Monthly Archives: June 2011

New HathiTrust blog

HathiTrust has launched a new blog, Perspectives from HathiTrust. The first post is by John Wilkin, Executive Director. He describes the strategy HathiTrust follows to make its content discoverable. Integration into the broader bibliographic access landscape, i.e. making the digitized material findable in a number of environments, is a central mission. Major points:

  • The temporary catalog based on VuFind will be retired and replaced by a new OCLC WorldCat Local catalog (press release here). Inclusion of HathiTrust content into a database where many libraries manage their collections emphasizes the role it can play in collection management and analysis not only for partner libraries but for the broader community. Of course, APIs and record distribution via OAI are also important for access to HathiTrust content.
  • Much of this content is already in Google Books and Internet Archive, but HathiTrust wants to open more avenues for discoverability by incorporating its full text indexes into the Summon discovery service (see press release). Availability in similar tools is likely to follow.
  • The standalone HathiTrust full-text search service will be enhanced with new features such as faceting or weighting of results.

Cooperation at a new level

Attending the 100th annual conference of German librarians in Berlin last week, I heard Barbara Tillett talk about RDA and VIAF and also got to go to sessions about the future of cataloging and on open source software in libraries.

One theme running through various talks was the idea of networked libraries, of cooperation at a larger scale. Until catalog data will (potentially) be put into the cloud, possibilities of how libraries could work together beyond the existing consortia and library networks are being explored.

Cataloging and authority work will become more global – how could VIAF with all its links be automatically embedded into library catalogs? As for the German-speaking library networks, aren’t there┬ámore ways in which cataloging could become more cooperative? For instance establishing a central pool for e-books metadata provided by publishers and others at the German National Library. Or pooling all records across all German library networks that describe the same “thing” and enriching the ones that lack classification or subject headings with this data (of course one can ask why each library network creates its own record to be held in its own database in the first place).

Cooperative projects like these move cataloging to a more networked level, yet they are only small steps towards a future infrastructure and band aids for the shortcomings of the current system. More effective coordination within the library community is a prerequisite for larger goals. We can be much better at avoiding duplication of efforts and leveraging synergies.

A library mashup: Wikipedia and the catalog

Recently there was quite a bit of talk on Wikipedia as authority file, which then drifted to the topic of linking Wikipedia and library metadata. Additionally, Ed Summers pointed to Jakob Voss’ 2005 article “Metadata with Personendaten and beyond” which explains in some detail how authority data (control numbers) from the German National Library are added to Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia user APPER created several very useful tools for this task. So, given that the German-speaking community has these tools, I thought I’d take a look at how they are implemented in library union catalogs (these examples don’t claim to be complete).

The German National Library authority record provides a link (but not in the display for an individual title):

SWB union catalog shows a link to the Wikipedia article on the title level (as well as in the authority record):

The Austrian union catalog (into which I currently catalog) implements APPER’s control number look-up script into the title view with a preview of the Wikipedia article (Primo discovery system):

You decide which is the most elegant solution ;)… It would be great if for subjects matches could be found between library subject authority data and the corresponding Wikipedia articles and the same enriching could take place, because often the terms are closer to real-world expressions than the sometimes convoluted subject authorities. It seems that efforts to that effect are already underway: