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Union Catalogs As Institutions of Culture Henryk Hollender Lazarski University Sept. 4, 2012 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Union Catalogs As Institutions of Culture Henryk Hollender Lazarski University Sept. 4, 2012 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Union Catalogs As Institutions of Culture Henryk Hollender Lazarski University Sept. 4, 2012 1

2 A cultural remark on „Union Catalogs As Institutions of Culture”. This paper was initially intended for the Polish audience. When we hear „institutions of culture”, we understand, in a sense, „cultured institutions” or, first of all, „institutions of [appropriate, desired, mainstream] culture”. And indeed, we like „instytucje” to be „kultury”. This is not necessarily what a native speaker would probably assume; her/his uderstanding would be more anthropological, like „institutions characterized by their cultural features or aspects”. 2

3 Union catalogs as institutions of culture? What is cultural about union catalogs? Obvious: Cultural contents: books & stuff A catalog can support research and leisure Unobvious, perhaps: Catalog as source of standards, patterns, practices Catalog as a story (image? map?) of a national (regional, professional) culture An organization behind the catalog may engage in diversified cultural activities 3

4 4 For. Maria Burchard,,90889,5311351.html?i=0,90889,5311351.html?i=0 When we think of NUKAT… Pioneering Standard-driven Unifying, consolidating Strict, austere Disseminating bibliographic rationality and excellence Clear, user friendly, simple The front line of essential bibliographic discussion and decision in Poland Open and inviting A general problem with subject headings… addressed. But solved? Processing external data and gradually withdrawing from control of cataloguing quality

5 Nadia Caidi on national union catalogs (2004): „Like any socio-technical system, a union catalog embodies the values, beliefs and practices of its producers, along with their broader social and cultural contexts.” This includes, among others: Power issues Cultural issues (choices and values that are embedded in the design and use of information, its agencies, and its technologies ) Trade-off between globalization and localization Disseminantion or protection: language and cultural heritage issues 5

6 Does this thing communicate? Union catalog as a culture-specific creation Decisions, financing, organizational structure (formal and informal), management, organizational culture Priorities on contents and method „National” dimension: a monument or a utility. Heritage issues. Politics of memory Professional dimension. Is the information community able to learn from the undertaking? Follow it? Shape it? Oppose it? Public image and social function. The union catalog awareness in education and research Taxonomies, vocabularies and mapping: how catalog organizes knowledge and language (thesauri, indexes, terminology, classification, scripts) „Plenty of everything”: media, formats, technologies, genres. Completeness and lacunae Order and beauty: design, Website ergonomics, search functions, usage enjoyment, editorial taste and skills 6

7 Scope of responsibilities of a central bibliographic utility: a case of ABES (France, 1994) Publisher of SUDOC (Système Universitaire de Documentation): 10 million bibliographic records, 32 million copies, 24 million public queries in 2010 Manages and promotes the pooling and sharing of resources and strengths. Managerial mosaic: network of ca. 1,800 libraries; groups, committees, tasks, numerous links to the world of government and politics; complex issues in efficiency, transparency, and control. Increasingly working on the Semantic Web Theses portal: Fichier Central des Theses + STEP – Referencing Theses in Progress Negotiating and acquisitions of national licences and grouped orders In Poland – probably the most difficult area 7

8 Union catalogs: hottest bibliographic and computational issues Authority control and the beginings of NUKAT Multiple physical contents Enhanced data, languages, alphabets etc. Diversified discourse units. Statistics that describe the catalog usage or contents (may lead to quantitative study on distribution of cultural phenomena, like a region’s publishing output) Global Library Manifestation Identifier (OCLC) Virtual International Authority File (OCLC) Duplicate records vs paralell records. New approach to record uniqueness, record linking, and record/holdings linking. (See the next slide) 8

9 „The days of reliance on just one master record in WorldCat for a given publication are now over, and it is time for a new approach to clustering metadata and holdings information.” (WorldCat Quality: An OCLC Report, 2011, p. 11) Calhoun, Karen, and Glenn E. Patton. WorldCat Quality An OCLC Report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, 2011., p. 4. ports/worldcatquality/214660u sb_WorldCat_Quality.pdf 9

