The Perfect Thing

I have been a big fan of Steven Levy’s ever since my brother gave my a copy of the paperback copy of “Hackers(Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution)”: a couple of decades ago. I was eager to read his new book about the iPod. But I didn’t expect it to be quite so innovative.
bq.Borrowing one of the definite qualities of the iPod itself, The Perfect Thing shuffles the book format. Each chapter of this book was written to stand on its own, a deeply researched, wittily observed take on a different aspect of he iPod. The sequence of the chapters in the book has been shuffled in different copies, with only the opening and concluding sections excepted. “Shuffle” is a hall the of the digital age–and The Perfect Thing, via sharp, insightful reporting, is the perfect guide to the deceptively diminutive gadget embodying our era. – “The Perfect Thing(The Perfect Thing)”: I just hope it doesn’t end up requiring every library to have a custom MARC record.

The Danger of Dual ISBN

Back when I was taking cataloging a decade or so ago, I had a Professor who had what I have found to be a pretty unique perspective: She detested OCLC. She considered WorldCat to be filled with errors and problems. While she may have been a little harsh, she did have a point. For example, in front of me right now, I have “Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers(Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers)”: by James F. Simon. If you search for the isbn, “074325032x(Search results for ‘074325032x’)”:, on the book, you will find that it also links to “Whistling past Dixie: how Democrats can win without the South(Whistling past Dixie: how Democrats can win without the South)”: by Thomas F Schaller. According to Amazon, the correct isbn is “0743290151(Search results for ‘0743290151’)”: In the end, it turns out the Schaller book shows both versions of the ISBN and that is why it is searchable either way. My question is, is a mistake presumably made in a CIP record worth keeping?

Content Café Update

I was cataloguing some paperbacks and I happened to notice that they were displaying the proper book cover even with an ISBN-13 listed first. Apparently, my “issue”: has been “fixed(Pegasus descending : a Dave Robicheaux novel)”:*&page=0 and ahead of any schedule I was expecting. Good for B&T. And good for us because it means we won’t have to continue bad practices to get the covers to display correctly.

Content Café and ISBN-13

I was just looking at something in our catalog and noticed that whenever “a book(Pegasus descending : a Dave Robicheaux novel)”:*&page=0 is referenced by the new ISBN standard, a book cover is not displayed. I went and did some checking and found a partial answer.
bq.Content Café is just a source of data and relies on the requesting system to format a request for data correctly. We are in the process of completing the testing of Content Café 2. Content Café 2 has been enhanced to determine whether an ISBN-10, ISBN-13 or a UPC has been passed in the request for data and returns the appropriate information. Content Café 2 also provides additional data elements like author biographies and publisher summaries. – “Helpful Information from Baker & Taylor(ISBN-13)”: It sounds like they are aware of the problem, but an actual date of implementation would be kind of useful. You may want to check into this if you are noticing similar issues.


I got an e-mail today reminding me of the upcoming switch to ISBN13 next January. Polaris has prepared a document that provides what looks to be a good overview, “Understanding the Impact of the 13-Digit ISBN(Understanding the Impact of the 13-Digit ISBN)”:, even if you are not their customer. You definitely want to be paying attention to this. Oh, and by the way, I have already seen two copies of two books, “Overcoming Sleep Disorders Naturally(Overcoming Sleep Disorders Naturally)”: and “An Army of Davids(An Army of Davids)”: that did not include an ISBN10.

Multimedia Catalog

bq.I have a hunch that the aggregation of reviews/summaries/screenshots/renting beats the pants off anyone’s OPAC. Now, I’m not saying that we need to have robotic materials dispensing machines (which probably could be easily achieved with conveyor belts and RFID), but I am saying that it would be great to have, for instance, Novelists’ content out where people didn’t have a search to use it? Can anyone show me a prime example of an OPAC doing something like this? – “Aaron Schmidt(Red Room DVD)”: I don’t know if this is a prime example, but Polaris does offer “something( The world is flat : a brief history of the twenty-first century)”:*&query=&page=0 of what Aaron is looking for. This example doesn’t make use of Novelist, but it can. My library had a Novelist subscription for awhile, but we decided as nice as it was, it was just too expensive for our needs. And I still think while “book covers are great(Displaying Book Covers)”:, patrons are expecting more of an Amazon-like experience.

Cnet on FRBR

I did a double-take when I found this “entry(A blog on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records)”: in my Cnet Feed. The live bookmark sits right next to Catalogablog which recently had this “entry(FRBR 24/7)”: Only the thing is that I can’t figure out why Cnet couldn’t link to “The FRBR Blog(The FRBR Blog)”: correctly.

Folksonomies: Threat or Menace?

bq.Tagging is fundamentally about tapping the collective human wisdom, rather than relying on a computer algorithm, for search. And that human wisdom is bound to help you discover information a computer might not otherwise know to retrieve. – “Ben Shneiderman(Tags Ease Sifting of Digital Data)”:
bq.Folksonomies are far from generating a thesaurus never mind an ontology. That is not to say they are not useful and have their place, I’d love to get one on our library catalog, but they will never have the structure of more sophisticated structures. – “David Bigwood(Free Tagging)”:

Authority control in AACR3

I haven’t read much about “AACR3(AACR3: Resource Description and Access)”: yet, but since I appear to be taking on a new role within our Cooperative, this document by Deirdre Kiorgaard and Ann Huthwaite, “Authority control in AACR3(Authority control in AACR3)”:, may prove to have been essential reading. “FRBR(Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records)”: appears to have an important place in the new standard, which will definitely be a good thing.

Sadomasochism in Europe

I just catalogued two books: “In the Name of Ishmael(In the Name of Ishmael)”: by Giuseppe Genna and “Platform(Platform)”: by Michel Houellebecq. Both by European authors and both with plots involving sadomasochism. Is this a trend, or what?