News Items for _Journal of Internet Cataloging_

Jon Knight jon at
Mon Nov 4 07:08:14 EST 1996

On Fri, 1 Nov 1996, Tom Tipsword wrote:
> When you think about how much time we spend seriously (!) discussing 
> things like cataloging the Internet, it's no wonder that librarians have the sort 
> of image that leads to stuff like the Packard Bell commercial which has been the 
> cause of so much wailing and gnashing of teeth lately.   Seriously, have you 
> ever heard anyone who wasn't a librarian demand that catalogers come in 
> and straighten out this messy Internet thing?

Yes I have; me.  I'm a computer scientist, not a librarian and I'm not
alone.  Manual cataloguing of Internet resource has a number of features
that make it a useful adjunct to the "vacuum cleaner" robot generated
indexes such as Lycos and Alta Vista.  For one thing human's bring with
them the ability to make value judgements of quality and the ability to
assess the semantics of resources that machines currently find _very_
difficult to do (its still hard for humans).  An manually generated
catalogue of resources is never going to be as comprehensive as the robot
generated indexes but then they don't have to be; many people just want to
find the quality resources associated with their field of interest.

To this end the UK Electronic Libraries programme has funded a number of
Access to Network Resources (ANR) projects specialising in Subject Based
Information Gateways (SBIGs).  The SBIGs make use of manual record entry
and resource quality assessment in order to shift "the wheat from the
chaff".  There are currently a number of operational SBIGs including ones
for social sciences (SOSIG - <URL:>), medicine (OMNI
- <URL:> and art and design (ADAM -
<URL:>.  See <URL:> for
more details of the Elib program and the other ANR projects.

The Internet is a wild and wacky place and there is room for a number of
different techniques for introducing some order into the proceedings to
help people find information.  And finding information is what librarians
are all about.

Tatty bye,


Jon "Jim'll" Knight, Researcher, Sysop and General Dogsbody, Dept. Computer
Studies, Loughborough University of Technology, Leics., ENGLAND.  LE11 3TU.
* I've found I now dream in Perl.  More worryingly, I enjoy those dreams. *

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