Re: Grassroots experiment
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- Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2000 09:19:16 -0400
- From: "William H. Walters" <whwalters@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: Grassroots experiment
Is accurate color vision now a job requirement for your catalogers?
St. Lawrence University
Sarah Boling wrote:
> Most of us have at one time or another heard a patron explain very
> earnestly that they couldn't be sure of the title or whether the author's
> name was Fleming or Grumlin or something like that, but they KNEW the book
> was red. The traditional cataloging rules have always dodged this vital
> descriptive issue.
> While generally respecting the need for sticking to cataloging procedures
> uniform across the library community, and resisting local Balkanizations
> even if they seemed to be on the side of common sense, I have come to
> believe that the feasibility of using this most important finding tool in
> an OPAC environment deserves investigation. We have established a "limit
> by color" function and a "search by color" function in our OPAC. The
> actual indexing and programming of the limit function were done by
> Innovative, to whom we are duly grateful.
> Exact hue identification is of course a serious problem. Color is very
> subjective, people's color vision varies, and a book is a different color
> in a north-facing room, a west-facing room, a room lit by artificial
> light, or next to a yellow book. A book's color can also vary by several
> shades after it has sat on a cataloging workroom shelf too near the window
> for a year because its relationship to the works it was derived from is
> all fussy. However, difficulties were made for man to overcome.
> Adding the book's color to a bibliographic record does not significantly
> slow down cataloging workflow. It takes in fact less time to identify a
> book as green than it does to ferret out a metric ruler and verify that it
> is 27 cm. tall. The subjectivity of color identification can be largely
> eliminated by limiting the available choice to one of 15 basic hues. The
> only other stumbling block is that color identification has never in the
> last hundred years been part of the work of library cataloging, the MARC
> format and AACR2 don't support it, and it is either eccentric or heretical
> to embrace it. It is, however, spring.
> In honor of the day, I offer the results of our tinkering to any
> interested parties. http://portia.nesl.edu, hornbooks are green, the
> 'limit' function is offered after any multiple-hit search, and for the
> utterly typing-challenged,
> Sarah Boling
> New England School of Law Library
> My employer is not responsible for anything I think up.
William H. Walters
Collection Development Coordinator
and Acquisitions Librarian
St. Lawrence University
Canton, NY 13617