Posting to NGC4LIB
George Wrenn wrote:
I’ve been researching one area of online content, streaming/downloadable academic lectures, believing we should add more records for this kind of material to our catalogs (I have an article coming out in C&CQ in October which looks at how much cataloging of online academic lectures has been done at top U.S. research universities; I’ve also put together a bibliography: http://humboldt-dspace.calstate.edu/xmlui/handle/2148/564).
Thanks so much for the bibliography. It will be immensely valuable to me. The academic lectures have been an interest of my own, and I have struggled over how–not to get “control” over them, since that is impossible for any single institution–but at least to lead people in the right directions. A review of my own attempts: I started with the “tried and not so true” method of making catalog records for each “site as a whole” and of course, this attempt failed since such generalized records are not findable. (How do you catalog the whole of the University Channel in a single record in a way that is really useful for our public? I never figured that out.)
So, I made a separate tool, based on very simple technology, at http://www.galileo.aur.it/opac-tmpl/npl/en/pages/news/latestvideos.php which attempted to at least make it as simple as possible to discover what are the newest lectures available. I later added keyword searching as well (at least where I could). Finally, I figured out how to add it to my Extend Search tool http://www.galileo.aur.it/opac-tmpl/npl/en/extsearch/extsearchall.php?q=economic+crisis, (select Videos –> Educational Videos) where I have attempted to get them all to work together as simply as possible.
Yes, we should provide access to more online content through our catalogs, while also making it easy to find those resources in our catalogs!
This I agree with, except for one word: “to find those resources in our catalogs”. Is it necessary that the metadata be in our catalogs, or just findable through our catalogs? Obviously, my attempt with the Extend Search I have created presents a different philosophy and of course, it can be improved in 10,000 ways (one of the best ways would be to have full authority control over each site).
I think a great example of a new direction is the Google Public Data Explorer http://www.google.com/publicdata/home, where you are interacting in all kinds of interesting ways with statistical data through the Google site, but Google is not hosting any of this data, just working with the tables that is maintained by these different agencies.
To give an example in our case, here is this lecture, http://tinyurl.com/3xnddk8, which is a continuation of the argument a Harvard professor makes in a very popular book and related PBS Series (this video series is also available online for free), and on this site, there is an open discussion about his talk as well, some of it very negative. Someone interested in this topic, or in his book, or in his television series (note: author, title, subject), would be *very interested* in all of this. Now, to let our users know about these materials, do the records *have to be* in my catalog?
I don’t think so, and you don’t even need deep cooperation among the different sites, as Google Public Data has where Google has been given permission to reach into the statistical data held on other sites. But, *if* trained catalogers could go into the metadata attached to the above public lecture, and add our authority controls, the resulting record would not have to be copied tens of thousands of times into separate local catalogs where things have to be updated continually–you could simply point to it in a variety of ways.
This is why I think the very purpose of the local catalog has to be reconsidered in a fully networked environment–how it works and what information it contains. Someone who is interested in the book by this professor needs to be aware of the video that they can watch online immediately, but they also need to know about this public lecture given after the fact, where he may have to field tough questions afterwards, plus the criticism available on the site itself. The catalog record must become a part of this “web”.
How can all this work in some kind of *reliable and ethical* manner to be genuinely useful to our public, because yes–I and many others have very strong personal feelings about the economic crisis, but librarians are ethically compelled to not let our personal feelings get in the way of providing access. This vitally important role should not be brushed aside today, since it is something that is becoming more and more important on the web today. Librarians are the experts in this field. I don’t know the best ways to do it, but I believe thinking in these directions provides a general guideline for creating a catalog that would become very important for the public.
I’ll try to add some of the sites you mention! Thanks a lot!