Projects Help Catalogers, Reasearchers, Find Information
than 200 people gathered Nov. 12 in the Mumford Room to
celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bibliographic Enrichment
Advisory Team, better known as BEAT. In the course of the
four-hour event, six team members presented the results
and tools of an ever-growing family of BEAT projects, all
of which aid catalogers, reference specialists, and researchers
in creating and locating information.
Byrum Jr., BEAT founder and chair, addresses the 200+
audience in the Mumford Room Nov. 12.
Photo by Charlynn Spencer Pyne
those in the audience, BEATs 18 members represent
a broad spectrum of Library Services directorates, from
cataloging and operations to area studies and public service
collections. Together, their work over the past 10 years
has allowed users all over the world to access richer and
more timely information in Library recordsadding to
the Librarys ability to maintain a leadership position
in digital bibliographic and archiving fields.
Beacher Wiggins, director for cataloging and acting associate
librarian for Library Services, was the days kick-off
speaker. In many respects, its extraordinary
that youve accomplished so much and that these accomplishments
represent a voluntary group, started in Cataloging, that
has expanded over the past decade to include folks from
various areas of Library Services, Wiggins said. Your
work truly exemplifies what collaboration and self-motivation
truth, BEATs work has been very successfulas
well as diverse. John Byrum Jr., chief of the Regional and
Cooperative Cataloging Division and BEAT chairman, described
early BEAT accomplishments. They included TCEC, a text-capture
and electronic-conversion project that created software
and programs to allow catalogers to create bibliographic
records without rekeying information; BEOnline (Business
and Economics Online), which provided both bibliographic
and direct access to selected online resources and is now
BEOnline+; the digital conversion of LC Classification;
and LC Subject Heading enrichment.
All projects, current and past, demonstrate what can be
done with few resources, the Internet, and people working
together in a collaborative environment, Byrum said. Although
some projects are the undertaking of a single person, without
exception, they affect and improve a multitude of users
experiences in searching for information online.
Wiggins, acting associate librarian for library services
and cataloging director, makes opening remarks at
Photo by Charlynn Spencer Pyne
the real heroes are catalogers who create bibliographic
records and reference librarians and others who create pathfinders
and portals, enabling our projects to work, he said.
Ten years ago, the Internet was starting to take off, and
the Librarys Cataloging Directorate was undergoing
transformation, said Byrum. In late 1992, a small group
of reference librarians and tech-savvy catalogers got together
as a result of a grant from the Edward Lowe Foundation.
It was unprecedented to receive gift money to support
cataloging research and development, he said, acknowledging
the strong endorsement given to BEAT during its start-up
by then director for cataloging Sarah E. Thomas and thereafter
by Beacher Wiggins. Because of the foundations focus,
BEATs first products were related to business and
economics, such as the Entrepreneurs Guide to
Small Business Information.
Byrum said BEATs goals were simple: To develop new
tools in creating and locating information; develop innovative
workflows and policies; prepare pilot projects with the
ability to scale-up in an environment of limited
resources; and develop these projects without affecting
other processes and systems in place at the Library. With
these guidelines in place, the family of BEATs projects
Family of Current Projects
Looking to the future and inviting all to join BEAT, team
members presented six current projects that illustrate the
impacts BEAT continues to have.
David Williamson, cataloging automation specialist, Cataloging
Directorate, discussed Family Ties: Linking Records,
Contents, and Resources. Williamsons several
projects, such as Online Information eXchange (ONIX) and
Digital Table of Contents (D-TOC), enhance Online Public
Access Catalog (OPAC) records with information not normally
provided in a catalog record, including publisher-supplied
data such as tables of contents and publisher descriptions.
Larson presents her project BeCITES+, which enriches
bibliographies and digitizes public domain monographs
as well as LC guides.
Photo by Charlynn Spencer Pyne
must provide more information online, said Williamson.
Students who want to know something prefer the frenetic
chaos of the Web over the drudgery of the Library. Thats
Williamson is working with the megasearch engine Google
to ensure that Web users are linked to many more of the
Librarys enhanced records created with D-TOC and ONIX
TOC/Publishers Descriptions. As of Nov. 20, there had been
1,033,868 visits to the Librarys TOC Web pages through
these projects, and BEAT expects the figure to rise significantly.
Williamson manipulates links to bibliographic records though
automated means, making a very cost-effective enhancement
to the Librarys files. His latest initiative is to
match works in the public domain on the Web, so that users
can access complete electronic text copies.
