Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Notes on Operations Metadata Makeover: Transforming MARC Records Using XSLT

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Notes on Operations Metadata Makeover: Transforming MARC Records Using XSLT

Article excerpt

Catalogers have become fluent in information technology such as web design skills, HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), eXensible Markup Language (XML), and programming languages. The knowledge gained from learning information technology can be used to experiment with methods of transforming one metadata schema into another using various software solutions. This paper will discuss the use of extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) for repurposing, editing, and reformatting metadata. Catalogers have the requisite skills for working with any metadata schema, and if they are excluded from metadata work, libraries are wasting a valuable human resource.

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Being a cataloger requires more than knowledge and understanding Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) format, the Anglo American Cataloging Rules (AACR2), the Library of Congress Descriptive Cataloging Manual (DCM), Library of Congress' Subject Headings Manual (SHM), Library of Congress Classification (LCC), Resource Description and Access (RDA), and other cataloging rules and standards. Cataloging practices must also embrace the opportunity to employ new schemas for resource description and how to reuse and repurpose existing metadata.

In the current library ecosystem, catalogers must be willing to assume new responsibilities to enable information to be organized, repurposed, and shared with patrons and other libraries. A large part of these new responsibilities are grounded in the importance and use of metadata to meet the needs of libraries, including creating interoperable data, repurposing data, and building digital repositories. Catalogers have the fundamental skills to successfully work with and repurpose metadata. These skills include, but are not limited to, organization of information, knowledge of commonly used access points, and a growing knowledge of information technology. Catalogers must also develop fluency in information technology (IT) including HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), eXensible Markup Language (XML), Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), and MARCXML (an XML schema based on MARC21) to expand and reimagine their work. By encouraging catalogers to work with metadata creation and standards and to learn web development skills, libraries are using their resources and staff efficiently. This paper will explain how catalogers with intermediate knowledge of HTML, CSS, and XML can develop stylesheets to transform or enhance XML documents.

Literature Review

A survey conducted in 2007 by Ma investigated how metadata was implemented in Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member libraries and revealed that the metadata qualifications and responsibilities required by most responding institutions included knowledge of MARC cataloging, advanced knowledge of metadata crosswalks, and that knowledge of XML and the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) were considered desirable. (1) Park, Lu, and Marion analyzed cataloging position descriptions for vacancies posted on the Autocat discussion list between 2005 and 2006. (2) Their results revealed that of the required qualifications, computer skills (including, but not limited to, hardware, software, Microsoft Office applications, word processing, spreadsheets, and Microsoft Windows) appeared in 32.1 percent of the postings. Metadata knowledge, including but not limited to, Dublin Core (DC), Encoded Archival Description (EAD), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), and Visual Resources Association (VRA) appeared in 23.5 percent of the postings. Web knowledge, including but not limited to, the World Wide Web, HTML, Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), XML appeared in 16.3 percent of the postings. Results reveal that advances in technology have created a new realm of desired skills, qualifications and responsibilities for catalogers.

Hseih-Yee asserts that although catalogers may not be involved in writing programming codes, they need sufficient knowledge of the technologies and tools affecting information organization and services to communicate with vendors and systems management units. …

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