Tag Archives: IFLA 2008

“Standards are like toothbrushes, a good idea but no one wants to use anyone elses”

So quoted Anita Golderba during her presentation at the Cataloguing session at IFLA.

My remaining session notes are posted below. I am extremely late in posting them, but there are so many good ideas and points that were made by the presenters, I wanted to make them available.

Classification and Indexing
Classification and indexing without language borders
Anila Angjeli, Biblilotheque nationale de France
  • Interoperable data between all countries
  • “Semantic interoperability”, especially between special and heritage collections
  • Goal – bibliographic records may be structured differently, but still interoperable because there is uniform metadata, vocabulary and subject indexing.
  • Ideal – When data is pulled up, institutions should share information and draw from subject words/cross references to pull up multilingual but uniform pages. This is done through building complex indexes (cataloguers are being used for this). This allows users to search multiple catalogues from different libraries/institutions

Problems with sharing data – different MARC records, fields, authorities, subject use, etc.

How to get past these problems?

  • Use of semantic web
  • Insist on using a standard/common format
  • Consider conceptual vocabularies and base them in XML or HTML
  • Semantic links, more search options
  • Scope notes
  • Links/definitions
  • Additional resources
  • Deeper search choices

This is done through use of algorithms and complex indexing. 

Philipp Mayr, GESIS Social Science Information Centre
Vocabulary that is controlled is great – but it usually only represents one catalogue. How do you handle multiple collections in different languages?

Translate – cross-walks = Terminology mapping

Difficulty comes when mapping

Classification vs. thesaurus
Change of disciplines

Do mappings inprove subject searches? – YES
Do mappings allow for free text searches? – YES

example of multilingual, mapped database

Michael Kreyche, Systems Librarian, Kent State University

  • Spanish/English Database – with a bilingual interface
  • Based on LCSH
  • Multilingual subject headings

Concern for multilingual catalogues:

  • Outsourcing
    Experts (cataloguers) aren’t controlling the terms. Vendors provide data that is incorrect, inappropriate and not uniform.
    You must have cataloguers to have a functioning and accurate bilingual catalogue.
    Most libraries, both public and academic, are moving in the direction of multilingual catalogues.

Example of bilingual database: lsch-es.org

Read article “The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with other Discovery Tools” by Karen Calhoun, 2006.


Knowledge Managements
Towards understanding in the multicultural world

Donna Scheeder, Law Library of Congress

Turning the world into a learning organization – World wide collaboration such as Wikipedia is an example of knowledge management beyond the walls of our organizations

Librarians are knowledge managers and cataloguers understand how to organize and disseminate this knowledge.

  • Factors that impact knowledge management:
    Many of our projects are too big for one organization
    Resources need to be shared
    Knowledge needs to be distributed across cultures and national boundaries

This is more than a database – information need to be put into a context. As a result, the demand for librarians, and especially cataloguers, is predicted to grow, if we put ourselves “out there”.

New technology has enabled us to create and share knowledge across boundaries. An example is GLIN (Global Legal Information Network). This is a global, collaborative legal database searchable in 13 languages.

  • Success for global sharing:
    Decision making structure emphasizing collaboration
    Agreement on quality and technical standards
    Taxonomy/thesaurus that provides a basis for understanding through linking languages for common concepts

**This goes far beyond Google and requires experts in cataloguing and indexing.

  • Success factors for finding/working on global sharing
    Risk assessment
    Anticipating problems
    Make sure leadership roles are shared

Book recommendation: The 5th Disciple: The Right and Practice of the Learning Organization (Peter Senge)

Q & As:

Q: Difference between knowledge management v. information management.

A: Don’t get so hung up on terminology

Overall theme: We must have a shared goal. Information is culturally and contextually sensitive that require various degrees of engagement. Information transcends time, space and format.

Linda Stoddart, United Nations

We should view ourselves at knowledge managers, with a goal to outreach and sharing information. We can no longer think in terms of libraries and librarians.

