Annual Report of The Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team 1993


The Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (B.E.A.T.) was formed in Dec 1992, and was charged with the implementation of various initiatives to improve the tools, content, and access to bibliographic information. Operations commenced formally with the inaugural meeting, chaired by John Byrum, chief of the Library's Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, on February 2, 1993.

Membership represents the core cataloging divisions, the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS), Acquisitions, and also has members or representatives from Information Technology Services (ITS), Cataloging in Publication (CIP), and Constituent Services, and (ex-officio) the Edward Lowe Foundation (ELF). All of the Library's staff on the B.E.A.T. Team worked on their general B.E.A.T. assignments in addition to their regular duties. Other work, particularly that related to data creation and data entry, was largely, though not exclusively, performed on overtime.

Regular B.E.A.T. meetings were held approximately twice each month beginning in February 1993, and continue at present. During the year B.E.A.T. made presentations to LC management and to the Cataloging Council to report on its plans and progress, and was represented on the Business Research Center's management group by John Byrum and Robert August.

The major areas of activity undertaken by B.E.A.T. in 1993 were in the "Tools" area; that is, investigating and implementing new ways of finding information faster and easier. The B.E.A.T. initiatives in 1993 fell into three categories, dealing with enriching the content of bibliographic records by adding more search words to them to enable broader access to their contents; automating classification in order to provide better links between LC's authorized terminology, unstructured terms, terms found in the classification schemes, enhancing the capability to use classification as a retrieval tool; and, enhancing Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) by incorporating in it terms identified in the course of B.E.A.T. and other Business Center activity, as well as additional business-related terms identified as part of the B.E.A.T. project on LCSH itself. Accordingly, B.E.A.T. formed subcommittees to deal with each of these research initiatives.

The Activities

  1. More search words

  2. Initiatives for Machine-readable LCC:

    The Project leader for this effort was Rebecca Guenther of the Library's Network Development and MARC Standards Office.

    B.E.A.T. aimed to contribute to the effort to create better links between LC's authorized terminology, unstructured terms, and terms found in the classification system. A subgroup was established and an action plan for the project -- identifying training needs, finding equipment and space, creating a mechanism for establishing required editing/input conventions, and finding a way to permit more staff access to the database, inputting and verifying the data -- was established and implemented.

    The group was to convert to machine-readable form selected classification schedules: J, P (part), QA, T, and Z, and to date, conversion of the T (Technology) schedule, and of subclasses P (Philology, Linguistics) and QA (Mathematics, including Computer Science) are entirely completed; Z (Bibliography, Library Science) is nearly complete, with completion expected by Dec. 1993; conversion of newly revised J (Political science) is in process. Its completion depends on the progress of staff who are revising the existing schedule in accordance with the plan of the Business and Economics Cataloging Team to bring it up to date (see below).

    Some Benefits

    The opportunity to train in and learn the Minaret database program provided job enrichment for Classification Editorial Team (CLED) staff that also involved PC use, and provided the vehicle for them to learn and become comfortable with the classification format. The importance of the development of this in-house LC resource for further work and peer support in the future must be stressed, as it means CLED staff can now take on further maintenance work for all the schedules that have been converted. Expertise developed in US MARC classification format and inputting has enabled the CLED staff to work on special projects to improve other converted schedules, including the H-HJ (Social Sciences: Economics) schedule. A printout of index terms associated with the H schedule has been provided to the Business reference staff. This includes terms associated with US MARC classification records and their related classification numbers providing them with alternative subject access for reference purposes. The project also enabled the Business and Economics Cataloging Team to undertake a much-needed revision of the "J" schedule prior to conversion. Several subclasses of J have already been revised.

  3. Improving Library of Congress Subject Headings

    Project Leader: Gabe Horchler, Team Leader, Business and Economics Cataloging Team, Social Sciences Division.

    The Team identified several thousand business and entrepreneurial-related subject terms found in standard thesauri, but which are not represented in LCSH, and is now addressing the methods by which these terms can be integrated into LCSH.

    In a second initiative, a workflow has also been established whereby the team identifies new titles of importance as they are received for cataloging and informs the Business Reference staff, and also forwards data to the table of contents group for incorporation into the MARC record.

    The Team, with special efforts by Gabe Horchler particularly, has undertaken a very important revision of the J schedule. Long overdue, the prospect of converting the schedule to machine-readable form provided the impetus for B.E.A.T. to seek and receive permission from LC management to revise the schedule. The result will be a machine-readable and accessible schedule that reflects modern practice and terminology. The revision is expected to be completed by the end of 1993, with possible proofing to carry over into early 1994.

    The Business research Team and the B&E cataloging Team met and discussed mechanisms for evaluating terminology and exchange of information. It is clear that the two teams will work together more as ways are found to evaluate the utility of the data that is now being created.

    Some Benefits

    The team received a long-desired CD-ROM reader and access to the ELS databases, thanks to the purchase of equipment by the Library of Congress Business Research Fund. This enables the Business and Economics Cataloging Team to obtain the up-to-date business information that their work demands, and provides local tools and equipment for them to expand their scope of coverage and information access. It also provides team members with opportunities to use equipment not generally available to cataloging staff in LC, and helps better prepare them to make better, more efficient use of new technology and equipment that is being introduced in the Directorate.

    The opportunity to revise the J schedule was also fortuitous, as the LC Law Classification specialist is presently involved with extensive revisions of JX and conversion to machine-readable form portions of classification dealing with law with expressed needs of the Law Library community. There is an intimate relationship between these efforts; an ability to rethink class J has helped make this a consistent effort.

    The effort to forward data concerning new business books of importance has institutional benefit on several levels; it provides LC staff with information in an way that reduces duplication of effort and overhead; it helps focus attention on broader issues than cataloging, and it gets various groups in B.E.A.T. working together, rather than conducting exclusively stand-alone R&D efforts.

  4. Evaluation Group

    This group, consisting of John Byrum, Robert August, and the chairs of the various B.E.A.T. subgroups met as necessary to track progress, share information, identify problems, monitor funding and expenses, and to formulate plans and revised strategies where necessary. It also met, and will meet again shortly, to finalize the B.E.A.T. agenda for 1994.

  5. Other benefits deriving from activity B.E.A.T. in 1993

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