Social discovery tools: Cataloguing meets user convenience

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Published on February 17, 2014

Author: LouiseSpiteri

Source: slideshare.net

SOCIAL DISCOVERY TOOLS: CATALOGUING MEETS USER CONVENIENCE Louise Spiteri School of Information Management Dalhousie University

THE ROLE OF THE CATALOGUE The traditional goals and objectives of the library catalogue are to enable users to search a library’s collection to find items pertaining to specific titles, authors, or subjects. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB The library catalogue has long acted as an important and fundamental medium between users and their information needs.

CHANGING NATURE OF CATALOGUES Interact with the catalogue and with each other  Create and participating in discussion groups  Tag items of interest in language that reflects their needs  Share reading, listening, or viewing interests  Provide recommendations and ratings for selected items.  CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Today’s library catalogues are competing against powerful alternatives for information discovery. Services offered by sites such as Amazon and LibraryThing allow members to:

SOCIAL DISCOVERY SYSTEMS  Allow users to enhance the content of bibliographic records by adding their own tags, ratings, and reviews.  Can play an important role in helping information professionals meet one of the primary underlying principles of cataloguing, namely that catalogue records be designed with the user in mind and that, whenever possible, the needs of clients must be placed above other concerns CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Library discovery systems, such as AquaBrowser, BiblioCommons and Encore provide an enhanced search and discovery experience for the users.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS What is the relationship between culture and user convenience? What are the ethical dimensions involved in creating catalogue records to reflect user convenience? How can social discovery tools facilitate the creation of catalogue records that reflect the culture(s) and needs of the library community in which they exist? CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB What is the relationship between the principle of user convenience and social discovery systems?

CODE OF ETHICS FOR INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS (KOEHLER & PEMBERTON, 2009) Understand the roles of the information practitioner and strive to meet them with the greatest possible skill and competence. Support the needs of the profession and the professional association(s). Insofar as they do not conflict with professional obligations, be sensitive and responsive to social responsibilities appropriate to the profession. Be aware of, and be responsive to, the rights of users, employers, fellow practitioners, one’s community, the larger society CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Whenever possible, place the needs of clients above other concerns.

IFLA STATEMENT ON INTERNATIONAL CATALOGUING PRINCIPLES (2009) convenience of the user representation accuracy sufficiency & necessity significance economy consistency & standardization integration CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB common usage

USER CONVENIENCE AND CULTURE (BEGHTOL) : User warrant • Individuals are considered to be members of a certain culture(s) and represent that culture(s) when they participate in the development and use of knowledge organization systems. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Cultural warrant • Any knowledge organization or representational system should reflect the assumptions, values, and predispositions of the culture(s) in which it exists.

USER CONVENIENCE AND CULTURE (BEGHTOL) Cultural hospitality CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB • Knowledge organization systems allow for personal and community choices

ACTIVITY THEORY (HJØRLAND, 1997) Knowledge organization and representation cannot be isolated from the culture, environment and context in which these processes take place.  Individual resources are analyzed and described according to their uses, both intended or actual. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB 

DEFINING CULTURE Culture is a collective phenomenon and involves groups of people who share the same culture. Cultural groups may define themselves in different ways, such as according to language, nation, religion, generation, region, or workplace. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Defining cultural values is particularly challenging in pluralistic countries like Canada, where people who live within the same political nation may belong to several cultural groups.

RECONCILING CATALOGUE RECORDS WITH CULTURE How do you reconcile these different needs with the integrity of the content of catalogue records that follow standard procedures and guidelines? How do you create catalogue records that meet user convenience in environments of shared bibliographic databases and little opportunity exists to create customized records? CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB How can library catalogue records be designed to meet the different cultural needs of communities?

BARRIERS TO MEETING USER NEEDS Insufficient interaction with clients Cataloguers involved in back-end processes of catalogues CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Cheaper to use minimal vendor records

INCREASING ROLE FOR CATALOGUE RECORDS  Library  Increasingly, the catalogue record must provide information that clients would have obtained traditionally from browsing physically through an item and scanning its contents  Enhanced content, e.g., tables of contents, images, detailed summaries, and so forth. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB use often occurs outside the confines of a physical building.

SOCIAL DISCOVERY SYSTEMS TO THE RESCUE? Library staff can learn more about the members of the library community by examining tags, ratings and reviews, and create collections and services, such as Readers' Advisory, that more closely reflect the needs of the users. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB When users add metadata to existing catalogue records in the form of tags, ratings, or reviews, they are given the opportunity to express both their needs and their cultural points-of-view.

SOCIAL DISCOVERY SYSTEMS TO THE RESCUE? User-created metadata can reflect not only a personal perspective, but also a community perspective. User-contributed metadata can assist in the expression of different cultural manifestations. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB User-assigned tags and reviews can help members of the library community connect with one another via shared interests and connections.

BUT WHAT IF THEY MESS UP THE RECORDS? Inoffensive content could be flagged by other clients (Edmonton model). User content Library staff may be less could monitor accurate or neutral, but still content to fix errors informative (e.g., the tag “boring”). CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB The MARC record cannot be altered. Users can only add content to the MARC record, e.g., tags, ratings, reviews.

WHAT ABOUT OBJECTIVITY? Cataloguers have traditionally believed in the importance of creating records that are free of bias. The provision of unbiased catalogue records, while laudable, is rarely truly attainable in practice. Cataloguers decide what to include and exclude in a catalogue record.  Subjectivity becomes even more of an issue via the choice of subject headings and classification numbers.  User-contributed tags and reviews could certainly reflect bias, but this bias could be a useful and important expression of user convenience and cultural warrant. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB 

GRASSROOTS LANGUAGE Social discovery systems can balance formal vocabularies with those of the community CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Formal representation language may not reflect users and the community User-contributed metadata could allow us to examine to what extent controlled vocabularies reflect the needs of the user and help us update these vocabularies.

CONCLUSIONS User-contributed metadata allow clients to express their needs and cultural warrant User-contributed metadata can be an invaluable resource by which to examine how people use and interact with catalogue records and to modify controlled vocabularies such as LCSH. CAS 2011. Fredericton, NB Social discovery systems can bridge cataloguers' desire to create accurate catalogue records that conform to accepted cataloguing standards, and their ethical imperative to ensure that these records meet the needs of the clients.

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