Sharing standards: cooperation with other actors

Pat Riva, Bibliotheques et Archives nationale du Quebec
  • Reasons for cooperation:
    Cultural heritage
    Serve common users
    Facilitate exchange of information

FRBRoo focusses on process and models concepts in FRBR

Go to the IFLA FRBR website for the working group’s reports

Elizabeth O’Keefe, Morgan Library and Museum

Sharing standards and expertise in the 21st century

Moving toward a collaborative, cross-community model for metadata creation

Musems like the Morgan are continually seeking the expertise of cataloguers. They are creating cross-domain catalogues. Objects in local art galleries or museums are being included in the local library catalogue.
Curators and librarians share a common goal. Historically, curators have catalogues all non-book items in museums. This has led to databases with differing standards.

What did the Morgan do about this?
Adopt the cataloguing standard used in libraries. The standards are better as well as the controlled vocabulary and metadata standard.

  • Cataloguers are responsible for:
    Data mapping
    System implementation
    Selection of controlled vocabulary
    Final say on records
    Curators provide content

“Many hands make light work – especially when cataloguers do the work they’re trained for”

Anita Golderba, National Library of Latvia

“Standards are like toothbrushes, a good idea but no one wants to use anyone elses” – Burca.

Everyone agrees library records are the most structured and accurate due to our standards.

However, we practice such rigid standards that we’re missing some of the great content and ideas that other instutitions use (but lack our skill to make it accessible)

Negativity towards cataloguers stems from the design and limitations of OPACS, not the lack of expertise or ingenuity of cataloguers. Unforutanely, many times it is easier to blame the cataloguers.

FRBR – the whole point is to bring interoperability and collaboration bewteen libraries, organizations and other information institutions.

Comment from audience:

Barbara Tillet – Bibliographic records are dynamic. They are always changing. Authorities need to be altered frequently, as do access points (think government names and geographic locations, the invention of new terms and technology, etc). Library records aren’t static.

National bibliography agencies without borders – experiences on collaboration with other producers of bibliographic data

Philippe Cantie and Anne-Celine Lambotte, Bibliotheque nationale de France

With web 2.0, the user has a more active role

How can we bring the users in for participation in bibliographies? – in this case, users are libraries, galleries, museums, etc.

Creating searchable bibliographies based on Dewey, with web 2.0 features

Ability to add comments and tags

Goal is to add an open, collaborative bibliography housed on the web.

Liz McKeen, LAC

Web harvesting
LAC has a cataloguing policy for digital publications

Basic acces: full text searching
Supplementary access via metadata
Metadata supplied by others
Generated by existing descriptive metadata
Automatically generated by the digital information itself

Traditional cataloguing:
Full cataloguing criteria is set out
Is it important to Canada?
Is it important to research?

Digital requires a single record approach

If government publication was in print, add digital link and information to existing record.

Stresses the importance of maintaining traditional cataloguing and access while bringing in digital materials that also need attention for access.

Maha Zumer, University of Ljubljana

Cataloguing, the “new” definition: Describing to promote access, not describing an object for the sake of describing it.

  • You can’t outsource a bilingual catalogue or anything you collect that’s local:
    Government documents/websites
    Local CDs, Books, Videos
    Heritage items
    Local headings
    User needs
    Customized needs for staff
    Reading lists
    Cultural needs

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IFLA 2008: Management and Marketing, Statistics and Evaluations, and Library Theory and Research

Management and Marketing, Statistics and Evaluations, and Library Theory and Research
Managing libraries in a changing environment – legal, technical and organizational aspects

Ricardo Gomez/Chris Coward, University of Washington
Information technologies and how they are used are not limited to libraries. We need to think outside of these boundaries as well.

We need to think in terms of:
Equitable access – location, technology, affordability
Capacity and relevance
Enabling environment
What is going on with public access around the world? Why do people choose one venue over another?

Perception matters more than facilities, settings, technology or the user experience.

Government perception – is it popular to fund libraries?

Why are we deciding what is good or bad technology? People don’t just want to “seek” anymore, they want to communicate and be social.

They world is larger than the library. There are new challenges, competencies and opportunities. If we stay as we are, we will become irrelevant.

We need to consider the following:
“Cool” factor
Legitimate uses
Collaborative opportunities
Changing media landscape

Gildas Illian, National Library of France
Web archiving – requires knowledge of what to keep, values, expense. Need cataloguers with technical skills for this.

Digital is just another media type. We should approach and handle it as we have always done when faced with new media.

“Innovation needs tradition”

David McMenemy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Qualitative vs. Quantitive
There is a limitation in numbers and a challenge in measuring library services.

