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Here we will define terms that we need to use in our discussion. If terms have been defined sufficiently elsewhere, please point or cite source.

Definitions (cooked)



A catalog is defined as a list of items, coming from word roots that mean "list, to count up." Examples are a library catalog, a list of items offered for sale, or the catalog of a museum exhibit that lists the items in the exhibit. The library catalog is an inventory of items held by the library, either through ownership or license. It was once equal to what users could physically find in the library; today it includes resources held remotely and resources that are not owned by the library but whose access is managed through the library.


The act of creating entries for a catalog. Library cataloging uses a prescribed set of rules intended to enforce consistent choice of bibliographic description and access points. (See AACR2)


From (O)nline (P)ublic (A)ccess (C)atalog, generally a library catalog that is made available over a network for user access.


    • 1. The Z39.2/ISO 2709 record structure
    • 2. MARC 21's implementation of the Z39.2/ISO 2709
    • 3. MARC 21's family of formats (bib, authority, etc.)
    • 4. MARC 21's set of data elements for each of the formats
    • 5. MARC 21's instructions for punctuation or other included coding in the data values.



Definitions (raw)

The Next Generation "Entity" (not using the term catalog) is comprised of:

    • A list of items owned by the library. This list is at a macro level (e.g. serial titles but not the articles in the serial). Often that level is determined by the purchase unit, since this list interacts with the library's acquisitions function.
    • A list of items ordered but not yet received/catalogued/processed by the library?
    • Serial issues received. This is usually found in a separate module called a serials check-in system (which replaced the old Kardex)
    • Licenced resources. These may be listed in the catalog, but they may either/also be found in a database used by an OpenURL resolver or in an ERM system (which is not accessible to users). In some cases, these are listed on a web site managed by the library.
    • Journal article indexes. These used to be hard-copy reference books. They are now often electronic databases. User interface to these varies.
    • Items available via ILL. This could be a union catalog of libraries in a borrowing unit. It also is a function that interacts with OCLC's ILL system. This latter usually isn't visible in the user view of the library.
    • Links and connections from information systems not hosted by the library, such as the ability to link from an article in a licensed database to the full text of the article from another source; or a link from an Internet search engine to library-managed resources through a browser plug-in or a web service.
    • Location and circulation status information, plus the ability for users to place holds on items or to request delivery of items.
    • Interaction with institutional services such as courseware.
    • One or more user interfaces. Many of these services above will have a separate interface just for that service, but there are also meta-interfaces that will combine services.

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 11:34 am on Apr 25, 2007

It strikes me that the next generation "Entity" is really about connecting people to the information resources to which they have access and this is a factor of identity management and affiliation. The list of things (formerly known as a catalog) is going to be different for each individual. Perhaps there is no one single next gen catalog/entity but umpteen million individualized next gen information manipulation tools. Of course these tools will rely on standardized, structured, data/metadata. No question there. I just think that the notion of one single NextGen catalog won't cut it.

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