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
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.
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]>
[log in to unmask]
Re: Question on form of coordinates
Colleen is probably composing a more complete response, but here is a
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
2. Propose a new field in MARC bibliographic records (standard coding
for catalog records) for all formats of materials (not just cartographic)
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.
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
the geographic coordinates formatted for searching and interoperability
also. (I have drafted a discussion paper on this topic during the past
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
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
each of you for your contributions!
Cataloging & Metadata Dept.
George A. Smathers Libraries
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611