Danger in managerialism and public library services being measured by statistics and auditing. What results are departments competing against eachother.

Statistics measuring the number of issues, circulation and borrowers give only a limited picture of how the library is really doing.

Qualitative approach should complement the quantitative. Each borrower is an individual.

Statistics create a discourse of success/failure. Read “The Tyranny of Numbers (Boyle 2001)

If you count the wrong things, you go backwards. The more sophisticated you are, the harder your services are to measure.

We’re missing the depth of use if we only count numbers.

How to use qualitative measurement?
Set of guidelines
Range of themes/examples
Social value categories to classify outcome of services used.

Why do libraries continue to use quantitative? It’s cheap. Qualitative provides a more accurate picture, but it is more expensive.

Vesna Vuksan, Belgrade City Library
A parent library has responsibilities. Their collection must be maintained and sustain a high level of accuracy in the library catalogue

If you’re a leader, other libraries within your province/state/region/country and even internationally will be looking to your library for catalogue records and sharing your catalogue.

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IFLA 2008: Session on Bibliographic Control

I’ve finally had a chance to summarize some of the sessions that I attended while at IFLA. The Bibliographic Control session is summarized below.

Biblographic Control
New challenges in bibliographic control in North America

Liz McKeen, LAC

Amount of digital materials. Traditional formats are not decreasing in production, but we have more and more digital information to organize and make accessible.
Technology. We need to create better ways to disseminate information.
Resource discovery. There is a shift away from listing (ie. An inventory of the collection) to discovery.
Cost effectiveness. Traditional cataloguing is expensive. How can items be “touched” less while still maintaining accessibility and uniformity while balancing cost?
Collaboration in description. With the amount of materials, we need to find ways to allow others to help by sharing information. Vendors? Other libraries? Businesses?
Personalization of description. We need to seek user input and contribution while adapting records to our users’ needs.
Standards, interoperability and sharing infrastructure among other libraries and institutions.

What are libraries doing to deal with these challenges?
LAC has created a description policy created to deal with cataloguing digital items. This departs from traditional cataloguing practices. A copy of this policy is available online, however, it has not been fully implemented yet.

General ideas in policy
1. Set out levels of description:
Basic, Full or Supplementary (access via metadata)
2. Define criteria for cataloguing
What to catalogue, how to catalogue, how will it be disseminated

For digital cataloguing, always look at it from the users’ perspective. Digital information has three components: Acquisitions, Cataloguing and Dissemination. The emphasis for digital is on cataloguing and dissemination as the acquisitions aspect takes the form of webcrawlers and other institutions “docking” their information or alerting system of new material.


Beacher Wiggins, LC
LC is redefining bibliographic control as broader than just cataloguing. They have merged Acquisitions and Bibliographic control. As a result, the items are handled less frequently and the cataloguing aspect can be expanded to cope with the increase of digital information and the shift away from traditional cataloguing.

Merging will result in revision of job descriptions and one librarian monitoring the workflow from receipt through cataloguing and processing.

LC can no longer handle cataloguing everything. They are leaving the field open for other libraries to become “leaders” to fill in the gaps.

What is LC doing to handle the increase in information that needs to be cataloguing, organized?
1. Streamlining processes
2. Sharing responsibilities
3. Increasing collaboration among other libraries
4. Increasing bibliographic data sharing
5. Internationalizing authority files

What about RDA?
The LC working group strongly recommened suspending work on RDA. They’ve decided to collaborate with other US National Libraries to test RDA before it moves forward. What are they looking for?
1. Ease of use for cataloguers
2. Interoperability with existing OPACs
3. Interoperability between RDA & AACR2 in the catalogues
4. Access to broader range of materials
5. User retrieval
In short – Financial/Technical/Operability

Testing participants include, but are not limited to:
1. Cooperating cataloguing libraries
3. Commercial vendors
4. Archival Institutions

Patrice Landry, Swiss National Library
With the increase in digital information, how will this effect traditional cataloguing?
Traditional publications have NOT declined. As a result, cataloguers are having to balance new & old. As a result, streamlining certain functions in this new era assists in providing more time for cataloguers to focus on the library’s priorities and the items that need to be fully catalogued.

It’s not a matter of not needing cataloguers, it’s cataloguers doing more & sharing the workflow between digital and print. This results in a need for collaboration and vendors providing us with better metadata.


