Archive for the ‘ala2008’ Category

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Future of Cataloging

Part one. Part two is here.

On Sunday I participated in the ALA panel Creating the Future of the Catalog and Cataloging. My panel-mates were Diane Hillmann, Jennifer Bowen, Roy Tennant and Martha Yee. Robert Wolven moderated.

The whole panel was four hours long, with brief presentations by each of us and a lot of conversation. I recorded almost all of it, but the quality is very poor and I’d need everyone’s permission—including the questioners—to put it up. I can, however, put up my presentation. I had do re-record the screencasting part, which therefore isn’t click-perfect.

The second part is here:

Reading the Book. As usual, I neglected to underline just what all my evidence demonstrated, expecting the evidence to speak for itself. Thus my point in mentioning my wife’s book’s wrong LCSH’s was to point out that, while expert training is certainly valuable, the untrained taggers on LibraryThing often exceed the trained expert in having actually read the book. I should add that I say this to emphasize one way in which tagging is good, not to attack catalogers who have insisted, quite rightly, that they don’t have time to read the book, and aren’t being lazy or slapdash.

As you can imagine, this observation of mine has got me into some hot water. But I think it deserves saying, particularly as, despite all the discussions of cataloging vs. tagging out there, I have never seen this point mentioned.

To press my luck a bit, I’d also like to note that it sets the professional classification-vs.-tagging argument apart from similar arguments in related fields, e.g., real journalists vs. citizen journalists, real dentists vs. your dad with some string and a doorknob, etc.

But there’s an easy retort here too. Once cataloging is fully distributed—with librarians around the country able to take part—we can certainly imagine a future where, in addition to everyone else, at least one qualified, degreed library professional has also read the book and classified it. Wouldn’t that be the best of both worlds?

If I get some time—in short supply after letting emails pile up for a week!—I’ll blog about the panel in general. Despite its topic and length, it was very well attended—the police actually removed people from the room for overcrowding! And it spurred a lot of people to come by the LibraryThing booth to congratulate me or take me up on some point or another.

Incidentally, I forgot to name Jeremy Dibbell, who heads up Legacy Libraries now, and I referred to him as an archivist, not a librarian. I do my talks ad lib and make such mistakes. Mea Culpa!

Update: Diane Hillmann posted here slides here.

Labels: ala 2008, ala2008, future of cataloging

Friday, June 27th, 2008

LibraryThing at ALA—with reviews in your catalog!

I’ve only brought one rhino this time—two rhinos cut down on the standing room—but the rhino and I will be at ALA 2008 in Anaheim (booth 2878), showing off LibraryThing for Libraries.

I’ll be showing off our new reviews feature, which allow any library to add patron-reviewing to their OPAC, with review sharing between libraries and a base of 200,000 librarian-approved reviews from LibraryThing.

I think it’s going to be a big deal. With luck, I’ll get a screencast about it out before morning…

Labels: ala2008, librarything for libraries, ltfl

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The Future of Cataloging at ALA

If you’re at ALA in Anaheim, have nothing to do Sunday morning and are interested in the future of cataloging—and who isn’t?—you might be interested in the following panel:

ALA Annual Conference
Sunday, June 29, 2008 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Anaheim Convention Center, Rm. 204B

The panelist include Roy Tennant, Jennifer Bowen, Martha Yee, Diane Hillmann—and (gulp) me!

The moderator, Robert Wolven of Columbia*, is promising to keep it snappy, with brief presentations and oodles of time to discuss the big issues.

I don’t know all the panelists, but I know we include some very different visions of the future. There may be fireworks! (I won’t be attacking OCLC as much as I otherwise might. Roy could disarm Rambo.)

My mini-presentation is titled “UGC: The Next Sharp Stick?” UGC is, of course, User Generated Content. And the “Next Sharp Stick? is a reference to John Hodgman’s humorous one-act play “Fire: The Next Sharp Stick?” The play ends with the fire-promoting caveman being killed, of course.

What can I say? They didn’t ask me on to be conservative straight-man.

*No “primary link” I can find, but see this for starters.

Labels: ala, ala anaheim, ala2008, cataloging