James Weinheimer | 7 Jul 12:05 2011
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Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

I recently read Jeffrey Beall's review of Eric Hellman's talk, "Library 
data: why bother?" that he gave at ALA 
http://metadata.posterous.com/review-of-eric-hellmans-talk-at-ala-annual-20 
and I finally managed to find the actual slides of so that I can get my 
own impression of his controversial talk. The slides are at: 
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FipVVoH&h=4AQDVSolC. I 
suggest people look at these slides as a good example of how catalogs 
are viewed by many highly influential "information experts".

Jeffrey Beall did not like the talk, "Hellman's talk was among the most 
arrogant and flippant I had ever attended at an ALA conference. His talk 
was supposed to be about linked data, but he exploited his position as 
speaker to unwarrantedly trash libraries, library standards, and 
librarians." I sympathize with his anger, but I think it is vital today 
to accept that many non-librarians--and even librarians--share Eric 
Hellman's conclusion that the library and its catalogs are becoming 
obsolete, if they have not already been obsolete for some time. Lots of 
people agree with Hellman that the replacement is/will be full-text 
searching and they put their faith in SEO, that is, "Search Engine 
Optimization". Especially in today's economic climate, there is a lot of 
pressure on administrators to reconsider everything that their 
organization is doing to maximize their options and if someone could 
convince administrators that they had a "magic machine" some, if not 
many, would snap at it.

I think Hellman brings up a point that is highly important where he 
says: "We don't need surrogates", which I take to mean that we do not 
need separate catalog records. Although he doesn't say it in so many 
words, I believe Hellman is saying that if metadata has a use, it is to 
*improve* the SEO by inserting more specific dates, some type of 
(Continue reading)

Mark Ehlert | 7 Jul 15:42 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

James Weinheimer <weinheimer.jim.l@...> wrote:
> The slides are at:
> http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FipVVoH&h=4AQDVSolC.

All I get is a master slides file.

--

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Mark K. Ehlert                 Minitex
Coordinator                    University of Minnesota
Bibliographic & Technical      15 Andersen Library
  Services (BATS) Unit        222 21st Avenue South
Phone: 612-624-0805            Minneapolis, MN 55455-0439
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James Weinheimer | 7 Jul 15:45 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Sorry, it works for me. I found the link from Eric Hellman's Facebook 
page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Go-To-Hellman/334784530929 where he 
announces his presentation.

On 07/07/2011 15:42, Mark Ehlert wrote:
> James Weinheimer<weinheimer.jim.l@...>  wrote:
>> The slides are at:
>> http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FipVVoH&h=4AQDVSolC.
> All I get is a master slides file.
>

--

-- 
James Weinheimer  weinheimer.jim.l@...
First Thus: http://catalogingmatters.blogspot.com/
Cooperative Cataloging Rules: http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/

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Suzanne R Graham | 7 Jul 17:00 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Hi all,

You'll need to click the red button at the top right of the toolbar ("Close Master View"). Then you should see
the slides.

I understood his point here to be that we don't just need to describe the item as it is (create a surrogate),
but we need to further enhance its context and usability. He talked about using search engine
optimization and linked data to push our items out to the larger world (no longer just warehousing them)
and connect the item to other items (to create the browsing the stacks joy).

It was a thought-provoking talk.

-Suzanne

Suzanne R. Graham
Cataloging Services Librarian
Alexander Campbell King Law Library
University of Georgia School of Law
(former chair of LITA NextGen Catalog IG & moderator of this ALA session)

> James Weinheimer<weinheimer.jim.l@...>  wrote:
>> The slides are at:
>> http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FipVVoH&h=4AQDVSolC.
> All I get is a master slides file.
>

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(Continue reading)

Ted P Gemberling | 7 Jul 19:50 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Looking at the slides, it does look like he got into some interesting things later in the
presentation--after I left. If he had only not made a point of starting by dismissing the value of almost
everything we do as librarians. I agree with Brian's and Jeffrey Beall's reactions to the talk. 

Ted Gemberling
UAB Lister Hill Library 
(205)934-2461

-----Original Message-----
From: AUTOCAT [mailto:AUTOCAT@...] On Behalf Of Suzanne R Graham
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 10:00 AM
To: AUTOCAT@...
Subject: Re: [ACAT] Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Hi all,

You'll need to click the red button at the top right of the toolbar ("Close Master View"). Then you should see
the slides.

I understood his point here to be that we don't just need to describe the item as it is (create a surrogate),
but we need to further enhance its context and usability. He talked about using search engine
optimization and linked data to push our items out to the larger world (no longer just warehousing them)
and connect the item to other items (to create the browsing the stacks joy).

