Last modified on 6 March 2011, at 02:34

ETD Guide/Technical Issues/Cataloging: MARC, DC, RDF

Many traditional library systems exchange and store records using the MARC Format (Machine Readable Catalog), one of the realizations of the ISO 2709 Standard. The MARC Format has approximately 1,000 fields, many with subfields which can be repeated. The use of this format allows a very detailed description of the items. This format has a specific field (856) to identify of electronic objects associated with the intellectual item and its other physical instances.

The DCMES (Dublin Core Metadata Element Set - http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/) is a set of 15 attributes divided into 3 groups: content, intellectual property and instanciation. Associated to them there are the Dublin Core Qualifiers (http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmes-qualifiers/) that enhance the identification of the items.

There is a relation between the MARC Format and the DCMES since there is an intersection between the 2 sets of attributes.

The RDF (Resource Description Framework - http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/rec-rdf-syntax-19990222/) is a foundation for processing metadata. It specifies a representation for metadata as well as the syntax for encoding and transporting this metadata. The objective is to yield interoperability of Web servers and clients, and to facilitate automation of processing of resources. It can be used to describe Web pages, sites or digital libraries.

The DCMES can be used with the RDF representation.


Considering the MARC Record and the Cataloging Department Work Flow

MARC Bibliographic Records

Catalogers may want to focus initially on what fields are currently included in the MARC bibliographic record for theses and how these would be the same or different for ETDs. The MARC record for theses is not very robust and often has a local twist, presenting valuable information in a unique format that can be seen only at the originating institution. Optimally, author, title, abstract, and other relevant bibliographic information would be programmatically adapted to the appropriate MARC fields. The extent of AACR2r compliance was another complicating factor. For example, would programming change upper-case letters to lower case?

Requiring authors of theses (in all formats) to provide keywords for use in the bibliographic record may enhance search results. Assigning Library of Congress subject headings (or other controlled vocabulary) is very time consuming, so having the authors assign the uncontrolled subject headings may be an appropriate alternative. MARC tag 653 would be appropriate for author-assigned terms. Without LC subject headings, however, these MARC records would be considered "minimal level," rather than full level, cataloging. This seemed particularly unjust to because the ETD bibliographic records would actually be more robust than previous theses cataloging because additional information is included.

The catalogers on the ad hoc task force suggested including tables of contents (MARC tag 505) and abstracts (MARC tag 520) since the standard copy-and-paste features of today's word processors would make this a relatively easy process. The table of contents for dissertations, however, proved to be quite generic, usually containing only the standard dissertation topics (e.g., literature review, methodology, findings, etc.), and, therefore, not an enhancement to the information available about the work in the OPAC. The abstract, however, contains valuable information and provides valuable information about the research topic. The 520 is also an indexed field in our online catalog and, therefore, a word-searchable field for OPAC users. Adding the abstract (250-350 words) can, however, add tremendously to the length of the MARC record. See figure 2 and figure 3.

Cataloging conventions have not generally included the name of the thesis author's department as a standard feature of the bibliographic record. This is an opportunity to modify local cataloging practices.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to incorporate changes in theses cataloging, consider using MARC tag 502, the dissertation note field, to include the degree, institution, and year the degree was granted, expanding institution to include the name of the department. The new note would follow this example:

502 Thesis (Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering)--Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1955.

Evaluating the potential value of an e-thesis bibliographic record provides the opportunity to propose a substantially enhanced record of real and continuing value to OPAC users. AACR2r compliance may be an issue. In reviewing her Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide, Nancy Olson states that when cataloging Internet-accessible documents, consider them to be published documents. Therefore, publisher information belongs in field 260 of an e-thesis record. [Coming from a serials background it seems reasonable to add a 710 for this corporate body tracing.] Additional fields required for cataloging computer files include tag 256 for computer file characteristics, tag 538 for notes of system details, and tag 856 for formatted electronic location and access information. These additional fields (505, 260, 710, etc.), however, also increase the length of the record and, therefore, should be carefully considered as should the usefulness of the information provided in meeting the combined needs of OPAC users and computerized access and retrieval systems.


