Sacred Cow #4: Notes, notes, notes

Posted On Sep 5 2008 by

In case you’re wondering how many cows are in this pasture, I started counting and figured I could keep this series going for at least the rest of the calendar year.  How long can I milk this one?  After a while, though, it begins to look whiny and tired, so I thought I would end with a cow for which it might make sense to make more hay.  (there, have I…ahem…butchered that metaphor enough?). Some of last week’s work had me thinking about notes fields in bibliographic and item records.  Boy, do we love notes.  We didn’t quite have the …


Trick or Treat

Posted On Oct 31 2007 by

A bunch of my colleagues are dressed up today. I considered donning my khaki-colored dockers, denim shirt, and brown loafers, but was afraid that no one would recognize me as being a vendor. I needed too many props to pull off the costume, like some PowerPoint slides that look like a real website. I have mastered the ability to smile, rock back and forth on my feet while swinging my arms, and exuding that look of “Boy, do I have a solution for you!” It’s getting harder these days to determine whether what libraries are getting is a trick or …


Preserving Money

Posted On Sep 26 2007 by

It was about eight years ago this fall that I sat down to make my very first attempt at professional writing. I submitted my very first column for “Coming Full Circle” in Computers in Libraries. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I think I worked harder on that column than on any one since, with the possible exception of my very first column for American Libraries. I’m happy to say that the CIL article on digital preservation still has legs. I’m a little sad for digital preservation that the article still has legs. I was pretty good in those days …


Interoperability Is a Lie

Posted On Sep 5 2007 by

Since I’ve said it a few times, I thought I would get it down in print before it got taken out of context or worse. “Interoperability is the biggest lie in automation today.” The word is thrown around as easily and meaninglessly as “friend.” Interoperable is, at best, an adjective for standards-based systems, and at worst, a hack to cover up the fact that different systems are not at all meant to speak to one another. The former case is so rare as to make it the exception; the latter case is perpetual job security for systems people. interoperability Function: …


ICE is Nice

Posted On Aug 29 2007 by

I am willing to admit that I remain skeptical about the “one big pile” approach to next generation catalogs that is sweeping the library automation world. While I don’t agree that advanced relevance ranking techniques are ineffective on bibliographic records (go look, there is no literature that I can find on this topic…there’s tons on full-text, but nothing on surrogate record relevance), I wonder what happens when the catalog becomes more than it used to be. If a relevance algorithm is based on whether or not a library holds a title, what happens when an article is thrown in the …