It was a thought-provoking talk.

-Suzanne

Suzanne R. Graham
Cataloging Services Librarian
(Continue reading)

John Hostage | 7 Jul 15:56 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

At first it looked like a master slides file to me too.  But click on the View menu, then on Slide show (in
PowerPoint 2007).

------------------------------------------
John Hostage
Authorities and Database Integrity Librarian
Langdell Hall
Harvard Law School Library
Cambridge, MA 02138
hostage@...
+(1)(617) 495-3974 (voice)
+(1)(617) 496-4409 (fax)
http://www.law.harvard.edu/library/

-----Original Message-----
From: AUTOCAT [mailto:AUTOCAT@...] On Behalf Of Mark Ehlert
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 09:43
To: AUTOCAT@...
Subject: Re: [ACAT] Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

James Weinheimer <weinheimer.jim.l@...> wrote:
> The slides are at:
> http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FipVVoH&h=4AQDVSolC.

All I get is a master slides file.

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(Continue reading)

Mark Ehlert | 7 Jul 16:04 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

John Hostage <hostage@...> wrote:
> At first it looked like a master slides file to me too.  But click on the View menu, then on Slide show (in
PowerPoint 2007).

My thanks to John and others for pointing out how to view the real
slideshow content.  I admit to not using PowerPoint very much.

Goes to show what happens when I judge the file by its cover...slides.

--

-- 
Mark K. Ehlert                 Minitex
Coordinator                    University of Minnesota
Bibliographic & Technical      15 Andersen Library
  Services (BATS) Unit        222 21st Avenue South
Phone: 612-624-0805            Minneapolis, MN 55455-0439
<http://www.minitex.umn.edu/>

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J. McRee Elrod | 7 Jul 15:35 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

>I think Hellman brings up a point that is highly important where he 
>says: "We don't need surrogates" ...

This assumes that (1) all library resources are available in
electronic form, or (2) if not, the title accurately reflects the
content.  "Puritan in Babylon" says nothing about Puritans or Babylon.

Not all library resources are textual these days.  A surrogate is
certainly needed for a work of art, a motion picture, or an electronic
device.

   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod (mac@...)
  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://www.slc.bc.ca/
  ___} |__ \__________________________________________________________

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James Weinheimer | 7 Jul 16:21 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

On 07/07/2011 15:35, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
<snip>
>> I think Hellman brings up a point that is highly important where he
>> says: "We don't need surrogates" ...
> This assumes that (1) all library resources are available in
> electronic form, or (2) if not, the title accurately reflects the
> content.  "Puritan in Babylon" says nothing about Puritans or Babylon.
>
> Not all library resources are textual these days.  A surrogate is
> certainly needed for a work of art, a motion picture, or an electronic
> device.
</snip>

I don't know if Hellman would disagree with this. He apparently does 
assume everything digital, which I think is a fair assumption, in the 
sense that "if it's not digital, it doesn't exist". The same thing 
happened with printed documents, where if something was not printed and 
remained only in manuscript, it was ignored by society. Something 
similar seems to be happening today but we are in a time of transition. 
(It's too bad since I am a bookman!)

As I understand Hellman's presentation, he is arguing that there may be 
a place for metadata, but not as a "surrogate" for the item--rather the 
metadata should serve to improve the Search Engine Optimization. This 
next point comes from me and I don't know if he would agree: this 
metadata can be added in various ways, as embedded metadata, or now 
there is microdata, although these "metadata-type improvements" could 
probably exist separately. Still the user would probably never see the 
"surrogate" since it would be used only by the search engine to optimize 
the result for the searcher in various ways.
(Continue reading)

J. McRee Elrod | 7 Jul 19:32 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

James Weinheimer said:

>The same thing happened with printed documents, where if something
>was not printed and >remained only in manuscript, it was ignored by
>society.

There was a lot of writing and reading before movable type printing
was developed in Korea and Europe, as well as libraries with catalogues.

We still pour over manuscripts.  Remember the Dead Sea Scrolls?

All of the recorded intellectual and artistic expression of humankind
in the province of libraries.

Suzanne Graham said:

>I understood his point here to be that we don't just need to describe
>the item as it is (create a surrogate), but we need to further
>enhance ...

Yes.  That's why we add 505s and 520s to MARC records, particularly
items which can not be picked up and examined with one's bifocals.  
Clients tell us use of e-books rises sharply when 505s and 520s are
supplied.  We've had less positive feed back for 653 or 695 keywords.