Figure 2: MARC bibliographic record for an ETD


VT University Libraries - - - - - - - - ADDISON - - - - MARC BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
[OCLC fixed field tags]
Local lvl: 0 Analyzed: 0 Operator: 0000 Edit: Type cntl:
CNTL: Rec stat: n Entrd: 010608 Used: 010706
Type: a Bib lvl: m Govt pub: s Lang: eng Source: d Illus: a
Repr: Enc lvl: K Conf pub: 0 Ctry: vau Dat tp: s M/F/B: 0
Indx: 0 Mod rec: Festschr: 0 Cont: b
Desc: a Int lvl: Dates: 2001, [003-049 system assigned fields and information]

  1. 001 ocm47092981 010608
  2. 003 OCoLC
  3. 005 20010608092044.0
  4. 006 m d s
  5. 007 c \b r \d u \e n \f u
  6. 035 1475-05560
  7. 040 VPI \c VPI
  8. 049 VPII
  1. 099 Electronic Thesis 2001 Alvarez
  2. 100 1 Alvarez, Leticia, \d 1973-
  3. 245 14 The influence of the Mexican muralists in the United States \h [computer file] : \b from the new deal to the abstract expressionism / \c Leticia Alvarez.
  4. 256 Computer data (1 file)
  5. 260 [Blacksburg, Va. : \b University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, \c 2001]
  6. 440 0 VPI & SU. History. M.A. 2001
  7. 500 Title from electronic submission form.
  8. 500 Vita.
  9. 500 Abstract.
  10. 502 Thesis (M.A.)--Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2001.
  1. 504 Includes bibliographical references.
  2. 520 3 This thesis proposes to investigate the influence of the Mexican muralists in the United States, from the Depression to the Cold War. This thesis begins with the origins of the Mexican mural movement, which will provide the background to understand the artists2 ideologies and their relationship and conflicts with the Mexican government. Then, I will discuss the presence of Mexican artists in the United States, their repercussions, and the interaction between censorship and freedom of expression as well as the controversies that arose from their murals. This thesis will explore the influence that the Mexican mural movement had in the United States in the creation of a government-sponsored program for the arts (The New Deal, Works Progress Administration). During the 1930s, sociological factors caused that not only the art, but also the political ideologies of the Mexican artists to spread across the United States. The Depression provided the environment for a public art of social content, as well as a context that allowed some American artists to accept and follow the Marxist ideologies of the Mexican artists. This influence of radical politics will be also described. Later, I will examine the repercussions of the Mexican artists2 work on the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s. Finally I will also examine the iconography of certain murals by Mexican and American artists to appreciate the reaction of their audience, their acceptance among a circle of artists, and the historical context that allowed those murals to be created.
  1. 538 System requirements: PC, World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
  2. 538 Available electronically via Internet.
  3. 653 mural painting \a WPA \a abstract expressionism
  4. 856 40 \u http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05092001-130514
  5. 945 NBJun2001
  6. 949 dpm/tm 06/07/01
  7. 994 E0 \b VPI



Figure 3: OPAC display for an electronic thesis from the Virginia Tech VTLS opac


VT University Libraries - - - - - - - - ADDISON- - - - - - - - - - - -FULL RECORD
CALL NUMBER: Electronic Thesis 2001 Alvarez
Author: Alvarez, Leticia, 1973-
Title: The influence of the Mexican muralists in the United States [computer file] : from the new deal to the abstract expressionism / Leticia Alvarez.
File Type: Computer data (1 file)
Imprint: [Blacksburg, Va. : University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2001]
Series: VPI & SU. History. M.A. 2001
Note: System requirements: PC, World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Note: Available electronically via Internet.
Remote Acc.: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05092001-130514
Note: Title from electronic submission form.
Note: Vita.
Note: Abstract.
Note: Thesis (M.A.)--Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2001.
Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Abstract: This thesis proposes to investigate the influence of the Mexican muralists in the United States, from the Depression to the Cold War. This thesis begins with the origins of the Mexican mural movement, which will provide the background to understand the artists2 ideologies and their relationship and conflicts with the Mexican government. Then, I will discuss the presence of Mexican artists in the United States, their repercussions, and the interaction between censorship and freedom of expression as well as the controversies that arose from their murals. This thesis will explore the influence that the Mexican mural movement had in the United States in the creation of a government-sponsored program for the arts (The New Deal, Works Progress Administration). During the 1930s, sociological factors caused that not only the art, but also the political ideologies of the Mexican artists to spread across the United States. The Depression provided the environment for a public art of social content, as well as a context that allowed some American artists to accept and follow the Marxist ideologies of the Mexican artists. This influence of radical politics will be also described. Later, I will examine the repercussions of the Mexican artists2 work on the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s. Finally I will also examine the iconography of certain murals by Mexican and American artists to appreciate the reaction of their audience, their acceptance among a circle of artists, and the historical context that allowed those murals to be created.

