Organizing the Web: Resources for Librarians

Organizing the Web – providing users with better ways of finding Internet resources that suit their needs – is a problem of current interest to all types of libraries and information professionals. The idea of “organizing the Web” has many facets. It may involve cataloging Web sites and other Internet resources, in either traditional or non-traditional ways. It might mean improving subject access to Internet resources by applying controlled vocabularly or number classification schemes. Or, it might mean embedding Web documents with metadata elements to facilitate search and retrieval, or markup language tags to provide richer information about digitized documents. This pathfinder is intended to provide starting points for locating resources on all these topics.

This guide is not meant to be exhaustive, but to provide a jumping-off point for learning about and applying methods of organizing the Web. I’ve included some suggestions for finding print resources, links to the home pages of some existing projects in the fields of Internet cataloging and classification, and some major practical guides to different cataloging methods that can be found online. I’ve also included a few links pages that can serve as guides to locating further Internet and print resources on the subjects of Internet cataloging, classification and metadata.

Print Resources

Up-to-date print resources on Internet-related topics are hard to find since Internet issues often change and develop faster than books and articles can make it into print. Books on “libraries and the Internet” tend to give general overviews of metadata or Internet cataloging, without going into detail about specific cataloging standards and procedures.

Journal articles may provide a more timely discussion of specific issues, although the time lag between writing and publication of articles can still be a factor. The web sites listed in this pathfinder are good sources of keywords to use when searching index databases such as LISA or Library Literature. Small publications by library-related organizations, such as OCLC, are another place to look for up-to-date and detailed explanations of cataloging practice, although the most current versions of this information tend to appear online.

Here are a few starting points for seeking print resources about organizing the Web.

Library of Congress Subject Headings for searching in individual library catalogs or WorldCat:

Cataloging of computer network resources
Cataloging of computer files

Cataloging of electronic books
Computer network resources – [combined with some heading related to libraries]
Internet (Computer Network) – [combined with some heading related to libraries]

A Few Specific Print Resources:

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Chapter 9
Chapter 9 of the AACR is the basis for traditional-style cataloging of Internet resources. See OCLC’s guide to MARC cataloging of Internet resources for an interpretation of AACR specific to Internet cataloging.


Taylor, Arlene. The organization of information. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
A general text on current issues in cataloging and metadata. Includes an introduction to the different types of metadata, with examples, and some discussion of the problems of cataloging Internet resources.


Hudgins, Jean. Getting mileage out of metadata: Applications for the library. Chicago: American Library Association, 1999.
A guide to different types of metadata and their uses, published by the American Library Association.


Journal of Internet Cataloging
Quarterly journal published by Haworth Press since 1997.

Internet Resources

A wide variety of resources on “organizing the web” are available online, from practical guides to applying a specific cataloging standard to the home pages of specific projects and initiatives. The list below provides links to several well-maintained web sites of each type. See the links pages at the end of this pathfinder for links to many more web sites and online articles and reports.

Sample Projects Using Cataloging and Classification on the Internet

CORC – Cooperative Online Resource Cataloging

OCLC’s cooperative project to create and share electronic cataloging records for Web resources.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
An initiative to develop a versatile set of metadata elements to assist in describing and locating Web resources.


EAD (Encoded Archival Description)
A document metadata standard for encoding archival finding aids in online form.


Government Information Locator Service
A government documents search site. Online documents are cataloged, searched for and retrieved using a set of attributes developed by GILS.


Text Encoding Initiative
Homepage for TEI, a markup language that both sets the format and appearance of online documents and provides metadata for describing and locating information resources.


Resource Description Framework (RDF)
“The Resource Description Framework (RDF) integrates a variety of web-based metadata activities including sitemaps, content ratings, stream channel definitions, search engine data collection (web crawling), digital library collections, and distributed authoring, using XML as an interchange syntax.” This project home page offers information on the various aspects of the RDF project.


A browseable catalog of Web sites organized using Library of Congress Classification. Currently limited to certain subject areas.


A browseable and searchable Web catalog organized according to Dewey Decimal Classification.


A browseable catalog of Web sites organized using Dewey Decimal Classification.

Practical Guides to Cataloging/Applying Metadata

Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide
OCLC’s guide to creating MARC records for Internet resources, to be used in conjunction with the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules.


Using Dublin Core
A guide to applying the Dublin Core metadata elements, a set of cataloging tags that can be applied directly to HTML documents and other Internet resources.


Application Profile for the Government Information Locator Service (GILS)
A guide to online document attributes used by the Government Information Locator Service (GILS).


Dublin Core/MARC/GILS Crosswalk
Library of Congress equivalency guide for converting Dublin Core metadata to MARC tagging or GILS (Government Information Locator Service) document attributes.


Remote Access Computer File Serials
CONSER guide to cataloging electronic serials.


TEI Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange
A browseable and searchable guide to the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) metadata markup language.

Related Links Pages

Cataloguing and Indexing of Electronic Resources
A links page maintained by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). Includes links to related Web sites, online articles, IFLA conference documents, e-mail discussion groups and more.


Beyond Bookmarks: Schemes for Organizing the Web
A large collection of links, including many links to subject-specific controlled vocabularies. Also includes some links to sites in Swedish.


Candy Schwartz’s Metadata Resources
Links page maintained by a professor of library science at Simmons College. Includes sections of links devoted to various types of metadata.


Traugott Koch Home Page
Page maintained by a digital library scientist Lund University Library Netlab. Click “projects” and “publications and presentations” to see further links of interest, including links to several subject-specific links pages maintained by the author.


Google Web Directory: Metadata
Large collection of metadata-related links, arranged in a hierarchy of categories. Categories include Dublin Core, MARC, Encoded Archival Description, TEI and more.


Yahoo! Cataloging: Electronic Resources
A small collection of links from Yahoo!

This pathfinder created by Carrie Preston