions so far? Slide 6 Now, in this morning’s session, we are going to have a quick overview of what is meant by the term cataloging, we will review what access points are and why you should care about them, and then turn our attention to MARC, with an overview, a lot at MARC’s anatomy and a couple of examples, and then move on to authority control. Slide 7 This morning’s objectives are for you all to ……. Slide 8 On to cataloging…. Slide 9 In order to understand cataloging first we must understand how librarians and staff working in libraries think. To be successful in this world of information and order, those of us who work in libraries have to consistently impose control on information so that we can retrieve that information when our users want it. To do that, we need to think logically, we need to understand the ways information is organized for retrieval, and we need to be able to communicate our knowledge of these structures to our uses. This is what we do every day in our
  • 2. Page 2 of 15 libraries when we add material to our catalog, shelve books, or help a patron find a book or article, so this is really nothing new, right? Slide 10 Librarians look at a book or a question and think subliminally, “To which category of knowledge and information does the answer to this question or the shelf location of this book belong?” If a user wants a book on football, we think first of the general, football is under sports… Slide 11 And then go to the specific, and with football that would be in the 700s and specifically 796.332. Slide 12 When we speak of cataloging, it’s important to understand that the process of cataloging is made up of a combination of bibliographic description and classification. You do both of these whenever you catalog something for your library, even if you had no idea they were two distinct entities. Slide 13 So what is the difference between bibliographic description and classification? Bibliographic description is the fancy term for describing the item, also called descriptive cataloging. During this process you look at the item to determine who wrote it, what the title is, does it have color illustrations, how many CDs or DVDs are in it, and so on. Then you look at the item again to perform subject analysis, where you attempt to determine what the book is about so subject headings and a classification or call number can be assigned to it. Slide 14 Descriptive cataloging is about describing the item and is in no way dealing with what the item is about. Slide 15 Subject matter is irrelevant in descriptive cataloging. Here you determine the size or whether the DVD has stereo or is in black and white, and so on. Slide 16 Descriptive cataloging provides the access points so you can locate the item in the catalog, the author, the title, the illustrator, the translator, and so on. Slide 17 Subject analysis is solely about the subject matter of the item, what it’s about
  • 3. Page 3 of 15 Slide 18 You can choose your subject headings, which are the subject access points, only after you know what the item is about. Slide 19 So you are locating access points in both parts of the process of cataloging, both the descriptive cataloging part and the subject analysis part. But what exactly are access points? Slide 20 You use access points all the time, you just may not have realized it. When you locate something in the catalog you use access points, such as the author or title. Unlike the olden days of card catalogs, where for space limitation concerns many libraries limited the number of subject headings to no more than 3 headings, today with digital information there is not need to limit, because the more access points you provide the easier it is to find an item. And since machines are very literal and are not able to realize that a title with a number in it is the same whether the number is spelled out or not, we need to make sure we provide additional access points where needed, such as alternate titles for something like 2001, a space odyseey, where we would have the main title the numbers, but add an alternate title of the numbers spelled out. Oh, and remember that keyword searching, although a wonderful way to reach into the description of an item to search things such as chapter titles or short story collection titles, it is not a substitute for providing access points. Those keyword searches rely on the data that is entered in the MARC record for that item, and if the information isn’t there, it can’t be searched. Slide 21 During descriptive cataloging you determine the access points, and that’s part of the information you will use to complete the MARC record for that item. Slide 22 So, just what is this MARC record and why is it important? Slide 23 MARC stands for Machine readable cataloging. It was developed in the 1960s and was originally only used to describe English language monographs, but the format has evolved over the decades and changed to accommodate different formats. Slide 24 Here are some short MARC info bits Slide 25 The Machine Readable part of MARC means that a computer can read and interpret the data in the cataloging record, and by cataloging record we mean a bib or bibliographic record, the information that was traditionally shown on a catalog card. This bib record includes information
  • 4. Page 4 of 15 you’re all familiar with—a description of the item, such as how many pages or discs it has, the main entry and added entries, such as the author and title and added authors, any subject headings, and the classification or call number. Slide 26 What was revolutionary about the MARC record was its format. It can have up to 999 fields, the majority of which are variable in length and content. That means that each record is a different length and contains different information. All of our standard library automation, such as our online circulation systems and catalogs and ILL systems, have all been built upon the MARC record. Slide 27 But why use a MARC record? It seems old and pretty complicated, right? Slide 28 I could make an Access database or Excel spreadsheet and keep track of my library’s stuff. And I could, but that would isolate my library, limit my options, and make a lot of work for me. By using a MARC standard, I can participate in the sharing of bibliographic information and not have to create all my records from scratch. And us catalogers hate to reinvent the wheel. Slide 29 Another reason to choose to follow the MARC standard is sharing. Libraries using MARC records can get cataloging data that is predictable and reliable from one library to another. Slide 30 By choosing to use MARC records, libraries can use online library automation systems to handle circulation and other library operations. All of these systems use the MARC record, so when my library chooses to move from one vendor’s system to another vendor’s system, the library’s database of MARC records moves with them, too. Slide 31 Any questions? Slide 32 OK, then, let’s move on to MARC tags. Slide 33 A MARC tag is a MARC field, and fields combine to make up a record. Some of the common tags for a MARC record are ….. Slide 34 ….
