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
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!
Cataloging & Metadata Dept.
George A. Smathers Libraries
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611