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Doc of the day: or why we need robust cataloging standards

NOAA logo I was just filling in the GODORT notable documents form — and all of our readers should do so ASAP! — and the issue of cataloging raised its ugly head. I just submitted nomination for the title “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010” co-published by NOAA, WMO, UNEP, and EU. The document is important in its own right as it is part of the information upon which the Parties to the United Nations Montreal Protocol will base their future decisions regarding protection of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Here’s where the issue of cataloging and metadata comes up. Check out the differences between these OCLC records:

The 2nd record was the one I submitted to our catalogers as a digital document to be hosted in the Stanford Digital Repository — I submit digital fugitives regularly as part of our Everyday Electronic Materials (EEMs) program. There’s so much more useful information in that record, including multiple authors, subject headings, series, and descriptive note! The first one, not so much. Oddly though, the first sparse record includes some pretty robust linked data that would be useful for any machine-driven search and analysis.

It makes me realize that we within the FDLP community need to set higher cataloging standards for any cooperative cataloging project undertaken. Those standards have to include authors and agencies, subject headings, series, descriptive notes AND linked data. If we end up producing sparse metadata like the first record, access to our collections will actually be decreased.

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