----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> As I continue researching alternatives to MARC, I came across an article
> from the 7 August 2005 NY Times. I quote a portion of it below.
> While I realize that the 1.9 Million catalog entries for recordings in
> not limited to individual song titles, and that the points of access are
> limited in the commercial databases, when I read this quote below, it did
> give me food for thought...perhaps comparing apples and oranges (pun
> "If it comes to that, they'll find
> that a lot has changed in the online music business since Apple
> opened its wildly successful buck-a-song iTunes Music
> Store in 2003. In that time, Apple's catalog has grown
> from 200,000 songs to nearly 1.5 million, Apple has
> sold half a billion songs and it has been joined by
> similar stores run by Microsoft, Yahoo, Sony, Real
> Networks, MusicMatch, Dell and even Wal-Mart."
> My guess is that people are able to find what they want, and it took
> the for-profit sector less than 2 years to create a database of 1.5
> million records, when it has taken OCLC 40 years to create a database of
> 1.9 million catalog records for sound recordings. I wonder, what am I
> missing in this comparison...besides the fact that I would guess the
> labels are supplying their own information, information which is created
> digitally (40 years ago I would wager all record companies
> were probably using typewriters), hence a great deal of information in the
> early years did not exist in any digital form, hence the time required to
> enter that information, which would require more time to get information
> in the database...yet the information created by the
> companies these days could possibly be shared by OCLC/RLIN or whatever, a
> notion which several have suggested is not viable...that the information
> in the commerical databases is not subject to authority control...etc.
> Further, iTunes is not describing an object...
> However, I would assume people are able to find what they want.
> What else am I missing in my admittedly flawed, but for me (and I hope
> others), thought provoking comparison?
> Thoughts on the subject are most welcome.
Well, I started cataloguing my collection of 78\s...now up to 33,000
(give or take)...in handwriting, in spiral-bound notebooks. About
30 years ago, I changed my method to hand-typed 3x5 cards (of which
I have about 20,000)...and quickly discovered the impracticability
of the method, since ALL the cards had to be resorted for a search
by title, artist, matrix number, usw. I actually typed up about
10,000 Artist Cards!
Then, in 1989, I discovered dBASE III+ and created the beginnings
of a digital database (which covered about 1500 records, since I
didn't have the time to re-enter data!). Currently, I'm using MS
Access, and have about 300 phonorecords entered in a 3-level
relational database, which allows tracking of tracks, sides and
(phono)records. Someday, if I live long enough, I'll complete
the task of data entry!
The problem with most library-based cataloguing applications is
that they have been designed with books in mind...so the cataloguing
of phonorecords becomes an exercise in "how to catalog apples in an
application designed for oranges!"
My own Access-based application is probably more complex than most
collections would need, since it was designed with discography in mind.
Also, note that a VERY simplified database, created in a fixed-length-
text format, can be downloaded from the 78Label subsection of the 78Online
web site. This was assembled by Steven Abrams, and is known as "The C8T
files." It contains data on about 300,000 78's, and has a Matrix
section as well. The format used on the above site allows search, but
not browsing, of the database. It also contains any number of errors
and erroneous entries...but it is the best we have at this point!
Finally, any mention of digital cataloguing brings up the history
of the Rigler-Deutsch Index, or RDI...which fell afoul of the
problems created by using help not knowledgeable or experienced
in the field of discography!
Steven C. Barr