Saturday, March 28, 2009

Search Databases

Search databases is a subject course which develops students research skills by learning to search the large verity of online databases. Many subscription only databases, what we might call hidden web, are password protected sites. The major magazine and journal Australian databases are:
1. ANZRC EBSCO Online -
2. DA Direct Info -
3. Informit Online -
4. Schools Catalogue SCIS -
5. Picman database -

Friday, March 30, 2007

AACR2 Second Edition

AACR2 stands for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition. It is published jointly by the American Library Association, the Canadian Library Association, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. AACR2 is designed for use in the construction of catalogues and other lists in general libraries of all sizes. The rules cover the description of, and the provision of access points for, all library materials commonly collected at the present time.
Despite the claim to be 'Anglo-American', the first edition of AACR was published in 1967 in somewhat distinct North American and British texts. The second edition of 1978 unified the two sets of rules (adopting the British spelling 'cataloguing') and brought them in line with the International Standard Bibliographic Description. Libraries wishing to migrate from the previous North American text were obliged to implement 'desuperimposition', a substantial change in the form of headings for corporate bodies.
Principles of AACR include cataloguing from the item 'in hand' rather than inferring information from external sources and the concept of the 'chief source of information' which is preferred where conflicts exist.
As well as occasional minor amendments, a broader revision is under way with a view to a new edition in which the rules are more consistent and coherent, informed by the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. This 'AACR3' has the working title 'Resource Description and Access'.
More about AACR2

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

LCSH Subject Headings

The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) consist of subject headings, maintained by the United States Library of Congress, for use in bibliographic records. LC Subject Headings are an integral part of bibliographic control, which is the function by which libraries collect, organize and disseminate documents. LCSHs are applied to every item within a library’s collection, and facilitate a user’s access to items in the catalogue that pertain to similar subject matter. If users could only locate items by ‘title’ or other descriptive fields, such as ‘author’ or ‘publisher’, they would have to expend an enormous amount of time searching for items of related subject matter, and undoubtedly misslocating many items because of the ineffective and inefficient search capability.

The Subject Headings are published in five large volumes. They may also be searched online in the Library of Congress Classification Web, a subscription service. The Library of Congress issues weekly updates. Once a library user has found the right subject heading they are an excellent resource for finding relevant material in your library catalogue. Increasingly the use of hyperlinked, web-based Online Public Access Catalogues, or OPACs, allow users to hyperlink to a list of similar items displayed by LCSH once one item of interest is located. However, because LCSH are not necessarily expressed in natural language, many users may chose to search OPACs by keywords. Moreover, users unfamiliar with OPAC searching and LCSH, may incorrectly assume their library has no items on their desired topic, if they chose to search by ‘subject’ field, and the terms they entered do not strictly conform to a LCSH. For example ‘body temperature regulation’ is used in place of ‘thermoregulation’. Thus the easiest way to find and use LCSH is to start with a ‘keyword’ search and then look at the Subject Headings of a relevant item to locate other related material.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC, also called the Dewey Decimal System) is a system of library classification developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876, and since greatly modified and expanded in the course of the twenty-two major revisions, the most recent in 2004.
The DDC attempts to organize all knowledge into ten main classes that, excluding the first class (000 Computers, information and general reference), proceed from the divine (philosophy & religion) to the mundane (history & geography). DDC's cleverness is in choosing decimals for its categories; this allows it to be both purely numerical and infinitely hierarchical. It also is a faceted classification, combining elements from different parts of the structure to construct a number representing the subject content (often combining two subject elements with linking numbers and geographical and temporal elements) and form of an item rather than drawing upon a list containing each class and its meaning.
Except for general works and fiction, works are classified principally by subject, with extensions for subject relationships, place, time or type of material, producing classification numbers of not less than three digits but otherwise of indeterminate length with a decimal point before the fourth digit, where present (e.g. 330 for economics + 94 for Europe = 330.94 European economy; 973 for United States + 005 form division for periodicals = 973.005, periodicals concerning the United States generally); classmarks are to be read as numbers, in the order: 050, 220, 330.973, 331 etc. Any letter should be read as preceding any number that might have occupied the same character position, so "330.94 A" would come before 330.943. The system uses ten main classes, which are then further subdivided. Each main class has ten divisions and each division has ten sections. Hence the system can be neatly summarized in 10 main classes, 100 divisions and 1000 sections. It is a common misconception that all books in the DDC are non-fiction. However, the DDC has a number for all books, including those that generally become their own section of fiction. If DDC rules are strictly followed, American fiction is classified in 813. Some libraries create a separate fiction section because of the space that would be taken up in the 800s.

