Zine Union Catalog Overview

Notes from Zine Union Catalog Overview√ā¬†session at ZL(u)C 2016, Boston

Blog post with xZINECOREx zine, ZUC meeting notes & email list

NEH Humanities Collections & Reference Resources Foundations grant application



Jenna: Where we are

This conversation has been going since the first ZLuC in 2009.
XZINECOREX – codified at ZLuC in MKE in 2011
Monthly conference calls for the working group. Welcoming new participants! There may be subgroups forming, too.

Desire: challenge conventional, accepted cataloging practices with an ethical approach, accountability to our communities

What’s next:
Getting closer to what the catalog might actually look like
We have pots of mutual metadata — need something group editable
Automated linked data – libraries sync with cloud

Milo: ZineWiki (ZW)
Union catalog group gently took this over – needed database fix-up, more functional than it was 6 months ago.
Under discussion: using ZW to function as an authority file
Idea: Add boxes of structured data to pages (akin to profile boxes on Wikipedia entries)
Need: help from folks with media wiki savvy

Jennifer: NEH Grant
Has been involved in a NEH grant to update a popular research resource that needs to be updated from its old interface, fix advanced search, etc. Got a planning grant — helpful to learn how much needs to be invested in planning, especially with a group of diverse stakeholders. This happens before applying for an implementation grant.

XZINECOREX team has applied for a planning grant. Will find out if the grant is funded in March 2017. Members of the team will meet in TX, hire 4 grad students to wrangle metadata.
Anticipating challenges around dealing with finding aids — much harder than dealing with MARC records.
Group is mostly academic librarians plus Milo – very open to feedback from all folks outside the grant team

Jenna: Culture of the group
Group working on this has existed a long time, but it’s not an exclusive club! Welcomes new particpants, leaders
The other grant that the group applied for was a $35,000 Knight grant — that was a prototype grant, but discovered they needed to get a planning grant first.

Honor: Presentations at conferences & events
Notes from monthly calls: http://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/zineunioncatalog
Honor presented at the Program for Cooperative Cataloging at ALA Midwinter – community-generated and responsive authority data
New England Tech Services Librarians Conference
MASHCAT – Catalogers & IT folks who want to make metadata work better. Twitter chats & meetings
Milo, Jenna, Violet talked about this at a queer zine session at ALA Annual
Alison talked in some contexts at ALA as well

In order to do linked data, you need authority control – a way of associating all of an author’s names with their specific person, or multiple identifiers [URI] for different points in one author’s life (e.g., Cindy Gretchen Ovenrack & Cindy Crabb are one person, Cindy Gretchen Ovenrack Crabb)
Mutual metadata – ensuring that everyone’s data play well with each other (wonder twin powers activate!)

Reaching out to the Getty – may be overlap between projects
Zinester & National Authority File (LoC) overlap exists
Promise of linked open data – benefits of structured data, but not having to deal with historical problem of one preferred term
What about lexical replacement vs. enabling community vocabularies? Metadata as historical record?
Not sure how to reproduce the aggregate naming that’s useful in a research context
Maybe we need “related to” terms
Want people the option to reuse data in their own local environments. Base data is the same. Libraries that use LCSH can share data with libraries that use other schemes.

Q: If one choice is LCSH (hierarchical, limited) & another is tagging – will the union catalog have all of these terms, and locally, you would choose which ones are visible?
A: Catalog will accept all terms, structured data will support reuse. Still figuring out what happens when they injest heterogeneous metadata.

Examples: Authority control box at the bottom of WIkipedia entries: Jennifer showed the example of Nina Simone’s page
snac: social networks & archival context – aggregates data about collections & people documented in collections. reveals problems that emerge when tools pull data that may be incorrect

Project needs:
More independent, barefoot librarians to be involved in the process, especially since practices are idiosyncratic
More input from public libraries
Helpful to have people who aren’t yet experts in the discourse around cataloging to keep the project honest, intelligible, accessible
Keep an eye out for calls to the Zine Librarians listserv — may be asking for examples of descriptions from multiple collections
Questions from ZLuC participants & zinester community to help develop a FAQ resource

Dena volunteered to be part of monthly phone calls

One possibility: subgroups have calls to better accommodate different schedules, broader participation

Ways to participate, continue the conversation:
+ Working group meeting: MIT 1-6PM on Sunday July 31
+ There may be a follow-up session tomorrow
+ Group participants are happy to chat on the phone