The more access to information we have, the more we want. But in the case of Content Enrichment Services,  it is not so much that we want more text, but that we want an enriched text.

Say you are searching for a book about C.S. Lewis and have in mind a book that you remember from your grandfather’s library. You might have a picture in your mind of the cover, and an idea that it was written by a colleague of Lewis’ but you you don’t know what his name was.

In a content enriched library catalogue  you would benefit  enormously from a MARC record that included book jacket images and a biography of the author.

The ability to read the summary or Table of Contents from a book gives the researcher evaluative information that is very useful. The Table of Contents, for example, will pinpoint to the researcher whether the book will discuss a specific topic for their research project.

Annotations, inside pages and examples of illustrations will give the researcher a glimpse  into the book as a physical object.

Of course the object being catalgued is not necessarily a book;  items like CDs, record covers or sheet music would all benefit from Enriched Content Services.

With some texts or items, the writing that has been added to the original text is as important as the original item.  What about a collectible book with interesting writing in the margins?

I am also thinking about my grandmother’s recipe box, a small tarnished golden box jammed with index cards and folded recipes.

I can transcribe those recipes and put them an a database, but I will lose something  in the translation. The most popular recipes are on worn out index cards, with yellowing spots from spilled ingredients.

The folded magazine articles that high-light recipes that save on butter and sugar for war time kitchens are collectibles. But most importantly, the recipes are in my grandmothers’ hand writing.

The only way to preserve these recipes, other than holding on to that little box and passing it on to my kids, is to scan and store the information.  In that way I will  preserve an item that is a piece of history.