On the Role of WorldCat and -Please- Open Up the Discussion

Nearly a week after it was posted, I came across a posting by Karen Calhoun of OCLC summarizing her impressions of the ALCTS Forum at Midwinter. I thought I had been closely watching the dialog around the policy, so I was surprised when I came across it. That makes me want to write this open letter:

Dear OCLC,

Correction Added to Guardian Story on OCLC Record Use Policy

Last week, the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. published a story on the proposed OCLC record use policy and the controversy surrounding the proposal. As the first story on the controversy to reach the mainstream press, it spawned a flurry of discussion in the blogosphere.

Yesterday the Guardian posted an amendment to the article:

Further Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy

At ALA Midwinter, ALCTS sponsored a panel discussion about sharing library-created data inside and outside the library community, with a particular focus on cataloging data. I was honored to be ask to speak on the topic from the perspective of a consortial office. This is the second and final post in a series that represents an approximation of what I said on the panel.

The first part examined the nature of surrogate records that we create as a means to get users to content. The post looked at where we get records, how humans and machines can create them, and the rights associated with component data that makes up the records.

Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy

At ALA Midwinter, ALCTS sponsored a panel discussion about sharing library-created data inside and outside the library community, with a particular focus on cataloging data. I was honored to be ask to speak on the topic from the perspective of a consortial office. This is the first in a series of posts that represents an approximation of what I said on the panel. (Also be sure to read the summary of the session by Norman Oder in Library Journal.)

ALCTS Forum on Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data

Community-shared metadata has certainly been a hot topic of late. It is timely, then that ALCTS is sponsoring a panel discussion about sharing library-created data inside and outside the library community at the upcoming ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver. From the panel description:
Panelists will share a variety of perspectives on community norms, policies, and best practices for accessing, using, and sharing the data that supports the discovery and delivery of library collections. What can libraries and the organizations that serve them learn from the open data movement and sites like Wikipedia? What principles and practices for shared data creation and maintenance will most help and strengthen libraries in the future? Panelists will also be addressing the changes in the OCLC Record Use Policy, particularly in light of the recent announcement from OCLC on the establishment of the Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship.

The panel is called the ALCTS Forum: Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data, and it will be on January 26th from 8:00am to 10:00am at the Colorado Convention Center, Korbel Ballroom 3C. Yours truly has been asked to speak on shared catalog data from the perspective of a library membership organization (OhioLINK) that provides consortial access to a large union catalog, licensed content, dissertations, and digital media. Also on the panel are:

For the heart and soul of librarianship — human description versus fulltext analytics

A non-librarian colleague forwarded a link to an essay by Mark Pesce called The Alexandrine Dilemma. From the context of one of the comments, I think it might have been the text of a keynote given at New Librarians Symposium in Australia last month. It is a thought-provoking piece that, well, provoked some thoughts.

Would the Real “Dublin Core” Please Stand Up?

I’ve been following the discussion by Stu Weibel on his blog about the relationship between Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Dublin Core Abstract Model (DCAM), and I think I’m as confused as ever. It comes as a two part posting with comments by Andy Powell Pete Johnston (apologies, Pete), Mikael Nilsson, Jonathan Rochkind, and Ed Summers. Jonathan’s and Ed’s comments describe the same knowledge black hole that I’ve been facing as well; in Ed’s words: “The vocabulary I get–the DCAM is a tougher nut for me to crack.”

Getting On With ‘The Future of Descriptive Enrichment’

Roy Tennant is advocating the phrase “Descriptive Enrichment” over “Bibliographic Control” in response to draft report from the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, and I’m stepping up to say — I’m right there with you, Roy!1 Your analysis reminds me of statements made by David Weinberger in the Google Tech Talk in response to his book Everything is Miscellaneous. David offers new definitions to words that we use regularly: “metadata” is what we know and “data” is what we want to find out. In the talk, he gave an example (29 minutes and 25 seconds into the playback; this link will take you right there) of using something you know — like a quote from a book — to find something you don’t know — like the author — by putting the quote into a search engine. The “metadata” (the quote) was used to find the “data” (the author) that was being sought.