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ROADS Cataloguing Guidelines


ROADS Cataloguing Guidelines are in the process of being formulated for comment and revision. This page will provide a focus for this process and the agreed guidelines will be published here.

The current (revised) DRAFT (v. 1.0 - July 1998) is available at: <URL:>.

The original DRAFT version (v. 0.1 - January 1998) is available at: <URL:>.


ROADS is typically used for the production of services which identify, evaluate, describe and give access to Internet resources for particular subject domains or geographical areas. The resource description (or metadata) format used are ROADS templates, a development of Internet Anonymous FTP Archive (IAFA) templates. ROADS templates are defined for different resource-types, e.g. for DOCUMENT, SERVICE or PROJECT. These templates consist of simple attribute-value pairs.

Attributes (or data-elements) used in ROADS services are listed and (briefly) defined in the ROADS Template Registry <URL:>. The existence of this registry should mean that there will be no unnecessary proliferation of service-specific resource-types or attributes, thus helping ensure the on-going interoperability between different ROADS services.

The development of ROADS cataloguing guidelines is also connected to interoperability issues, and this relates to two specific areas:

Cross-searching ROADS databases. ROADS use of the WHOIS++ protocol means that (from Version 2 onwards) there will be possible to simultaneously search across more than one server. For example, a search could be made of both the Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) and the Organising Networked Medical Information (OMNI) servers for the term "alcohol". Some experiments with ROADS cross-searching (or Cross-ROADS) are available at: <URL:>. Adequate cross-searching between services will depend upon some common cataloguing standards, both with relation to HOW data elements are described and WHICH particular data elements are used. Cataloguing rules (or guidelines) can contribute to this process.

Semantic interoperability with other metadata formats. The ROADS project is aware that it exists in an increasingly diverse metadata landscape. Different metadata formats are used (and will be used) for different resource types or subject domains. For example: the MARC family of formats are likely to continue to be important sources of metadata in library catalogues for many years to come. Although there may be some agreement on what constitutes 'core' resource-discovery metadata - the Dublin Core metadata element set fulfils this purpose admirably - it is likely that an increasing number of different metadata formats will co-exist into the foreseeable future. It will become important to facilitate semantic interoperability between these different formats. The production of mappings (or crosswalks) will have an important role in ensuring some level of interoperability between different metadata formats but the development of generic cataloguing standards will also be important. For example, preserving consistency with existing (library-based) resource-description standards like the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) or the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) may be one way of ensuring some form of interoperability with metadata in library catalogues.

Some resources

There are a number of publications which describe or discuss the cataloguing of electronic resources:

  • Melissa Beck, et al., CONSER Cataloging Manual: Module 31: Remote access computer file serials, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Last updated: 31-Oct-1997.
  • Martin Dillon and Erik Jul, "Cataloging Internet resources: the convergence of libraries and Internet resources," Cataloguing & Classification Quarterly, 22 (3/4), 1996, pp. 197-238.
  • David M. Levy, "Cataloguing in the digital order," paper presented at: Digital Libraries '95: The Second Annual Conference on the Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, June 11-13, 1995, Austin, Texas.
  • Library of Congress, Cataloging Policy and Support Office Draft interim guidelines for cataloging electronic resources. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, December 1997.
  • Nancy B. Olson, ed., Cataloguing Internet resources: a manual and practical guide. 2nd ed. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 1997.
  • Proceedings of the OCLC Internet Cataloguing Colloquium, San Antonio, Texas, Jan 19, 1996. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 1996.
  • Vianne T. Sha, "Cataloguing Internet resources: the library approach," The Electronic Library, 13 (5), October 1995, pp. 467-476.

Other references and links can be found on the IFLA Web page: Cataloguing and Indexing of Electronic Resources <URL:>.

This page maintained by Michael Day of the Metadata Group at UKOLN, University of Bath
Last Updated: 07-Jan-1998.

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