Library Standards and URIs
Tue, 13 Dec 1994 07:50:24 -0500

Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 07:50:24 -0500
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Library Standards and URIs

Larry suggested I go ahead and post these notes to the list.  Its just an outline,
and hence may be less than entirely scrutable to those not in attendence (perhaps
those who were, as well ;-).  I'd be happy to take up the discussion with any who
have comments or questions.



IETF  December, 1994 
San Jose, California 
URI  Working Group 
Existing Library Standards and the Evolution of  
Uniform Resource Characteristics 
Stuart Weibel 
Senior Research Scientist 
Office of Research 
OCLC Online Computer Library Center 
I. Objective of the Library Community: 
  Integrate electronic resource discovery with existing 
  paper resource discovery and retrieval. 
  (don't break what works) 
II. Basic Assumptions about URCs and their relationship to existing 
    library standards: 
   The Virtual library and the RL library must interoperate if the 
   needs of users are to be met.  
   Different object types have different requirements; not everything  
   should be described in the same ways or with the same level of detail. 
   URCs will have type attributes and perhaps level attributes.  
   URC types should share a common kernel of data elements.  
   URCs will be mapped algorithmically into and out of MARC records;  
   to the extent they are designed with this in mind, the Net and  
   existing libraries will work better together.  MARC need not be 
   the syntactical wrapper for URCs, but the rules for encoding 
   MARC records (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, or AACR-2) should 
   inform those elements of the URC that are similar. 
   Creation of URCs will take place over a wide spectrum of sources and  
   methods, with varying  degrees of richness and quality: 
      - professional catalogers 
      - publishers  
      - authors 
      - content experts 
      - automatic  cataloging 
   The richness and quality of records will thus vary across a broad  
   range; it will be necessary to develop procedures and means to  
   promote records from one level to a higher level, by addition of 
   more information, or application of authority control, for example. 
III. Authority Control:  
   Authority control will loom ever larger as an essential feature of 
   networked information management as the quanity of information 
   on the networks increases. 
   Authority control helps brings some things together and separate  
   others.  For example, many versions of a single intellectual work  
   can be grouped as a single work by the application of a Uniform Title. 
   Name authority records can be used to distinguish among many objects  
   having apparently similar author fields, but different actual authors. 
   There are exisiting procedures (and data files) for addressing these 
   issues now extant in the world of bibliographic description that can 
   be applied to networked information as this becomes necessary,  
      Personal Names 
      Corporate Names 
      Geographic Names 
      Uniform Titles 
      Subjects (controlled vocabularies) 
IV. Versioning  
   A very hard problem: countervailing priorities generally obtain. 
   A gerneral reader may just want any copy of Hamlet; multiple versions 
   in a catalog are confusing.  A scholar may be very interested in the  
   history of editions of Hamlet; for her, the same information that was  
   an annoyance to the general user is essential to her purpose. 
   Examples of two strategies for control numbers that have implications 
   for versioning: 
         - Assigned by publishers (distributed naming authotrity 
         - Essentially an inventory control identifier 
         - the same intellectual work is often assigned many ISBNs; 
           successive editions, different formats, etc.  
         - Assigned by a central authority 
         - Oriented more towards identification of            
           intellectual content than an artifact. 
V. Possible Candidates for URC Kernels 
   Text Encoding Initiative Headers:  
      Part of a ten year project to define the structure (in SGML) of  
      scholarly text.  Considerable attention has been paid to mapping  
      into and out of existing bibliographic data models. 
   Core Bibliographic Record:  
      A new standard of bibliographic description, positioned between 
      full cataloging minimal level cataloging standards.  The goal is 
      to reduce the costs of cataloging without substantiallty  
      compromising the usefulsness of the resulting records.  May provide  
      some insights as to a target level of description for electronic  
VI. Further Reading: 
The following articles afford an introduction to TEI headers and their 
application, as well as some background on the evolution of cataloging 
standards in libraries. 
The Documentation of Electronic Texts Using Text Encoding Initiative  
Headers: An Introduction 
Richard Giordano 
Library Resources and Technical Services 
38(4) 389-401 1994 
   Discusses the benefits and possible faults of the TEI header as a 
   basis for electronic text cataloging.  A basic introduction to TEI 
Cataloging Electronic Texts: The University of Virginia Library  
Edward Gaynor 
Library Resources and Technical Services 
38(4) 403-413 
   Describes one of the first efforts to integrate electronic document 
   cataloging in a conventional library environment; discusses aspects 
   of mapping between TEI headers and MARC records. 
The Core Record: A New Bibliographic Standard 
Willy Cromwell 
Library Resources and Technical Services 
38(4) 415-424 1994 
   A background paper on the development of a new cataloging level 
   intended to reduce the costs of cataloging; less extensive than 
   conventional full-level cataloging, more detailed than minimal-level