|OBS OCLC COMMITTEE|
School of Law
As I write this, it is a beautiful, warm, late October day in southern Indiana. The leaves have turned color and are starting to drop, but the days are warm and the nights are cool. Change is in the air and we all know that winter is on the way. By the time you read this, winter will be here.
Since my previous column, written last August, there have not been any tremendously significant new developments with OCLC. No intense discussions (that I am able to recall) have erupted on AUTOCAT concerning CORC, Marc, and the future of cataloging. But a number of interesting things have occurred, and I would like to highlight and discuss some of them.
First of all, I would like to stress again how valuable the OCLC Web site (http://www.oclc.com/home/ is for up-to-date information and recent developments. OCLC’s electronic support newsletter, "Bits and Pieces" (http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/bit.htm) is particularly valuable. A new issue is posted monthly.
Keyword Searching Changes
On October 8th, OCLC made some changes to keyword searching for WorldCat from the Cataloging, Interlibrary Loan, and Union Listing services. These changes are the subject of Technical Bulletin 235 Revised. There are many changes and I would recommend examining the Technical Bulletin. What OCLC has done is add a number of indexes and made changes in the existing ones as to what fields are indexed. For example, OCLC added an index titled "Extended Author" with many fields included (such as the 245 |c), and then cut back on what fields are included in the "Author" index (now limited to the 100, 110, 111, 700, 710, and 711). The same procedure was done with title-"Extended Title" was added with many fields and the existing "Title" index was cut back to just the 130, 240, 245, 246, and 740. Changes were also made to stop words: before when the system encountered a stop word, the search was terminated and you received 0 hits. Now the system ignores the stop word and continues the search. Other changes were made as well. Read the Technical Bulletin for the full details.
Pinyin Conversion Project
OCLC, RLIN, and the Library of Congress are in the process of converting their Chinese language materials from the Wade-Giles transliteration system to the Pinyin system. For example, under Wade-Giles Chairman Mao’s name was spelled Mao Tse-tung, and under Pinyin it is Mao Zedong. The Library of Congress adopted the Wade-Giles system in 1957, but over the years Pinyin has become the standard in China and around the world. Eventually, LC decided to switch to Pinyin as well. OCLC’s goal was to convert the authority records by October 1, 2000, and from now through April 2001, the bibliographic records are scheduled to be converted.
Resource Sharing - National Library of Canada
In Bits and Pieces frequently a particular supplier is featured. In the October issue, the National Library of Canada was discussed. I found this interesting because I frequently see people posting messages on various lists looking for Canadian documents. OCLC points out that the National Library of Canada is the legal depository for all Canadian publications, and is an excellent source for Canadian-related material. They do not charge for loans, photocopies, mail, or faxes, and there are no special requirements for international orders.
NetFirst Calendar Planner
I came across this on OCLC’s Web site and found it fascinating. It has many different excellent Web sites that can be used for the particular time of the year, and it is planned well in advance. When I took a look at it this month, it already had sites marked for Christmas, Boxing Day, and Kwanza. For the week of October 29th it had sites for the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Halloween, and President James Polk’s birthday (Nov. 2, 1795). For the week of November 6th it has sites that relate to Veterans Day/Remembrance Day, and World War I. Take a look sometime: (http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/netcalendar.htm.
Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (a.k.a. CORC)
It is impossible for me to write a column about OCLC and not talk about CORC. Due to my library’s conversion from Notis to Sirsi this fall, I have not had much time to spend giving CORC a try. However, I have gone through the tutorials that are available on the Web site. There are three tutorials available:
CORC at a Glance - this tutorial provides a overview of CORC through a series of questions and answers. This is just information at the basic level. Anyone is able to view this-you do not have to be an OCLC member.
Using CORC: An OCLC Tutorial - this tutorial shows you how CORC actually works. It is self-paced and presents the system in a series of topics. For users who are familiar with OCLC and the Web, it does not take long to go through this tutorial. The topics include an introduction to CORC, searching CORC records, creating CORC records, viewing CORC information, and CORC pathfinders. This tutorial is also open to both members and non-members of OCLC.
Hands On CORC - this tutorial takes you to the CORC practice area for actual hands-on training. Because you are actually going "live" into CORC (albeit the practice area), you must have an OCLC authorization (either full or partial). You are able to execute some searches that they recommend and then see the results. The search I tried was for Andrew Jackson, and the Web resource record that it hit was then displayed at the bottom of the screen (it was from the White House Web site concerning the Presidents).
I recommend that if you are at all interested in CORC (and it is my belief that we should be interested), that you take the time to go through these tutorials. Most of us are very experienced with OCLC and the Web, and the tutorials will not take a great deal of time. To view these tutorials go to (http://www.oclc.com/corc/ and click on Training.
On a related issue, the October 1st issue of Library Journal had an article titled "Cataloging the Net: Two Years Later" in which CORC received more than a passing reference. The author quotes OCLC President and CEO Jay Jordan as saying that "CORC will evolve into a general-purpose, Web-based cataloging service and will be a key component of future OCLC Web-based services." Norm Medeiros of New York University’s School of Medicine is quoted as saying "At its least, CORC could become the WorldCat for Internet resources. At best, it could compete with existing search services." But there are dissenting voices as well-Roy Brisson at Penn State University thinks that "a large number of disciplines still do not have the critical mass of records in the database." He goes on to wonder if OCLC will be able to "transfer this traditional model of cooperative cataloging into the dynamic nature of the Web?" The article then goes on to discuss other projects including INFOMINE, and the Librarians’ Index to the Internet (LII). The conclusion is that no one really knows what is going to happen or how it will all shake out. The article is quite interesting, and I recommend reading it.
Size of the World Wide Web
Finally, I wanted to mention an October 16th news release by OCLC concerning the World Wide Web. OCLC said that their researchers had determined that the Web now contains 7.1 million unique sites, of which 41 percent (2.9 million) were for the public (i.e. their content was freely accessible to the general public). Private sites (access restricted) made up 21 percent of the Web (1.5 million sites), and the remaining 38 percent (2.7 million sites) were considered provisional ("content is in an unfinished or transitory state"). They also said that the Web continues to expand rapidly, but the growth rate is diminishing over time.