Research project to automate cataloging of Internet resources seeks participants worldwide

DUBLIN, Ohio, Sept. 28, 1998--The OCLC Office of Research is seeking participants for a project to explore the cooperative creation and sharing by libraries of metadata--data about data. The Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) project is designed to help both libraries and OCLC cope with the vast amount of material becoming available on the World Wide Web.

Libraries, museums, archives, publishers and other institutions that face similar problems with the proliferation of resources on the Web are invited to participate. Additional information and applications are available via E-mail < >.

"In the late 1960s, the convergence of technology and a good idea brought the library world into a new era of shared goals and resources," said Thom Hickey, chief scientist, OCLC Research and Special Projects. "The visionary dream of cooperative cataloging is now deeply embedded in library economics, and the result has been the most widely used academic database on the Internet, WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog)."

"Now, libraries need a system to create and share metadata for online resources to help automate resource selection, creation of the metadata itself and maintenance of links," said Dr. Hickey."

The CORC Research Project will explore the cooperative creation of a catalog of Internet resources. Among the goals of the project: producing HTML pages suitable for use on library portal sites, providing the ability to mix local and shared information, allowing easy upgrading of records, sharing and minimizing link maintenance, and providing automated support for metadata creation and maintenance.

The project will build upon OCLC's prior activities in creating Internet resource databases through such projects as the OCLC NetFirst and InterCat databases, but the CORC project will rely more heavily on automated means to build its database. NetFirst, an authoritative directory of Internet resources, now includes more than 100,000 records input and maintained by OCLC staff members. Started as a cooperative research project in 1993, InterCat contains over 45,000 records contributed by more than 1,000 libraries. OCLC maintains InterCat as a proof-of-concept database and a ready resource to assist catalogers who are approaching the cataloging of Internet resources for the first time. Both NetFirst and InterCat records will be used initially to seed the CORC database.

OCLC's pioneering work with metadata will also come into play in the project. Both full USMARC cataloging and an enhanced Dublin Core metadata mode will be used (the Dublin Core is a 15-element metadata set intended to facilitate discovery of electronic resources < >).

The underlying engine of CORC, originally developed for the OCLC SiteSearch 4.0 software, will automatically catalog resources on the Web. It includes sophisticated harvesting and automated description capabilities developed in OCLC's Scorpion research project.

OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more than 27,000 libraries in 64 countries and territories.