Thursday 1 September 2011

Where does all this library stuff come from?
using MARC and Google to visualise

This is what happens when you take a large and generally representative sample of MARC records from your library, match up all the publication location codes with the Library of Congress MARC standards code list, put the numbers into a Google Doc, and run the 'Heatmap' gadget.

There was a reason to me having done this, but that reason no longer remains relevant. It was hard graft crunching data, so it would be a shame for me not to explain what it is and share. If you hover over the countries the numbers that you are faced with can be taken as the number of items from that country. Don't get hung up on them though, it's a sample and they would be better if they were percentages.

And what do I think of it? Well, clearly the US, UK, France and Germany are where most of the material comes from. Considering the history and background of the library which this data was sourced from I am not overly surprised that stuff published in Russia stands up quite well. Is that Soviet Russia though?

In isolation I guess the conclusions and comparisons that can be made are limited. In lieu of other libraries doing roughly similar things I'll never know the distinctiveness or uniqueness of this collection. One thing is sure though, that this collection is truly global in its coverage.

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