--Please excuse any cross-postings
DENTON, TX (11 October 2004) The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent Federal agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities, has awarded a National Leadership Grant of $233,115 to the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge (TxCDK) at the University of North Texas for a project investigating the coding of information and metadata utilization in one million Machine-Readable Catalog (MARC) records from the OCLC WorldCat database. 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 the project entitled "Examining Present Practices to Inform Future Metadata Use: An Empirical Analysis of MARC Content Designation Utilization".
Dr. Samantha Hastings, SLIS Interim Dean, describes this project as “just the type of funded research that leads to core developments in our field…the first of its kind that will be an important contribution to what we know about how content in library catalogs is actually being coded for organization and access. How the information is organized directly influences how people get the information they need.”
During the 2-year project, Drs Moen and Miksa will investigate the extent of catalogers’ use of MARC 21, the mark-up language used by catalogers worldwide to create electronic catalog records. OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center, a nonprofit computer library service and research organization, has generously agreed to provide a sample of 1 million MARC bibliographic records for this project. The records will be pulled from OCLC’s WorldCat database which contains more than 55 million unique bibliographic records created and maintained collectively by more than 9,000 member institutions from countries around the world.
Dr. Moen explains that current MARC 21 specifications define nearly 2000 fields and subfields available to library catalogers working to create catalog records for a wide variety of materials. In the Z-Interoperability Testbed Project, funded by an earlier IMLS National Leadership Grant, Moen discovered strong indications that only 36 of the available MARC subfields accounted for 80% of all subfield utilization. These preliminary findings have important implications for library catalogers, standards developers, and people involved in the machine generation of metadata.
Dr. Miksa states that this new project will provide research strategies to examine MARC records as artifacts of the entire cataloging enterprise. The resulting data will greatly inform cataloging education and curricula which is critical to the continued development and improvement of information retrieval systems in libraries worldwide.
More information about the project is available at <http://www.unt.edu/mcdu..>. Inquiries about the project can be directed to Dr. Moen at <[log in to unmask]>.
Shawne D. Miksa, Ph.D.
School of Library and Information Sciences
University of North Texas