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Uncontrolled Vocabulary #24 – Librarian-Patron Privilege

January 2, 2008

Uncontrolled Vocabulary #24 is now available for download. Here’s a direct link to the mp3.

You can subscribe to the show via the podcast feed (now available at the iTunes Music Store):

On the call:

Greg Schwartz, Louisville Free Public Library
Christa Burns, Nebraska Library Commission
Laura Carscaddon, University of Arizona
Rikhei Harris, Grand Valley State University
Eric Sizemore, Champaign Public Library

Links to the show topics:

1. Information Searches That Solve Problems (Pew Internet)
Breaking news: the Internet is useful, people still use libraries (Free Range Librarian)
Hype and the biblioblogosphere (Caveat Lector)

2. LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (Off the Mark)

3. Challenging Cheney (Newsweek)

4. Congress directs EPA to re-open its libraries (PEER)

5. Late Library Books Can Take Toll on Credit Scores (New York Times)
Should an Overdue Library Book Affect Your Credit Rating? (New York Times)

Submissions we didn’t get to:
Documents of Library in Boston to Go on Web (New York Times)
NIH: $29b in Health Science Set to Go Online for Free (ReadWriteWeb)
yeah, that might work (Attempting Elegance)
Don’t let DRM get between you and a good book (
School Librarians Are Heroes (A Wandering Eyre)


From → Episodes

  1. Stephen permalink

    Okay, as to the issues raised by Mark Linder. Greg mentioned the idea of running OCLC’s WorldCat as a wiki. Such an idea was expounded on a cataloging listserv in late 2006. While breaching the rules a little bit I will state that the idea was found to likely lead to an even worse situation than what we have now.WorldCat is the system by which cooperative cataloging takes places primarily. Is it equal? No, no it is not. When a record is submitted at “Level I”, the bit of jargon that describes a record fully written as per AACR2r, it cannot be changed by any old library. Even the library that submitted a “Level I” record cannot necessarily change what was submitted. Records coded as being “less than full” having level codes like K or 8 and can be changed by any library unlike a level code I record. Only a library with “Enhance” status can change records that are submitted under Level I. Those libraries are ones who are part of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging and who most likely participate in the BIBCO part of the program. If memory serves, Cleveland Public Library is one such library. This is a select group and is made up of bigger libraries that function as if they are satellite shops of LC’s cataloging unit. The list of participants can be found at: Harry Potter analogy is applicable here. Functionally we have a Wizards-Muggles divide. For the wizards of cataloging their Ministry of Magic is the Library of Congress. The work and life of catalogers is ultimately controlled by the Ministry even though there are channels of communication by which one can seek change. On the muggle side of the divide we have effectively all other library specialties who can understandably interact across the divide only with some difficulty.What is the big problem in all these processes? The new rule book known as RDA keeps verging on becoming DOA. I agree with Mark Linder’s reasoning that people are talking past each other in the process. In some respects there are firmly entrenched schools of thought. I am not sure change or renewal or whatever is needed is going to originate from within the cataloging community. Between the RDA deliberations and the Future of Bibliographic Control deliberations we see that there is little consensus as to ways forward.A look at the history of the creation of cataloging rules and the way cataloging processes have proceeded show that everybody is not equal in such. Right now it is not changing to make provision of access to information all that intuitive anymore. I have no clue what might be a better way forward.

  2. Laura permalink

    Thanks for the clarification, stephen. I was reading your tweets poorly – this makes both what you were saying and some of the issues more clear to me. I appreciate it!

  3. Greg Schwartz permalink

    Stephen,’Records coded as being “less than full” having level codes like K or 8 and can be changed by any library unlike a level code I record.’Unless I’m just being a lazy reader, that seems to directly contradict what Mark was suggesting in his post about his inability to edit Level 8 records. What am I missing?Thanks for listening and commenting.

  4. Stephen permalink

    Greg,Any library can make the edit. Level 8 records are pre-publication data that come from more than just LC. That encoding level should not normally used by agencies other than LC and/or the British Library. In practice it is possible as there are vendors who will prepare pre-publication data for materials. While the edit can be made it can sometimes be prevented from being saved.The biggest problem is LC’s standing in OCLC. The only place that can edit anything submitted by LC is pretty much LC. LC’s records have a fairly privileged status at any encoding level. If a paraprofessional copy cataloger pulled a record from LC that had a typo or other weirdness in it the fix is a bit odd. The record in the local OPAC can be adjusted. To have WorldCat updated an error report has to be filed with OCLC. Photocopies of evidence from the item concerned are required to support an error report. Resolution of such does not have any standard period between filing and closure. As far as I can recall I have an error report I filed lurking out there somewhere.I apologize for leaving out the details above. I did not mean to appear to contradict Mark Linder. It has certainly been a unique day with the Consumer Electronic Show happening north of me on The Strip in Las Vegas.

  5. MarkLindner permalink

    Not sure where the wiki discussion came from. That is certainly nothing that I am advocating. And I am aware of it on AUTOCAT and it goes on. and on. and ….I think I pretty much agree with stephen on the points of change not coming from within the cataloging community and not knowing the way forward either.I am certainly advocating change. Just not as radical as a widely open wiki.As for the rules of who can do what they are complex. And please do have a look at the BIBCO libraries, folks. There are a whole 47 of them. 47.Bottom line, for whatever reasons, I could not edit and save a DLC pre-pub record. In that regard perhaps I am a “paraprofessional copy cataloger” but in other respects I create original, full-level, CONSER serial records. I am in a better mood at the moment as yesterday I was able to do great record updates from M- to I-level on 4 Canadian documents, and I derived a record and created an original for the 5th document. I have no idea exactly what or why, or why not, I can do some things and not others. That I admit.The situation may even be as it is “supposed” to be, but it is an ignorant situation and certainly no way forward is my claim.

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