   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod (mac@...)
  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://www.slc.bc.ca/
  ___} |__ \__________________________________________________________

--
(Continue reading)

Daniel CannCasciato | 7 Jul 20:41 2011

Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Mac wrote, in response to Susan Graham:

>>I understood his point here to be that we don't just need to describe
>>the item as it is (create a surrogate), but we need to further
>>enhance ...
> 
> Yes.  That's why we add 505s and 520s to MARC records, particularly
> items which can not be picked up and examined with one's bifocals.  
> Clients tell us use of e-books rises sharply when 505s and 520s are
> supplied.  We've had less positive feed back for 653 or 695 keywords.

which all sounds to me as if it's supportive of ye olde Cutter's objective: 

3. To assist in the choice of a book
(G) as to its editions (bibliographically)
(H) as to its character (literary or topical)

both of which he indicated in the "Means" could/would/should  be supported by  "Giving edition and imprint,
with notes when necessary (for G). ... Notes (for H)."

I agree, this sort of expansive information (with links out to even more detailed info at times) is a
positive and progressive path for us to be taking.  

Daniel

--

-- 

Daniel CannCasciato
Head of Cataloging
Central Washington University Brooks Library
(Continue reading)

Liz Woolcott | 7 Jul 21:00 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

I was there for Hellman’s talk – and I actually quite liked it.  I didn’t
agree with everything he said, of course, because he glossed over some of
the bigger problems that need to be addressed, but overall, I thought he
frankly stated the problem with our methodology in the library field.  No
wonder people were a bit riled up.

 Here is the biggest problem that I can see with our current reliance on
the  “catalog” style of information management – it does not match how
people go about finding information.  Consider any reference interview you
have ever conducted with a patron.  Did they ask specifically “What is the
call number for your 1984 Harper Collins paperback edition of the *Catcher
In the Rye* by J.D. Salinger?”    Probably not.

Yet our catalogs, which have amazing search power once you get inside them,
post guards are the gate that demand that the patron present the password in
the form of a title, author, subject, etc. – just to get into the catalog.
We have made one step in their direction by adding keyword searching, but,
as has been noted many times – the relevancy of keyword searching
(especially full-text searching) can make the situation even more
problematic.

This is where SEO comes into play, especially in terms of the semantic web.
Consider Google’s “Did you mean…” service.  It tries to bridge the gap
between what the user is inputting and what they are really trying to get
at.   Taking the first steps toward building a semantic web, such as using
schema.org as  Hellmann suggested, allows us to build off of Google’s
current and increasing strength of creating intuitive searching.  Microdata
such as schema.org allows the search engines to understand there are
different kinds of meanings for the same words or strings of words.  Taking
Hellmann’s and schema.org’s example, a user could input the term “Avatar”
(Continue reading)

James Weinheimer | 8 Jul 13:14 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

On 07/07/2011 19:32, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
<snip>
> James Weinheimer said:
>> The same thing happened with printed documents, where if something
>> was not printed and>remained only in manuscript, it was ignored by
>> society.
> There was a lot of writing and reading before movable type printing
> was developed in Korea and Europe, as well as libraries with catalogues.
>
> We still pour over manuscripts.  Remember the Dead Sea Scrolls?
>
> All of the recorded intellectual and artistic expression of humankind
> in the province of libraries.
</snip>

Yes, there are many documents in manuscript--but they get genuinely 
acknowledged and used by society only after their contents can be 
communicated to others, and this always meant: being converted into 
another format. Before printing, copying manuscripts was expensive and 
time consuming, and could be done on a highly limited basis. It was also 
incredibly prone to error. It turned out that printing of various types 
was the only real way of making information generally available until 
computers and the web appeared.

Before a new and more useful format appears on the scene, people have no 
choice except to use the old format or go without. This happened when 
people had to use manuscripts locally--the vast majority had no access 
to those materials. But when the new, "improved" format arrives, those 
documents that never get converted into the new format are left behind. 
They practically stop being used, or are used by even fewer people than 
(Continue reading)

Brian Briscoe | 8 Jul 16:10 2011

Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

My biggest complaint about the Hellman-esque approach (and ALA's support of
it) to cataloging betterment is in the way in which it is presented.  With
the exception of the few stereotypical head-in-the-sand catalogers out
there, catalogers understand very well that our catalogs need to become more
web-compatible and need to be more user-friendly. There has been much
movement toward taht area.

