Coding for Efficiencies in Cataloging and Metadata

Practical Applications of XML, XSLT, XQuery, and PyMarc for Library Data

a 2015 ALCTS Preconference

Thursday, June 25, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  |  event code: ALC2  |  Register

This full-day workshop provides concrete examples and hands-on exercises for practical applications of coding with library data. Session topics include XML and XSLT for streamlining and scaling up metadata and cataloging workflows; RDF/XML for serializing MODS-RDF and BIBFRAME; XQuery for extracting, manipulating, and constructing library metadata; and PyMARC for accessing and manipulating MARC records. Attendees are encouraged to bring a computer with XML-aware and Python software as well as questions for group discussion.

At the end of this preconference, participants will have a general understanding of XML, RDF/XML, XSLT, XQuery, Python, and PyMARC, hands-on experience coding with these languages, and practical examples of these technologies that can be adapted for their home libraries.

Speakers include:

  • Timothy W. Cole, Mathematics and Digital Content Access Librarian, University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
  • Myung-Ja (“MJ”) Han, Metadata Librarian, University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
  • Heidi Frank, Electronic Resources & Special Formats Cataloging Librarian, New York University
  • Christine Schwartz, Metadata Librarian and XML Database Administrator, Princeton Theological Seminary Library             

Target Audience

The key audience for this preconference is cataloging and metadata librarians or paraprofessionals and information science students having some familiarity with metadata creation and/or descriptive cataloging practices, and at least one or two formats such as MARC, Dublin Core, MODS, METS, RDF. This preconference may also be useful for digital scholarship librarians and library technology staff. Sessions are oriented towards those who have some familiarity with the technologies covered, however it is not required.

Important Message to Attendees

To get the most out of the presenters' illustrations, examples, and hands-on exercises we recommend participants pre-install XML-aware, Python, and MarcEdit software on their computers prior to arrival. Current versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera are able to display XML files and will largely suffice for the first session, but in order to follow-along with the later examples and hands-on exercises participants will need to be able to do more than just view XML. We recommend installing fully-featured XML editing tools such as oXygen XML Editor (Syncro Soft), XML Spy XML Editor (Altova), Stylus Studio XML Editor or XML-compatible text editors such as Brackets, Notepad++ for Windows, and GNU Emacs as well as MarcEdit and the Python 3.4.1 shell. Instructions on installing these programs will be given to registrants prior to the preconference.


Register through the ALA Annual Conference web site.  Add this preconference to your conference registration or register for this preconference alone. 

The price of this full-day preconference is:

  • $219 for ALCTS members (remember to use code ALCTS2015 to receive the discounted price)
  • $269 for ALA members
  • $319 for nonmembers

A continental breakfast and light refreshments during breaks will be provided.


ALCTS Technical Services Workflows Efficiency Interest Group

Cosponsors: Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. (OLAC) and LITA Program Planning Committee

Additional ALCTS Events at Annual Conference

For a listing of other conference events, visit the ALCTS conference web page.