10 Most widely held works by O. V. de L Milosz Audience Level Related Identities Useful Links Associated Subjects Languages Cultural lessons from THE union catalog, interoperation and connectivity 10

11 „Magisterium” of a union catalog Authoritativeness of data Hub for processing and metadata of all that is published (cf. national catalog – national bibliography issue) Managerial excellence and patterns: speed, efficiency, routines, leadership and working habits Importance of „is in” and „is not in” for all that is published Giant record of the nation’s (state, region, network etc.) history and identity Contents information: how to combine neutrality, precision, and moral standards 11

12 A case in presentation of material of high cultural importance (1). A union catalog record: a trimmed record from the local catalog? Important note. But this is what the title actually mentions. The title could be more articulate – why not extend it, we are no longer restricted with the catalog card size, are we? Even with shared cataloging, the union catalog is under a pressure from bibliographic cultures of contributing libraries. Isn’t ownership note copy- specific rather than edition- specific? Does NUKAT/WorldCat user deserves provenance info? If so, in what format? Bibliographic source: surely yes. But what „BSZ” actually means? 12

13 A case in presentation of material of high cultural importance (2). Digital library – library catalog complementarity; catalog record goes to the federated catalog 13

14 Digital library – library catalog complementarity 14

15 15

16 16 Union catalog and the language policy (1)

17 Calhoun, Karen, and Glenn E. Patton. WorldCat Quality An OCLC Report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, 2011., p. 4. Union catalog and the language policy (2). Transliteration, transcription, and respect for scripts other than Latin. In Poland? Wydaje się, że w czasach obecnych, gdy znikały żelazne kurtyny i kruszone były betonowe mury, nadszedł czas na pełne respektowanie piękna kulturowego innych narodów i zaniechania niesławnych praktyk przeszłości. Wyzwaniem czasu nie jest całkowite zarzucenie transliteracji i transkrypcji, lecz wprowadzenie jednolitych zasad dodatkowego posługiwania się językiem oryginału w systemach informacyjnych i jak najszybsze wdrożenie ich w codzienną praktykę. Jurand B. Czermiński: Cyfrowe środowisko współczesnej biblioteki, Gdańsk: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, 2002, p. 144. 17

18 Scripts other than local/national are now common in union catalogs. BELARUSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY 18

19 Каталог старопечатных книг (изданных с 1450 по 1830 гг.) RUSSIAN STATE LIBRARY 19

20 There is more to catalog contents than its adopted coverage Civil war in Poland; The Bell Curve: Meager presence in libraries, and no translations into Polish 20

21 And now subject headings: could they be sharp, informative, and unbiased? Assigned to fiction? Supplemented with genre headings? + Goodreads reviews 21

22 Different cataloging rules? Different understanding of the librarian’s role? Different understanding of the analyzed text? Mitchell, Margaret: Gone with the Wind O’Hara, Scarlett (Fictitious character) -- Fiction Georgia – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Fiction Women – Georgia -- Fiction Love stories Plantation life – Fiction + Summary Israel Shahak: Jewish history, Jewish religion… Israel – politics and government Orthodox Judaism – Israel – Controversial literature Zionism Palestinian Arabs – Israel Mitchell, Margaret: Przeminęło z wiatrem Stany Zjednoczone – 1861-1865 (Wojna secesyjna) – powieści Gatunek/forma: Powieść amerykańska – 1900- 1945 -- tłumaczenia polskie Israel Shahak: Żydowskie dzieje i religia… Kwestia żydowska – historia Judaizm – pisma polemiczne Judaizm – zwyczaje i praktyki Żydzi – moralność Żydzi – obyczaje i zwyczaje Żydzi – sposób życia 22

23 23 Culture – a librarian’s* perspective Mission and performance of the national union catalog What professional values and competences are present at the country’s library scene The culture: elites and the general society Global culture *

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