Instead of focusing on the progress that has been made and touting
catalogers' work toward making things better, the Hellmans hold us up
against a Google standard that has its own serious shortcomings while, at
the same time, totally ignoring those shortcomings. While we work to make
our catalogs more like Google, Google looks to make its searching more like
a library's (add authorities, better subject access,etc.). Yet, the ALA put
these critics on the stand and what library administrators (and funders)
hear is "catalogers .... blah, blah blah ... bad>. Our funding gets cut and
so we are able to progress more slowly toward the semantic web-ization that
we seek.

There are other areas of librarianship that can be critiqued as well as
cataloging. For instance, Google makes a much more healthy profit than
libraries do. Imagine how much better we could serve our users if we made a
better profit and had more money to use! (Surely I jest, but that argument
can be made very well outside librarydom.) Will ALA provide a pulpit for the
advocates of a such a view at the annual convention?

--
Brian K. Briscoe
Catalog Manager
St. Charles City-County Library District
St. Peters, MO  USA
(Continue reading)

J. McRee Elrod | 8 Jul 17:07 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Brian Briscoe said:

>... catalogers understand very well that our catalogs need to become more
>web-compatible and need to be more user-friendly. There has been much
>movement toward taht area.

Exactly.  And that means ILS development, creating a whole new
structure, not fiddling with the building blocks as does RDA.

SLC can walk from MARC to any "web friendly" format you want, and has
done so (usually for non OPAC use).  But the ILSs to utilize these
formats do not exist.

   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod (mac@...)
  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://www.slc.bc.ca/
  ___} |__ \__________________________________________________________

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James Weinheimer | 8 Jul 18:00 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

On 08/07/2011 17:07, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
<snip>
> Brian Briscoe said:
>> ... catalogers understand very well that our catalogs need to become more
>> web-compatible and need to be more user-friendly. There has been much
>> movement toward taht area.
> Exactly.  And that means ILS development, creating a whole new
> structure, not fiddling with the building blocks as does RDA.
>
> SLC can walk from MARC to any "web friendly" format you want, and has
> done so (usually for non OPAC use).  But the ILSs to utilize these
> formats do not exist.
</snip>

The more I consider these matters, the more I become convinced that the 
very premise of the catalog needs to be changed. On the one side are the 
needs of the users, comprising many, many different types of 
communities, and on the other side there are the needs of the 
librarians. And yet, everybody is supposed to use "the catalog". Why?

The only reason that everyone is expected to use the same system is 
because that is the way it has always been--catalogers always used the 
same catalog as the patrons. Actually, it would probably be more correct 
to say that "patrons have always had to use the same catalog as the 
catalogers" (not counting the old "official catalogs" which were 
essentially duplicates of the public catalog, the official catalog being 
off limits to the users, who could mess up the public one and it would 
not be that big of a disaster, at least not for the catalogers!).  The 
need for everyone to consult the same catalog has always led to an 
uneasy peace, dating back at least to Panizzi. Today, there is 
(Continue reading)

Brian Briscoe | 7 Jul 15:49 2011

Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Mr. Weinheimer makes some great points about the disconnect between today's
expectations and our current catalogs. Please allow me to toss in my own
musings intended not to criticize what he wrote, but merely to express some
thoughts.

IMO, much of the anti-catalog argument is based upon a lack of full
knowledge concerning metadata and some of the benefits of library
cataloging. For instance, I like full-text searching. If I know the title I
am seeking, or the phrase, or some semblance of it, full-text works very
well (after all, that is why we added keyword searching to our catalog).
However, full-text does me limited good if I am searching for a given
subject. Full-term search when looking for a subject term results in false
drops and frustration for the user. This is not the only example of an area
where library cataloging trumps keyword/full-text searching. The answer is
for us librarians to move quicker in merging integrating "full-text" keyword
and other new technologies with our valuable traditional strengths (i.e.
subject access, authorities, etc.) to create discovery tools that meet the
wants and needs of our users.

(On a personal note, as a member of ALA, I am offended that my dues go to
invite these kinds of speeches at ALA. Why must we always be defending
oursleves against out own professional organization? I am waiting for the
time when they invite a speaker to talk about the need for governments to
cut funding for libraries because they just aren't current enough. Pshaw!
)

--

-- 
Brian K. Briscoe
Catalog Manager
St. Charles City-County Library District
(Continue reading)

MULLEN Allen | 7 Jul 18:22 2011
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Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

An easy way to view this slide presentation (Google Docs):

http://bit.ly/oFMYKN

Allen Mullen
Cataloger
Eugene Public Library
Allen.Mullen@...

"I used to think the World Wide Web was a huge revolution, comparable to Gutenberg but what I now think was
authentically revolutionary and as transformative as Gutenberg were search engines."  Dr. Paul
LeClerc, NYPL President (outgoing)

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