Monthly Archives: December 2006

Mass digitization

In preparation for my trip to France recently, I read, in English, Jean-Noël Jeanneney’s critique of the Google digitization of library books, Google and the myth of universal knowledge : a view from Europe (‘available’ here, on, er, Google Book Search). Whatever one’s response to his argument, it is a reminder of how sparse the … Continue reading Mass digitization

Finding fiction

FictionFinder has been available for quite a while. Check out the new version. This is a prototype which has several motivations. It takes fiction records from Worldcat and shows how the data can be made ‘work harder’ to create useful and interesting experience. It offers a ‘frbresque’ view of the data, clustering records under works; … Continue reading Finding fiction

Research Reserve

I mentioned below that I attended a meeting which discussed the UK Research Reserve (UKRR) last week (see UK Research Reserve Update [pdf], a presentation by Clare Jenkins, Imperial College, for details of this initiative). I was in London for other purposes and thought it would be interesting to attend given the growing general interest … Continue reading Research Reserve


A little while ago, a former colleague pointed me at the Wikipedia page for Lorcan Dempsey. I had several reactions, one of which was to want to edit the page. It is mostly based on the limited amount of information in my public OCLC bio and on the web more widely. I have not edited … Continue reading Wikipedia

The record and authority

One function of libraries is to preserve the scholarly and cultural record. This is a rather diffuse goal, for which libraries feel variably responsible. Of course, national libraries have a particular mandate, usually to gather and preserve the published record of their home country, or in some cases, more broadly, of materials published about their … Continue reading The record and authority

Future of bibliographic control

I am a member of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control convened by Deanna Marcum of the Library of Congress. Advances in search-engine technology, the popularity of the Internet and the influx of electronic information resources have greatly changed the way libraries do their work. To address those changes, the Library of … Continue reading Future of bibliographic control

QOTD: hiding things on the library website

Libraries struggle with how to present multiple digital materials on their websites. Here is The Oldie magazine on the rewards and frustrations of using public library websites. First, get to know the catalogue; the entire regional catalogue is available for you to look at from home. You can search for a book, tape, CD or … Continue reading QOTD: hiding things on the library website

Two buildings

I spoke last Friday at Numérique et bibliothèques : le deuxième choc a conference at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, at Le site François-Mitterrand. Earlier in the week I attended a meeting about the proposed UK Research Reserve at the British Library, at St Pancras. The UKRR is a collaborative higher eduction storage project looking … Continue reading Two buildings

QOTD: the opportunity cost of storing print journals

More on library space: Low-use journals taking up shelf space have become one of the top three concerns for CURL members. “You have to ask yourself, does it make sense to clog shelves in some of the most expensive real-estate in London?” Jenkins asked. The medical faculty of Imperial College , where Jenkins is director … Continue reading QOTD: the opportunity cost of storing print journals

The book as platform

I was reading Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities on a flight home the other day. A major part of his argument is that publishing – of books, newspapers, and so on – played an important role in creating a shared identity across geographically distributed communities, which in turn was important in the rise of national self-identity. … Continue reading The book as platform