  • 5. Page 5 of 15 Slide 35 Here is a sample MARC field for an author, a 100 field. ….. Slide 36 There are some general rules to remember Slide 37 There are these things called indicators. These are the two character positions that follow each tag after 010. ….. Slide 38 …… Slide 39 Then there are subfields and delimiters. Most fields are made up of subfields, which are related pieces of data. For instance, in an author field, a related piece of data is the birth date and there is a subfield for the date. There is a subfield code that preceeds the subfield, so for an author subfield $a is the author’s name, and subfield $d is for the date. Slide 40 ….. Slide 41 Tags, or fields, are divided by hundreds …. Slide 42 …. Slide 43 When people discuss MARC records, they speak of parallel content or structure. And that means…. Slide 44 There’s a pattern to the structure of the MARC tags. ..... Slide 45 So whether we are in an author tag or a subject there is a pattern. If you know the pattern you can better understand your library’s MARC records Slide 46 Using this parallel tag structure …… Does that make sense?
  • 6. Page 6 of 15 Slide 47 OK, moving a little deeper into MARC, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a MARC record Slide 48 …. Slide 49 First you have the leader ….. Slide 50 …. Slide 51 ….. Slide 52 ….. Slide 53 Any questions so far? Slide 54 Let’s take a short break before we delve into MARC more. Slide 55 Have you ever looked at a MARC record in a library catalog? Many catalogs allow for a staff or MARC display of the record. Slide 56 Different systems display the MARC records in different ways. The example I have contains descriptors. Not all systems have those—some only list the MARC field or tag numbers. Most online systems allow you to edit your MARC records so you can delete fields that are not of use to you and add additional fields for local information. Slide 57 Here goes. …… Slide 58 ……
  • 7. Page 7 of 15 Slide 59 ….. Slide 60 And here’s how it looks to the public Slide 61 Most of the information we saw on the previous slides that contained the MARC display are here, just in a different format. Slide 62 Any questions? Slide 63 Just a quick note on ISBNs. Slide 64 …… Slide 65 Were you aware that authority control is an important part of cataloging? Do you know what authority control is? Slide 66 Authority control gives our catalogs consistency among our access points. Unlike the use of tagging, where anyone can put any term on a record and there is no controlled vocabulary, using and maintaining good authority control ensures us that the same form of an access point is used wherever that access point is found in our records. Slide 67 When you keep your records clean and consistent you are maintaining good bibliographic control and good authority control, so that your users can find the information they need. And isn’t that what libraries are all about? Slide 68 An example of good authority control is Mark Twain. If you have consistency you don’t have both names in your OPAC. The rules say to use the name an author published under, so we should use Mark Twain. And authority control comes in by having a cross-reference that leads us from Samuel Clemens to Mark Twain. Slide 69 Why use authority control? When the USSR changed and became Russia and a bunch of those different republic, with authority control we can have references to and among those various
  • 8. Page 8 of 15 country names so that people can find the different books and other materials we have on that country during it’s various incarnations and name changes. Slide 70 Authority control is not the be all and end all of cataloging. It’s an important element, but even if you have it it doesn’t mean that your database is clean or that you don’t problems with subject headings or that you have all the terms in your catalog that a user is going to think of to find an item. Slide 71 Why is that? Because there are variations. Some of the online systems have enhanced search capabilities that may give you a Did you mean? For misspellings or drop you into the catalog at your misspelling so that you might find the correct spelling. Slide 72 If you don’t have authority control, there are no cross references, so users have to think of all the possibilities when searching, and if they find something they have to evaluate if what they found is what they meant to find. Slide 73 ……. Slide 74 ….. Slide 75 …. Slide 76 Remember, ……. Make notes in your sears or LC subject heading book or your catalog on your decisions if you choose to add a local heading, so you are consistent. Slide 77 ….. Slide 78 Where can I find authorities? At the Library of Congress, or LC. Slide 79 What happens to authority files?
