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Date:         Fri, 26 Aug 2005 13:17:02 -0400
Reply-To:     Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Dean C Rogers <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Question on form of coordinates
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I like what Jimmie says below. I put coordinates into map records every working day. The new Google Earth product is the best aid I have discovered so far, to show extent of coverage when the 4 areal extremes are vague or nonexistent. It even shows my car parked in front of my house, if I zoom in! There are several coordinate problems with the records we are creating these days: 1. We need to extend mandatory geographic data in bib records to non-map items because many non-map non-fiction resources have place orientation that could be invaluable to a patron searching electronically; 2. More and more resources are neither map nor non-map! They are "georeferenced" (often electronic) documents that may contain a simplified map for general orientation, but also contain, as a main feature, a multilayered GIS database with extensive metadata to explain that database, text, previous editions, author biographies, related hot keys, music, illustrations, and just about any other thing an author might dream up to put in. 3. We do not value that proper coordinates are clean, hard data that yield very good hits: You are either within a boundary or not, and this lends itself to very effective binary manipulation. 4. Once you have seen Google Earth, you will realize that patrons will soon expect to be able to draw a border on a region and ask for anything on any topic within that area. We MUST have the clean, hard coordinates in the catalog records to support this functionality. 5. Saay, shouldn't catalogers have this kind of point-and-click automation for the input of record coordinates? As it is now, many non-map catalogers run from coordinates as geekcraft. If we had a smart and easy aid (like Google Earth) built in, as part of our cataloging software, it would make geospatializing records much easier. 6. I spend waay too much time duplicating projection (in Fixed Field and 255 field) and coordinates (in 034 and 255 fields) into bib records. If a cataloger enters the projection, degrees, minutes, and seconds once in a record, why can't the automated cataloging program transfer them wherever else they may be needed? 7. I should, but do not know, the origin of degrees, minutes, and seconds. From the time of Portugese Prince Henry, the Navigator? Or perhaps earlier, from the Medieval period. The wierd non-decimal scheme of degrees, minutes, and seconds was devised in an era when so much mathematical work was done in the head (navigating on a stormy sea) with shortcuts we have, for the most part, lost today. To me, decimalizing a degree or minute is a perversion of this ancient system. (I should tell this to the scientists at my agency). If a finer increment than a second is needed, I have no problem with dividing a second by 10. Computers today can convert quickly back and forth between the decimal and degree (or any other) system. It is at the human level where confusion arises. 8. The next geospatial horizon is mainstreaming our excellent Global Positioning System, which also indicates elevation. I would like to see online cataloging interface easily with the Global Positioning System. Our patrons deserve the best. Thank you. Dean Rogers Map Cataloger U.S. Geological Survey Library Reston, Va. 20192 Jimmie Lundgren <[log in to unmask]> Sent by: Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> 08/17/2005 02:57 PM Please respond to Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> To [log in to unmask] cc Subject Re: Question on form of coordinates Colleen is probably composing a more complete response, but here is a short version of what I understand we are hoping to accomplish. 1. Determine a way of expressing coordinates that will work well both in terms of interoperability with geospatial databases and usability by catalog librarians. 2. Propose a new field in MARC bibliographic records (standard coding system for catalog records) for all formats of materials (not just cartographic) to allow subject searching via geographic coordinates. This is very different from the currently-used 034 and 255 fields which are only used for cartographic materials and record the coverage of the particular cartographic item being described. 3. Develop a standard list/database of geographic coordinates associated with places, hopefully through compilation from other reliable sources. This will enable catalogers to copy and paste correct coordinates from the list into the new field on the bibliographic record. 4. Propose a new field in MARC authority records for places for inclusion of the geographic coordinates formatted for searching and interoperability also. (I have drafted a discussion paper on this topic during the past year with some of my colleagues here and with input from MAGERT, and hope to expand, strengthen and submit sometime soon. One of my difficulties in developing this discussion paper has been choosing the best way of expressing coordinates that will be both searchable and easy for librarians to record, so I am eagerly reading messages from each of you that help to shed light on this aspect. Please send more.) I am very excited about this because I believe it will ultimately lead to greatly improved access to all kinds of information about places for researchers. I am so grateful to Colleen for initiating this project, and to each of you for your contributions! Thanks, Jimmie Lundgren Cataloging & Metadata Dept. George A. Smathers Libraries University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 352-392-0351

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