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Library cataloging terminology.


Anybody here who had an experience developing library software. Or, is knowlegeable about cataloging.

I'm having problem naming things.

Ok. a book contains an author, more than 3 authors  will become [et. al]. And, there could be other helpers such as an editor, illustrator, translator, compiler, etc.
How do you call that? Currently, we named it as Sub Author, but there is no such name as "sub author".
What would you recommend?

For me, having a proper terminology will help for a good design and better output also.

Monday, August 08, 2005
Wouldn't it be best to ask a domain expert, which is to say a librarian?
John C.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Why don't you log into your local public library (heck any old public library with an online catalogue will do), and see how they do it?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Don't reinvent the wheel!

Libraries have been doing electronic data exchange for at least 40 years now, so obviously there are well established standards, particularly the MARC standard ( ).

You will also probably want to look at ISO 2709 aka ANSI Z39.2
Les C
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Oh my God... not MARC again!?

I was at the Library of Congress working with their preservation groups and we started learning MARC out of necessity.

For new systems, they have been using MODS - for descriptive metadata.

This has been developed by some *sharp* librarians around the world and is starting to get some serious usage. There is a mailing list if you're really interested.
KC Send private email
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The "sub author" is already suggested by a librarian. I'm just hoping for a better suggestion. I'll probably use that name if ever I can't find a better one.

>> Don't reinvent the wheel!

I'm reinventing the wheel, perhaps  a simple wheel for the users. I want to give them simple data-entry and automatic generation of catalog cards, which every librarian really wants.
I've seen some commercial library software that doesn't even print catalog cards. so, librarians are forced to do their own. using ms word or typewriter.

I've suggested to use MARC for them. (though i'm not very knowledgeable with it) They told me that 1) how about weird books which don't even have ISBN. 2) how can they localize their own subjects. 3) MARC has so many unnecessary fields. 4) We don't often have internet connection.
I did some MARC research and also found out that what they are saying are somewhat true.
How do you view MARC? Is it really of a good help? I'm willing to hear good and bad stories.

Someone suggested MODS, which is almost like MARC.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005
There are already many, many library cataloging programs available in all price ranges. Re-inventing the wheel in this case is totally unecessary.  Also I can't believe you want to print catalog cards!  As a library consultant working with specialized corporate or non-profit libraries, I have not been asked to do this for years and years now.  I don't think most users would ever have seen a card catalog as all public, academic and even most school libraries have automated systems now. Also think of all the wasted time spent filing, lack of full text searching etc.! 

Check out the Library Technology Guides site at for comprehensive lists of resources, companies etc.
Kathy Send private email
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I've posted earlier about how to acquire MARC records. I'm convinced that this is really good to save time and minimize erroneous data-entry.
But, they will be looking for local authorities such as subjects, authors, etc. (they would want their own subject headings for each book) Will local authorities not be supported when adopting MARC?

As an alternative, they could find the title on and view as MARC format, where they could simply copy/paste as a way of importing MARC record.
Whould that be fine?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

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