Cataloguing for the users: from catalogue objectives to bibliographic data

Mercun, Tanja and Žumer, Maja Cataloguing for the users: from catalogue objectives to bibliographic data., 2014 . In Faster, Smarter and Richer. Reshaping the library catalogue, Roma (Italy), 27-28 February 2014. (Unpublished) [Presentation]


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English abstract

Using library catalogues today, it is very time consuming and sometimes even impossible to answer questions such as “What versions of Don Quixote are available in my library?” “What English translations of Don Quixote can I choose from?” “What other works by Cervantes are available at the library?” or “What kind of adaptations based on Don Quixote does the library hold?”. For each of these questions, the user would first have to form a correct query and then spend a considerable amount of time inspecting all the retrieved records in order to create a mental image of what is available in the collection and to select the records that best correspond to the query. In many cases, the system would not retrieve all the relevant records and the user would not be able to identify all the needed elements to make an informed decision. With a growing awareness that libraries need to create not only more functional, informative, and useful but also more technologically advanced library catalogues, we have witnesses several initiatives in the last few years that have triggered a long overdue deliberation on bibliographic data and formats. With FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), RDA (Resource Description and Access), BIBFRAME and other developments, libraries finally have the opportunity to set up a framework for data and an infrastructure that will enable more powerful retrieval and semantics within user interfaces and thus better meet users’ needs. However, the transition to new formats will not happen overnight which is why it is important to understand the limitations and potentials of the current format, cataloguing practices, as well as cataloguing rules in relation to the desired catalogue functionality. Not only that, there is a danger that the transformation is not going to be successful if the objectives of a library catalogue and the vision of user’s interaction are not placed at the centre of the development. Revisiting the objectives of library catalogues, the paper looks at how the missing functionality could be achieved by improving the underlying bibliographic data. To begin with, the paper identifies different types of queries and information needs that current catalogues do not efficiently support, such as finding all works of an author or endeavours where a person had a specific role, distinguishing between different versions of a work, identifying and associating related works etc. It then reviews bibliographic data in current MARC records, pointing out the inconsistencies and incompleteness that present an obstacle to fulfilling catalogue’s objectives. It also looks at how well RDA addresses these issues, and discusses some possible modifications (for example consistent use of descriptive identification, relator codes, field linking, access points) to help process records in a way that would support the creation of more advanced, FRBR-based library catalogues. Using our prototype system FrbrVis which enables exploration of all versions of a work, works related to the work and works by and about the author, the paper shows one possible improvement of library catalogues and discusses the changes that were needed to achieve such functionality.

Item type: Presentation
Keywords: library catalogues, FRBR, MARC
Subjects: I. Information treatment for information services > IA. Cataloging, bibliographic control.
Depositing user: Ilaria Fava
Date deposited: 07 Mar 2014 13:22
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:30


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