DDC is commonly used in public and school libraries throughout the world, although some college and university libraries of all sizes also use Dewey, notably Duke University and Northwestern University. The schedule contains marked geographical biases derived from its 19th century origins: Northern Africa for instance occupies all of 961–965, the rest of the continent only 966–969. It is still more biased towards Christianity against other religions, the former covering all of 220–289, while all others get only 292–299 to share. Recent versions permit another religion to be placed in 220–289, with Christianity relegated to 298, but this is mainly used by libraries operated by non-Christian religious groups, especially Jewish ones. The DDC has also been criticized for its treatment of literature (800). Because primacy is given to language, national literatures get scattered. For example, Canadian literature in English is classed under English & Old English (820) literatures while Canadian literature in French is classed under French literatures (840). The only exception is for American literature (810); a reflection of the Anglo-American bias inherent in the system.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

MARC Cataloging

MARC is an acronym for MAchine-Readable Cataloging. It is a communications standard for exchanging bibliographic, holdings, and other data between libraries. It defines a bibliographic data format that emerged from a United States Library of Congress led initiative that began in the 1970s. It provides the protocol by which computers exchange, use, and interpret bibliographic information. Its data elements make up the foundation of most library catalogs used today.
The MARC Standards Office is part of the Library of Congress.
The record structure of MARC is an implementation of ISO 2709, also known as ANSI/NISO Z39.2.
The future of the MARC formats is a matter of some debate in the worldwide library science community. On the one hand, the formats are quite complex and are based on outdated technology. On the other, there is no alternative bibliographic format with an equivalent degree of granularity.

Authority records -- MARC authority records provide information about individual names, subjects, and uniform titles. An authority record establishes an authorized form of each heading, with references as appropriate from other forms of the heading.

Bibliographic records -- MARC bibliographic records describe the intellectual and physical characteristics of bibliographic resources (books, sound recordings, video recordings, and so forth).

Holdings records -- MARC holdings records provide copy-specific information on a library resource (call number, shelf location, and so forth).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Library of Congress Classification

The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress. It is used by most research and university libraries in the U.S. and several other countries — most public libraries continue to use the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). It is not to be confused with the Library of Congress Subject Headings.
The classification was originally developed by Herbert Putnam with the advice of Charles Ammi Cutter in 1897 before he assumed the librarianship of Congress. It was influenced by Cutter Expansive Classification, DDC, and was designed for the use by the Library of Congress. The new system replaced a fixed location system developed by Thomas Jefferson. By the time of Putnam's departure from his post in 1939 all the classes except K (Law) and parts of B (Philosophy and Religion) were well developed. It has been criticized as lacking a sound theoretical basis; many of the classification decisions were driven by the particular practical needs of that library, rather than considerations of epistemological elegance.
Although it divides subjects into broad categories, it is essentially enumerative in nature.
The National Library of Medicine classification system (NLM) uses unused letters W and QS-QZ. Some libraries use NLM in conjuction with LCC, not using LCC's R (Medicine).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Melvil Dewey

Melvil Dewey (December 10, 1851–December 26, 1931) was the inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification system for library classification.
Dewey was born Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey in Adams Center, New York in the United States. He attended Amherst College, graduating in 1874. It was while working as an assistant librarian at Amherst from 1874 until 1877 that Dewey devised his decimal system.
He moved to Boston where he founded and edited Library Journal, which became an influential factor in the development of libraries in America, and in the reform of their administration.
With his friend and fellow librarian Charles Ammi Cutter, he helped found the American Library Association (ALA); both men spoke at the First Annual ALA Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1876.
In 1883 he became librarian of Columbia College, and in the following year founded there the Columbia School of Library Economy, the first institution for the instruction of librarians ever organized. This school, which was very successful, was removed to Albany, New York in 1890, where it was reestablished as the New York State Library School under his direction; from 1888 to 1906 he was director of the New York State Library and from 1888 to 1900 was secretary of the University of the State of New York, completely reorganizing the state library, which he made one of the most efficient in America, and establishing the system of state travelling libraries and picture collections. In 1890 he helped to found the first state library association - the New York Library Association (NYLA) - and he was its first president, from 1890-1892.
He was an advocate of English language spelling reform and is responsible for, among other things, the "American" spelling of the word Catalog (as opposed to the British Catalogue). He changed his own name from Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey to simply Melvil Dui. He also sponsored periodicals on the Ro constructed language, in which the word structure marked its meaning in a hierarchy of categories.
While remembered for his Dewey Decimal System, Dewey's personal views would be highly controversial today. He was extremely racist against African Americans and other minorities, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-women's rights. He also advocated segregation of races.
Dewey is a member of the American Library Association's Hall of Fame.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential founders of the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Embargo Act of 1807, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806).
A political philosopher who promoted classical liberalism, republicanism, and the separation of church and state, he was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779, 1786), which was the basis of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. He was the eponym of Jeffersonian democracy and the founder and leader of the Democratic-Republican Party which dominated American politics for over a quarter-century and was the precursor to today's Democratic Party. Jefferson also served as the second Governor of Virginia (1779–1781), first United States Secretary of State (1789–1795), and second Vice President (1797–1801).

After the British burned Washington and the Library of Congress in August 1814, Jefferson offered his own collection to the nation. In January 1815, Congress accepted his offer, appropriating $23,950 for his 6,487 books, and the foundation was laid for a great national library. Today, the Library of Congress' website for federal legislative information is named THOMAS, in honor of Jefferson.The range of his interests is remarkable. For many years he was President of the American Philosophical Society.

Thomas Jefferson was also an agriculturalist, horticulturist, architect, etymologist, archaeologist, mathematician, cryptographer, surveyor, paleontologist, author, lawyer, inventor, violinist, and the founder of the University of Virginia. Many people consider Jefferson to be among the most brilliant men ever to occupy the Presidency. President John F. Kennedy welcomed forty-nine Nobel Prize winners to the White House in 1962, saying, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."