The overall objective of the Internet Cataloging Project was "to test and evaluate the efficacy of using USMARC format bibliographic records, including electronic location and access information (USMARC field 856), to provide description, location, and access information for remotely accessible electronic information objects."
Among the key measurable objectives established for the project were the creation of an indexed and searchable database of bibliographic records providing description, location, and access information for electronic files accessible via the Internet, and the integration of these records within local and union library catalogs, specifically the OCLC Online Union Catalog and the OCLC FirstSearch WorldCat database.
To accomplish these broad and specific objectives, the Internet Cataloging Project applied the conventional processes used to provide bibliographic control to non-Internet media to objects accessible over the Net. Among these were the use of a modified MARC record for database files that included coded location and access information (USMARC field 856), the application of the AAC2 cataloging code to Net resources, and broad participation of libraries affiliated with the nation's largest institutions of higher learning.
OCLC, and those participants in the OCLC Internet Cataloging Project, are to be commended for their successful application of standard and enhanced cataloging methods to the bibliographical control of selected Internet resources. Adequate bibliographical control of Internet resources, however, should not be equated with appropriate organization of Internet resources. Subsequent phases of the OCLC Internet Project should seek to better utilize the medium within which Internet resources exist to facilitate enhanced access beyond conventional cataloging approaches.
OCLC and future project participants should begin to view a catalog of Internet resources not solely as a database, but as the convergence, merger and fusion of a catalog and an associated collection, and to organize it accordingly. Tyckoson, in concluding his outstanding review article on the history and future of the catalog, offers valuable insight that is applicable to the future direction of the OCLC Internet Cataloging Project, and should be fully considered in planning future phases:
"The catalog of the future may not be merely an index to the world's collected information, but may actually provide a summary of that information for the user. A catalog that includes full-text works [emphasis added] on a variety of subjects as well as abstracts and citations to materials may serve as something more than an encyclopedia or index. Whereas the scholar of the eighteenth century used two tools to find out about his or her world, the scholar of the twenty-first century may need only one [emphasis added]." (Tyckoson, 1991: 25)
Tyckoson, David A. "The Twenty-First Century Limited: Designing Catalogs for the Next Century," Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 13, nos. 3-4 (1991): 3-27.
The OCLC database of cataloged Internet resources should not be viewed only as a flat-file database, but as a collection of resources that need to be related to one another and integrated into a framework that enhances identification, access and use beyond text-based, linear search configurations and protocols.
While NetFirst(tm) is to be commended for its use of a graphical floor plan to provide overall organization of categories of resources (Fig. O-1)
and for its categorization of resources by broad and related subject groups (Fig. O-2),
Physics and Astronomy
as with most other organized Internet collections, the resources found within each category are generally listed alphabetically. The specific conceptual relationships between resources, which we believe can facilitate individual and general resource use, are not indicated. While a listing within a broad category does offer some assistance in identifying relevant resources, such an arrangement requires a user to review an entire list to be assured that an appropriate resource has not been overlooked.
We believe that a comprehensive application of a well-established classification system such as the Library of Congress classification scheme, in a hypertext environment, offers the value-added structure, organization, dimension, context, and level of specificity and description, that can enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of users seeking to identify and use relevant and related WWW and other Internet resources.
Unlike the InterCat database and NetFirst(tm) service, CyberStacks(sm) presents users with a browsable collection of resources in general categories (Fig. O-3)
Select a General Classification Category
Browse TITLE Listing
Search CROSS-CLASSIFICATION Index
Browse COMBINED CLASSIFICATION Index
and specific (Fig. O-4) subject areas.
Q-Science R-Medicine S-Agriculture T-Technology U-Military V-Naval
Within CyberStacks(sm), we have applied the Library of Congress classification scheme at a deep level of specificity and description, enabling users to browse through a virtual library with resources organized by their respective assigned classification numbers.
While NetFirst(tm) has adapted hypertext to facilitate enhanced access to more text, CyberStacks(sm) has adopted hypertext and the browser medium to create context and structure to provide associated meaning. We believe that an organized structured classification system, such as the Library of Congress classification scheme, offers users a framework that can facilitate efficient and effective identification, access and use of selected Internet resources.