  • 9. Page 9 of 15 Slide 80 ….. Slide 81 ….. Slide 82 In cataloging we always seem to have issues. Slide 83 ….. Slide 84 …. Slide 85 …… Slide 86 …… Slide 87 ….. Slide 88 …. Slide 89 ….. Slide 90 Questions? Slide 91 Let’s review …….. Slide 92 ……. Slide 93 Until this afternoon…….
  • 10. Page 10 of 15 Slide 94 Hey, you came back! Welcome to the second part of library cataloging boot vamp. Slide 95 ….. Slide 96 ….. Slide 97 How do we go about searching for MARC records? Slide 98 …… Slide 99 ….. Slide 100 ….. Slide 101 Let’s go over the steps of getting MARC records from the Library of Congress. ……. Slide 102 …. Slide 103 ….. Slide 104 Here are a couple of resources to help you when trying to get records out of LC’s catalog Slide 105 Because everyone’s online system is a bit different, I can’t really go over editing MARC in detail. But there are a few universal concepts. Slide 106 …..
  • 11. Page 11 of 15 Slide 107 Here are some resources on using MarcEdit Slide 108 Questions? Slide 109 A little more on MARC records … Slide 110 Are there places other than the Library of Congress where I can locate MARC records for free? Yes there are! ……. Some catalogs will allow you to batch your downloads—you can save multiple records and then export them all at once. Other sites are LC, and you have to do them one at a time. Slide 111 Let’s say you’ve tried searching a catalog and can’t find the record you’re looking for. What do you do? ……. Slide 112 Here are some resources about MARC records. …… Slide 113 Classification…….. Slide 114 Classification is a system of arranging the collection on the shelves that provides formal and orderly access to the materials in a library. Classification is also a means of bringing together related items in a useful sequence from general to specific. Hey, there’s that concept of general to specific again, because with classification we are thinking subject analysis, or thinking about what the item is about. Oh, and classification is the way we lead the user to the items they need. Slide 115 The classification number, or call number, contains the information about where that item is shelved in the library. …….
  • 12. Page 12 of 15 Slide 116 Here are a couple of examples of Dewey call numbers, one for non-fiction and one for fiction. ……. Slide 117 That brings us to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Slide 118 A Broad Classification is a system that groups works under main divisions and subdivisions, think literature in the 800s, science in the 500s. That’s the essence of Dewey, it’s a broad means of grouping information to impose order Slide 119 Here are some basic and general rules regarding the DDC ……. Slide 120 …… Slide 121 ….. Slide 122 …… Slide 123 …… Slide 124 ….. Slide 125 ….. Slide 126 …… Slide 127 ……. Slide 128 Any questions?
  • 13. Page 13 of 15 Slide 129 Let’s take a short break……… Slide 130 ……. Slide 131 …… Slide 132 …. Slide 133 ….. Slide 134 …… Slide 135 …… Slide 136 …… Slide 137 …… Slide 138 But remember, no matter how tempting it may be, the relative index is NOT a substitute for the schedules. You still have to go into the schedules if you are checking or crafting a Dewey classification number. Slide 139 …… Slide 140 Any questions? Slide 141 So what does the future hold for cataloging?
  • 14. Page 14 of 15 Slide 142 FRBR Slide 143 That means the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. FRBR is a …… Slide 144 …. Slide 145 The 3 things to try to remember about FRBR are that it is NOT a standard, nor is a metadata scheme nor is a concrete data model. Slide 146 I am going to run through these quickly. I hope you will use these as a background, to give you some basic information as more discussion of FRBR takes place in the library community…. Slide 147 Some more basics on FRBR Slide 148 And here’s an example of what is called a Group 1 entity Slide 149 …. Slide 150 … Slide 151 …. Slide 152 ….. Slide 153 Questions? Slide 154 On to RDA, or Resource Description and Access. Slide 155 ….
  • 15. Page 15 of 15 Slide 156 …. Slide 157 ….. Slide 158 ….. Slide 159 ….. Slide 160 Questions on FRBR or RDA? Slide 161 Do you have any real-life questions or examples? Slide 162 So, to wrap-up.. Slide 163 ….. Slide 164 ….. Slide 165 Any questions? Slide 166 Thanks for coming to Library Cataloging Boot Camp! Good bye and good luck! Slide 167 Here’s my contact information if you think of any questions.