Carolyn Larson, business reference specialist, Science,
Technology, and Business Division, then presented BeCITES+
(Bibliographies plus: Enhanced Citations with Indexes, Tables
of contents, Electronic resources and Sources cited), an
outgrowth of BEATs Digital Table of Contents project.
Initially BeCITES+ focused on enhancing staff-produced bibliographies
as well as related catalog records, by adding, with permission
of the publishers, links to the tables of contents, indexes,
and sources cited in the bibliographies. Wherever
the user comes across a record, they can move seamlessly
from the OPAC to bibliography, or from the bibliography
to the OPAC record, said Larson.
But BeCITES+ does more than that. Using the same techniques
of scanning and OCR that are used to convert tables of contents
and indexes to electronic form, the BeCITES+ project is
also digitizing public domain monographs cited in LC guides
on the Web as well as out-of-print LC guides, such as Thomas
Jeffersons Library, the record of books that
Jefferson sold to the Library.
John Celli, chief of the Cataloging in Publication Division
(CIP), discussed New Books Son of CIP.
The New Books project provides the library community and
the public with a rich source of information about soon-to-be-published
and just-published books.
Building on the Electronic CIP (ECIP) program, New Books
will obtain additional data elements from publishers and
automatically generate New Books records that will be posted
on the Library of Congress home page available to readers
all over the world.
When accessed via the Librarys home page, a New Books
record would include a link so readers can request a copy
of the book at their local library through a partnership
program with the Library. Celli also noted that New Books
could also generate an alert service that would support
collection development and book acquisition.
Reynolds, BEAT member and head of the National Series
Data Program, at the event's candle-topped program.
Photo by Charlynn Spencer Pyne
Horchler, a team leader in the Social Sciences Cataloging
Division, titled his presentation Look Ma, No Gaps!
Web Access to Publications in Series. He said think
tanks, research institutes, universities, central banks,
and international agencies publish a mass of working papers
and research reports. Acquiring and processing these materials
in print form have always been problematic, and consequently
there are many gaps in the Librarys holdings, said
However, the Internet is a godsend. Most monographs from
these sources are now published electronically, and this
BEAT project hunts down links, often through partnerships
with the publishing institution. Via this project, catalogers
have added links that allow access to more than 13,000 individual
electronic titles. While gaps in collections of hard copy
versions still remainand most likely willit
is now possible to fill them in with electronic versions.
With this project, said Horchler, Were doing
a better job of what we should have been doing all along.
Librarians have long sought to bring order to Internet chaos
by collecting and aggregating Web sites, said Everette Larson,
head of the Reference Section in the Hispanic Division,
in his presentation, Cousins by the Dozens, Why Librarians
Love Our Portals.
Studies reference librarians have selected specific sites,
annotated site selections, arranged them geographically
under topics of interest, and then recommended specific
sites for full cataloging, all under the rubric of Portals
to the World, available on LCs Web site.
The BEAT program has allowed us to catalog, not only
portals, but also noteworthy World Wide Web sites that may
be searched through LCs online public catalog,
Larson said. Most of the libraries that link to us
do so because we provide help for them, and its these
helpful links that librarians love.
Hayes, Computer Files and Microforms team leader in the
Special Materials Cataloging Division, and Gina Jones, a
digital conversion specialist in the Public Service Collections
Directorate (PSCD), traced the development of selecting,
cataloging, archiving and accessing Web sites from BEOnline
to MINERVA in their presentation.
Hayes spoke first and recounted BEOnlines experimental
past from its logo of a little bee, which was raw,
elementary, and a grassroots effort. Its focus in
1996 was on Web sites related to business and economics;
today, BEOnline+ draws upon catalogers in every division
who are cataloging and providing links to selected Web sites
in all subject areas.
MINERVA (Mapping the Internet Electronic Resources Virtual
Archive) is saving todays Web for tomorrows
generation, said Jones. For example, during a four-month
period, MINERVA captured 30,000 Web sites with 331 million
Web pages relating to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
Web-site archivers tussle with a number of problems, ranging
from technical standards to Web design standards, she said.
Were trying to figure out whats important
to researchers in the future, Jones said. We
dont know what will be of interest, but were
trying to collect it before it goes away.
The presentations concluded with remarks by Cliff Cohen,
Carolyn Brown, Diane Kresh, and Judith Mansfield, who commended
the contributions of staff from their respective directorates
to the BEAT family of projects.