Key Words: -- mural painting



In terms of the broader topic of bibliographic control of electronic publications, focus on adding to current cataloging practices those fields that would enhance the OPAC users' access and conform to AACR2r. So many of the fields describing computer files appear to be redundant; 245 \h, 256, 516, and 538, for example; which tell the OPAC user over and over that the item is a computer file. To stay within the stringent restrictions of full-level cataloging, the members of the task force saw no way to avoid requiring catalogers to use most of the available fields. Concentrate on the MARC tags that would provide information about access. The principal fields include: 256 (computer file characteristics), 506 (restrictions on access note), 516 (type of computer file or data note), 530 (other formats available), 538 (system details note), 556 (accompanying documentation), and 856 (electronic location and access).

Current OPACs, in addition to the limitations of hardware and workstations, however, still prevent most users from accessing electronic texts or images directly and smoothly from one menu or even from a single, multi-function workstation. However, workstations are gradually becoming available that permit users to copy the URL from the bibliographic record and paste it into a World Wide Web browser for accessing an e-text from a single terminal. Knowing this was possible include MARC tag 856.

Another issue that must be addressed is using subfield u or splitting the URL into the multiple subfields. We went for simplicity and decided to format the 856 subfield u so that it could be copied and pasted into a World Wide Web browser. Again, we were not willing to wait for the programming that would be necessary to combine the separate subfields into a clickable URL.

Cataloging has greatly benefited from advances in library automation and the cataloging of e-texts is ripe for further automation. It is now possible to derive MARC cataloging from text mark-up languages, subsets of XL, SGML such as TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) headers, and possibly even HTML (hypertext markup language) tags.


ETD Submission Form

Name: [MARC tag 100]
Title: [MARC tag 245]
Document Type (check one):
Abstract: [MARC tag 520]
Keywords: [MARC tag 653]
1.
2.
3.
Department: [MARC tag 502]
Degree: [MARC tag 502]
Filename(s), size(s): [MARC tag 256]
1.
2.
3.
4.

In addition to considering the MARC record and the cataloging department work flow, consider a procedure for getting the files from the Graduate School (approving unit), the mechanics of making an ETD available to a cataloguer (from the secure and private environment of the server) and for moving an ethesis into public access. Have the cataloguer forward a copy as each ETD is processed to a server at UMI. If UMI would prefer batch processing, files could be accumulated (i.e., stored in a directory on the etheses server) for batched file transfer, or perhaps a UMI-access point could be established on the ETD server from which its staff could retrieve them.

With input from the University Archivist and addressing a concern of the Graduate School's, long term preservation and access of ETDs should also be factored into the procedures. A plan may include periodically writing ETDs to CD-ROMs for security back-ups and possibly longer term preservation. While this is may not be the final answer, an alternative has not been brought forward; how frequently this would be done has also not been determined.



Processing Electronic Theses: a possible scenario


  1. Graduate School
    • Electronically transfers approved file to library theses server E-mails Thesis Transmission Form to library thesis coordinator
  2. Library/Cataloguer
    • Downloads ED from closed server to her workstation
    • Prepares cataloging (see new features above in figure 4)
    • Adds a screen to the file that includes the call number and property "stamp" (using "memos" feature of Acrobat)
    • Move file to server for public access
    • Electronically send file to UMI or move to UMI holding file
  3. Library Theses Server Administrator
    • Indexes text for word searchability
    • Integrates new index with existing index
    • Maintains server, including weekly back-ups (stored on site) and monthly tapes (stored off site)
    • Removes files from closed server following completed processing
    • Makes CD-ROMs
  4. Special Collections Department/University Archives
    • Retains CD-ROMs
    • Works with Theses Server Administrator as necessary to ensure that archival files are accessible


Theses and dissertations as electronic files may be the first major source of electronic texts that many libraries encounter regularly. Seize this opportunity to enhance the OPAC users search results by expanding current theses cataloging and taking advantage of online information prepared by authors. Since authors will probably not be adding TEI, MARC, or other element tags to their documents to help cataloging in the near term, catalogers could use the information available in a variety of online sources including the document itself or from the online submission form to provide the basic descriptive MARC fields. Whether programmatic changes can be made or standard copy-and-paste features of word processors are incorporated, enhancing the ETD bibliographic record does not require a lot of extra work.

See also "Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Merging Perspectives," chapter in Electronic Resources: Selection and Bibliographic Control, Pattie, Ling-yuh W. (Miko), and Bonnie Jean Cox, eds. New York: Haworth, 1997 (105-125). [Simultaneously published in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, 22(3/4)]


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