Digital Tables of Contents (DTOC)

The Digital Tables of Contents project creates machine readable TOC data from surrogates of the actual TOC, and by using scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) as well as original programs written by project staff, materials are subsequently HTML-encoded and placed on a server at the Library. In the process, the underlying MARC catalog records are also modified automatically to include links to the TOC data, thus making linkage reciprocal between the two information sources. The techniques used by the project have recently been modified to place heavier emphasis on use of imaging software available on the Directorate's workstations and on and on a highly automated conversion of the data to text format. The project has also implemented more automated and regularized quality control procedures to insure that links work properly and that data are available.

Both the MARC catalog records themselves and the linked TOC data may be viewed through a Web browser by accessing the Library's online catalog access options, available at . In addition, The pervasive availability of Web indexing and search software also makes catalog and TOC records available from almost anywhere through the portal of the World Wide Web, thus providing unique and ubiquitous entrée to the catalog of collections at the Library for users who may not be aware of the project. In addition to the enriched level of information the project can present concerning an item, another import of this additional access is that once the user has followed the link to the Library, LC in can then make the wealth of its cataloged collections available for further structured searching in topics of related interest.

To date (June 2005)30,000 dTOC files have been crreated.

By way of illustration, here are two sample of the various search paths, and the displays that might be encountered by a user in search of information both on the web and from the LC Online catalog:

  1. Using a search on the World Wide Web for keywords might return a search result that includes a DTOC record. Linking to that TOC in a search result would bring you to the table of contents for the item. Here is an example
  2. Or, a keyword search of the Library's Online Catalog at for "soy sauce" might reveal the following LC record that has a hot link to the TOC.

A cybercast from January 2002 prepared as part of the LC staff Digital- Future-and-You series, containing information relating to all of the TOC initiatives (including E-CIP TOC) as referenced in the various BEAT TOC project descriptions. This may be viewed online at

Questions about the project can be addressed to:
John D. Byrum, Jr., Chief,
Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4380
telephone: (202) 707-5196

This page updated on June 20, 2005

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