Q & As:
Q: What consideration is being given to the training of praciticing cataloguers in RDA?
A: LAC – thinking of creating an RDA training group, although they are hoping RDA won’t require significant training.

Q: Education for the future of cataloguing?
A: 1. Emphasis on how to manage projects and activities.
2. Understanding the organization of knowledge is more imporant that ever.

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Exposing yourself, oops, your ILS through sharing technologies

Stephen Abram was also a presenter for several sessions at IFLA.  He has posted his slides on Stephen’s Lighthouse.   I think his IFLA Resource Sharing Satellite Conference, which took place in Boston, has the most informative slides.  Although simple, they serve as a reminder of what we’re facing and what we can achieve if we open ourselves up to the possibilities.

Stephen’s slides remind us to think about ILS in global terms, rather than local terms. That was something that really struck me throughout IFLA.  It’s not just about “exposing” ourselves to our community, it’s about thinking on a larger scale.  We aren’t just reaching our local users, or even regional users, libraries can speak to the global community.  We can share, collaborate and help communities and libraries anywhere in the world because of the technologies available to us.

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IFLA 2008 – The third day

It’s now the end of day 3 for IFLA 2008. One of my favourite things about conferences is the ability to meet people and network. I’ve met some terrific professional gurus, as well as promising young library students who will soon be entering the profession. The students I’m meeting are eager to join the profession and make their mark – I love it!

This actually leads me to a session I attended this evening: “Mind the gap: bridging the inter-generational divide” which was presented by the New Professionals Discussion Group. Sounds promising, right? WRONG. This session was all about recruiting young professionals to join library associations. We were a captive audience – and all that was presented was how important it is that we join associations so that we can be mentored and groomed and introduced to the right people. I’ve been to a number of sessions over the past several days, and this is the only one where I felt I was being patronized. Because we are young professionals (by which, they assumed all of us were library students) they were laid back to the point of trying to be “cool” to connect with us. They did not present in a professional manner or provide professional insight into libraries, what’s expected of newcomers to the profession and what we can expect. They did not address how they are attempting to bridge the gap with existing professions and new professionals. And sadly, the biggest failure was that while there were a number of students AND young practicing professionals, there were very few (VERY FEW) older professionals. How can we bridge a gap when there is no dialogue between both parties? It is not up to the newbies alone to adjust, mature, and be molded into what the older generations want. The older generation needs to mold and adjust as well. That, sadly, was a great disappointment and many of the students I spoke with felt misled by the topic and the content (and, dare I say, propaganda) that was presented. Never was the inter-generational divide more apparent than it was in this session.

On a lighter and more positive note – I was able to attend a fabulous session yesterday on Bibliographic Control and what is being done in many libraries with regard to digital information. Beacher Wiggins presented LC’s thoughts on RDA and the future of bibliographic control from LC’s point of view. During his talk, Wiggins explained how LC was going to go about testing RDA. Not only will they be seeking the input of other institutions (including libraries, commercial vendors and archival institutions), they will be looking at such things as interoperability with existing software and methods (AACR2, MARC and existing ILS systems), financial aspects, training requirements and software/technology compatibility.

When the conference is over and I’m back in Halifax, I’ll have the time to write more fully on some of these sessions. However, I have to say that I can see a very promising future for cataloguers – if we can pursuade our management teams that we have knowledge management and information skills beyond creating MARC records.

The next two days will be full of sessions which focus heavily on cataloguing. Wednesday, I’ll be attending a Classification and Indexing session, a Knowledge Management session, a session on UNIMARC and Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning. Cataloguing and Bibliography sessions are on Thursday. I can’t wait to share what I learn!

As a final note, I would like to say that this experience is really an education. What I am really enjoying is the multicultural aspect. To see the excitement from a librarian in Croatia because they finally implemented an online catalogue in 2007 is amazing. That some of these librarians are facing much greater challenges than we are here in North America is really eye opening. It’s incredible.


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IFLA 2008 – Quebec City

I can’t believe IFLA 2008 is a little over a week away.  This is my first IFLA conference and I’m very excited.  The program looks great and I know I’ll be attending as many sessions as I can fit in to my schedule.  I’d also like to connect with other professionals. 

Let me know if any of you are attending, or if you have any recommendations/pointers on sessions.

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