Sunday 26 August 2012

UDC as linked data

The Multilingual UDC Summary has been available as SKOS (XML/RDF) since November 2011. UDC Summary has over 2,500 UDC subdivisions including common auxiliaries (language, place, form, materials, properties etc.). UDC records in this selection contain notes, examples, references and are available in 48 languages. 

In addition to the static export download, the UDC SKOS export is also available for browsing via an html interface which displays each UDC class as a single page with an option for language selection. Both the linked data browsing interface and a single download are available from the UDC linked data webpage. The mapping between UDC and SKOS classes is also available from the same page.

The complete UDC are planned to be made available for machine-to-machine access on the web following the 2012 UDC update. This is planned to include not only 70,000 valid UDC numbers but also 11,000 cancelled classes - which will enable linking and redirecting of library catalogues containing deprecated notations. 

The UDC Summary is now being updated and expanded with UDC MRF 2011 data to include more records in the place auxiliaries and biology areas.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Development of the Multilingual UDC Online

The first complete UDC online schedules were published by BSI in 2000 for UDC in English (see UDC Online). In the subsequent years a number of other complete schedules appeared online in other languages: Czech, Slovenian and Slovakian and several free applications such as the Swedish and old Italian schedules that are not official UDC publications but are released to alleviate problems due to a lack of UDC schedules in these languages. To help with the teaching and training of UDC in 2009, the UDC Consortium released a free Multilingual UDC Summary, which now contains more than 2,500 subdivisions and is available in almost 50 languages and is published as linked data.

What we are able to do now?
In 2010 UDCC created a much needed database infrastructure to support an alignment and translation management tool for various language editions of the complete UDC. The UDC Consortium currently holds in its main UDC MRF mutlilingual database English, Spanish, Czech, Croatian, German and  Dutch UDC MRF data, and plans are being made for other languages to be imported. The translation of these languages has been progressing for over a year now.
The translation database service provided by the UDC Consortium means that UDC editions in preparation are being automatically aligned with every new update of the UDC and publishers have a much needed tool to manage translations online and plan the production of their editions.

The natural extension of such a service is a classification interface for end-users that would enable a straigtforward, quick and cost-efficient way of publishing online the full UDC schedules for all publishers. The UDC Consortium is currently working on developing a Multilingual UDC Online user interface to be released in 2013. The most obvious advantage for publishers is that they would avoid the costs of developing their own online products. In addition this service will  be supported by the translation tool comprising of automatic UDC alignments and translators' support which means that the editions can be made accessible to users simultaneously with the ongoing translation of newely revised areas.

Apart from functionality of UDC table browsing, searching and number-building functions already available in products such as BSI's UDC Online, the Multilingual UDC Online is envisaged to have the following features:
- provide access to cancelled UDC number records and their redirections to valid numbers
- allow adding of comments, local data and proposing search terms, mappings etc.
- have a tool to parse, validate or sort complex UDC strings that librarians would like to check
- allow launching of a UDC search against selected library catalogues or bibliographies
- have dedicated editors provide user support for particular languages

Monday 20 August 2012

UDC libraries in the world - 2012 study

In January 2012, the UDC editorial team started a study into the number of libraries using UDC as a continuation of the previous 2004-2006 survey (pubished in Journal of Documentation, 64/2, 2008) in which it was reported that the system was used in 125 countries. In subsequent years we have discovered users in countries previously assumed to have no UDC libraries. Also some countries have increased their use of UDC while others show a trend towards moving to other national or international systems. In the 2000 survey countries were presented as belonging to three user bands (see details):

In 2012 we looked into the IFLA World Report 2010 and verified and collected our own data on the total number of libraries by type in countries in which UDC is used. We recorded data for national, academic, public and school libraries and we presented  research/scientific/special libraries as a single library category type.

First statistics for Europe: no less than 144,000 UDC libraries

The first stage of the research looked into countries in which the majority of libraries are using UDC. With some help from the UDC Advisory Board members, we expanded our contacts and checked national statistics and information held by national libraries and library associations. So far we have received and checked statistics where available and the lowest and highest estmates from our contacts where statistical data was not available. Data collected for 28 European countries and 4 countries in Asia show over 144,000 libraries using UDC. The most significant numbers in our statistics come from countries in which UDC is the main classification system used in all or almost all libraries, for example Poland, Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Romania. Spain alone has over 24,000 libraries, Poland over 22,000, Hungary over 9,000, Romania over 11,000, Czechia over 9000, Bulgaria over 4,000 etc. Interestingly the statistics are significant for some countries in which UDC is used only in a certain kind of library. In Russia, for instance, the UDC is used in research (scientific), industrial and academic libraries, but there are over 5,000 libraries of this type. Often UDC libraries in such countries tend to hold large and significant collections both nationally and internationally. It should be noted that the number of libraries as a statistic on its own has to be put into context of the type of libraries and their significance. When UDC is used in, for example, public or school libraries, the number of libraries will be greater but these collections are generally smaller and less significant.

We recorded our statistics in terms of 'no less than' and 'no more than' and it is important to say that the research for Europe is yet to be completed. As more information is received, the previously collected data will be verified and cross-checked. For instance, the figure we have so far does not include UDC libraries in France, Germany, Ireland, the UK and Scandinavian countries, for which we could not find any reliable national data or recent surveys. For all such countries a further study would be required. Based on the figure above for Europe, and initial information from Africa, Asia (especially India) and South America our figures show over 150,000 libraries using UDC worldwide. Several independent regional studies are now in progress which will help provide more reliable figures for specific countries. The best way to establish the number of users is, obviously, via regional surveys that are most typically conducted by national library networks, independent researchers or through library school projects. In countries in which library schools encourage students to undertake useful studies of this type and when these studies are properly supervised and based on a sound and verifiable methodology, it is possible to collect valuable data.

We would like to invite colleagues who have done similar research or have an interest in conducting a survey of this kind to contact We can provide examples of methodologies applied elsewhere and a number of similar survey reports. Short reports on such surveys are invited for publication in our annual serial the Extension and Corrections to the UDC.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

New Extensions & Corrections 33 (2011)

The new issue of Extensions and Corrections to the UDC No. 33 (2011), contains a number of reports and articles and the substantial list of changes introduced to the UDC in 2011. Revised tables in total contain information about 2,281 new UDC classes, 741 cancelled classes with their redirection and changes of text in 964 classes.

Highlights in the revised changes:
  •  Botany class 582.4/.9 Gymnosperms - the original proposal was discussed and revised during 2011 and the new class which is now broadly aligned with the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system - APG III (2009) was introduced in the UDC MRF 2011 this spring. Read more.
  • Geological time division "61/62" which complies with the subdivision adopted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS); simple notation for months of the year replacing combinations used before (Common auxiliaries of time - Table 1g).
  • Place subdivision for Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Brazil, Sudan and South Sudan.
The UDC Master Reference File 2011 contains now over 70,000 classes.
All cancelled classes and their redirections are, as usual, published online.
See also Bibliography of UDC editions and UDC-related publications published in this issue.

The following texts from this issue are also published in the Digital Library of Information Science and Technology (DLIST) repository and are availale online:
The Extensions and Corrections to the UDC web page contains information about this and other issues.