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Date:         Wed, 5 Jul 2006 09:48:11 -0400
Reply-To:     Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Paige Andrew <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: The proposal passed MARBI!
Comments: To: Subject Coordinates Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
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I've read several other comments from both this list and from the announcement being posted on MAPS-L and have to admit to some fence-sitting on this whole question of whether to require providing coordinates using the sexagesimal versus decimal system. That said, the several comments on the apparent ease of converting degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal has me leaning in favor of "going decimal" if you will. I am also trying to think longer-term in my deliberations and wondering that even though degrees/minutes/seconds are the norm for printed maps I do think there may be a changeover to providing this information in decimal form on printed maps over time. Probably the strongest reason for providing coordinates may be the fact that this is the form used in GIS software and GPS systems and I believe is more easily machine-used/machine-converted for other purposes. The real downside to using decimals is what our patrons are used to seeing displayed in the OPAC, but then thats why we have and continue to need to have reference folks to help explain what these are and probably even show them how to convert to D/M/S if they want to. So, even though I have many, many years of experience using the D/M/S system I am willing to learn a new trick or two if we do decide to use decimals. As to the number of spaces convention, I do think it would be best to stick to seven digits and if I understand correctly it would be better to use a "plus" and "minus" sign to indicate location east or west of the prime meridian and north or south of the equator as opposed to "E", "W", "N", and "S" letters. Paige At 07:15 AM 6/30/2006, Colleen R. Cahill wrote: >The proposal to add coordinates to authority records ><> passed and in the next >year or so, this will be available in the MARC format for >authorities. Thanks to all who worked on this, especially Jimmie >Lundgren of the University of Florida and Rebecca Guenther of the Library >of Congress, who put a great deal of effort in forming this proposal. >Good job! > >We now face some choices, primarly in what format we want the coordinates >to appear in authority records. This can be either degrees, minutes, >seconds or decimal degrees: both have advantages and disadvantages. Here >are a few I have thought of and am hoping for your input: > >Degrees, minutes, seconds format >Pro: >-Format most often printed on maps >-Familiar to most people >-Easy to quality review >-Format most often used in bib records > >Con: >-Not format used by GIS search engines > > >Decimal Degrees >Pro: >-Format used by GIS search engines >-Can harvest data from GIS tools > >Con: >-Not as easy to quality review >-Not as familiar a format to the average person > >The reason we need to have this discussion is LC will allow coordinates in >the authority file, but only in one format. By presenting >well-thought-out reasons for a desired format, we can persuade LC to use >the most logical choice. This is also a good time to think about any >standards or recommendations, such as what is acceptable data (i.e., is >just degrees enough data? How many numbers after the decimal in decimal >degrees?) > > I am sure there are many more pros and cons to >each of these formats. If the cartographic community can come to a >consensus about this topic, it would speed the next step to this process, >setting up a test to load coordinates in the authority files. To >facilitate this process, I will keep track of the discussion and post >compilations. Thank you for your help. > >Colleen > Colleen R. Cahill | [log in to unmask] > Digital Production Coordinator | (202)707-8540 > & Recommending Officer for | FAX (202)707-8531 > Science Fiction & Fantasy | Library of Congress >These opinions are mine, Mine, Mine! | Washington, DC 20540-4652

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