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EDUCAT  April 2005

EDUCAT April 2005

Subject:

MARC Records Under the Microscope

From:

Shawne Miksa <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 12 Apr 2005 14:53:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (76 lines)

(Please excuse cross postings)

The University of North Texas (UNT)-Texas Center for Digital Knowledge
(TxCDK) announces a project investigating the coding of information in MARC
records from the OCLC WorldCat database. The Institute of Museum and Library
Services, an independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating
and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve
their communities, is funding the project with a National Leadership Grant
of $233,115. TxCDK Fellows Dr. William E. Moen and Dr. Shawne D. Miksa, both
from the UNT School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS), are the
Principal Investigators of this project entitled “MARC Content Designation
Utilization: Inquiry and Analysis” (MCDU Project). SLIS Ph.D student Serhiy
Polyakov and Masters students Amy Eklund and Gregory Snyder serve as
Research Assistants.


During the course of the 2-year project, Drs Moen and Miksa will investigate
the extent of catalogers’ use of MARC 21 from an empirical perspective and
will provide the first publicly available data on its usage. In the
Z-Interoperability project, funded in 2003 by another IMLS National
Leadership Grant, Dr. Moen discovered strong indications that only 36 of the
approximately 2000 MARC fields/subfields accounted for 80% of all
utilization, and that less than 50% of the available fields/subfields
occurred even once in the records. These preliminary findings have important
implications for library catalogers, standards developers, and people
involved in the machine generation of metadata.


The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC, www.oclc.org) initially agreed to
supply 1 million records for this project. After recent discussions,
however, OCLC has agreed to provide the project with all of its
approximately 55 million bibliographic records.  This new development will
significantly increase the accuracy of the research results. The OCLC
WorldCat database contains unique bibliographic records shared by more than
50,000 libraries in 84 countries and territories around the world. For this
project, only those records which are created by OCLC member libraries and
contain original cataloging will be examined. The MARC records will be
placed into study samples based on format of the material and record
date-of-creation. The format-specific samples will allow determination of
content designation use among similar types of records. The date-of creation
samples will intersect with project activities to document how MARC content
designation use by catalogers has changed over time.


The project has three goals: 1) to provide empirical evidence to document
MARC21 content designation use; 2) explore the evolution of MARC content
designation for patterns of availability and adoption/use level; and 3)
investigate a methodological approach to understand the factors contributing
to current levels of MARC content designation use and relationships with the
cataloging enterprise.


The results of the research will be disseminated to the LIS community
through periodical publication of findings, including a methodology that
could be applied to similar studies of utilization of MARC or other metadata
schemas. The MCDU Project group will also work on designating a set of "core
elements" based on occurrence in the samples and comparison with PCC and
FRBR initiatives core record recommendations. A database application
containing MARC 21 content designation specifications is currently under
construction that will allow for the analysis of trends and patterns. This
tool will be made available to the LIS community after the project’s
completion.


Dr. Miksa describes how the project's research strategies will examine MARC
records as artifacts of the cataloging process.  Data resulting from the
project will greatly inform cataloging education and curricula which is
critical to the continued development and improvement of information
retrieval systems in libraries worldwide.


Details of the MCDU Project can be found at http://www.mcdu.unt.edu, a
website created and maintained by SLIS Masters student Bryce Benton. Any
additional inquiries regarding project activities can be directed to Bill
Moen ([log in to unmask]) or Shawne Miksa ([log in to unmask]).

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