This week we got the long-awaited report from the group testing RDA to see if its use would be approved for the major U.S. national libraries. And the answer? An unsatisfying, if predictable, maybe-but-not-yet. This week also brought new examples of the tensions between authors and publishers and libraries. The first example is an author’s story of an attempt to navigate an author’s rights agreement and coming to an insurmountable barrier. The second example tries to look in to the future of teaching and learning in a world where fair use has been dramatically scaled back from the existing status quo, and it is a frightening one.
It has been another busy week, and unfortunately Thursday has slipped into Friday. There have been a few updates to earlier Thursday Threads items, so I’m turning this into “Friday Followups” instead. We’ll attempt to get back new items next Thursday, but in the meantime take a look at these updates.
The highlights of the past week are around publishing — first with a model proposed by Eric Hellman in which consumers can pool enough money to pay publishers to “set a book free” under a Creative Commons license, then with an announcement by the University of Pittsburgh offering free hosting of open access e-journals. Since we have to be able to describe and find this content, their bibliographic descriptions are important; John Wilkin proposes a model for open access to elements of bibliographic descriptions. Rounding out this week’s topics are a report of a master’s degree program in business using Facebook, and tips for planning an unconference meeting.
In preparation for the last webinar of the three-part series “Using RDA: Moving into the Metadata Future“, I’m reading again Karen Coyle‘s “Library Data in a Modern Context” — the first chapter of Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata. Right at the start she has a clear and useful definition of this thing we call “metadata.”
This week is a mostly Google edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads. Below is a high-level overview of Google’s Book Search algorithm, how Google is helping web servers improve the speed at which content loads, and how Google’s internet traffic is growing as a percentage of all internet traffic. But first, there is an uprising on the RDA test records in the WorldCat database.
This week I sat in on the first of the three “Using RDA: Moving into the Metadata Future” webinars being hosted by ALA. This one was hosted by Karen Coyle with the title New Models of Metadata where she talked about library-specific efforts such asRDA and FRBR as well as the linked data effort in the wider world of information. There was a great deal of concern expressed in the chat window by participants about the future of cataloging, of cataloguers, and of MARC. The latter brought up memories of Roy Tennant‘s “MARC Must Die” declaration. My take away, though, isn’t that MARC is dead as much as MARC is a dead end.
At the ALA Annual Conference exhibit floor I got my first chance to see the RDA Toolkit. RDA is “Resource Description and Access” — the new standard for bibliographic description of content. So this was the first time I really got to look at the RDA Toolkit. (By the way, you can look at it, too, during an open trial access period that runs through the end of August by signing up for it.) What really struck in me the demonstration, though, was that the site is as much a subscription to access the content of the RDA standard as it is a subscription to a delivery service with functions and features that go beyond the text of the standard itself. The text of the standard will be available in printed form, but one cannot get an electronic copy of the standard itself. This strikes me as sort of weird, so this blog post talks through that weirdness feeling.