Friday, September 11, 2009

Fwd: Re: [NGC4LIB] An article to warm the hearts of cataloguers

> On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 13:01:16 -0500, ... wrote:
> >I think: maybe OCLC shouldn't have given them everything (out of chips).
> There is a big part of me that agrees with Nathan: that this is *our* stuff
> that we shouldn't just be giving away. After all, it was made with the
> blood, sweat and tears of generations of experienced catalogers and is
> incredibly valuable. Simply giving it away seems crazy.
> I think this is the way that the music industry is looking at a similar
> situation, the book industry, the film industry, the newspaper industry, as
> well as the "scholarly-production complex." All are in a state of
> crisis. We
> have all of this "stuff" built up with such labor over such a long
> time and
> somebody ought to have to pay for it. If we just give it away, it's
> equivalent to saying that it's not worth anything at all, or if it is worth
> something, then someone else who uses it and profits from us should give us
> a piece of the action.
> But it's a new world, whether we like it or not. The music industry doesn't
> want to admit that they have lost control over all kinds of things and so
> they sue people in outrageous ways, but it doesn't stop anything at all. For
> a current example, see the Tenenbaum case:
> http://ars
> technica.c
> om/tech-po
> licy/news/2009/09/riaa-continues-to-squeeze-tenenbaum-wants-injunction.ars
> Whether we agree with the music industry or not in this case, it seems as if
> the old system can only be continued by threatening to throw people in jail
> or threatening to impoverish them. And even then it won't stop it. To me,
> the case of Tenenbaum and the consequences is precisely the same as the
> Catholic Church's attempts to control publishing through coercive methods
> and use of their "Index of Forbidden Books." The only people who were
> punished were those unfortunates who happened to be in their jurisdiction,
> and they were tortured and/or burned at the stake. But for *everyone else,*
> it was relatively free and open, like in Holland or Britain or Germany. And
> some printers used the "Index" as their guide for what to publish,
> something
> the Church thought was especially perverse. Of course, we see now that many
> of the main advances in human thought at this time came from outside Church
> lands.
> This is the situation we have now. Everyone understands that if you are on
> the web, you must be findable in Google or you will die. That's why "page
> rank" is so important and why companies pay so much to improve it. I submit
> that if we want to remain relevant, our cataloging information *must be
> used* in Google Books when the full-text becomes available. Do we really
> think that the majority of people will *not* use the Google Books interface
> but will prefer ours instead, where they will, by definition, get only a
> subset of the materials available to them. This is a moment of crisis for
> the catalog, itself. I think it must evolve into something bigger than ever
> before.
> To be honest, if Google decides to give money to OCLC or not is completely
> irrelevant to me. I'm sure my library won't see any of it, and I don't think
> any of us will profit from it personally, but it might help OCLC. Big whoop!
> But then push comes to shove, and our catalog records must be made useful in
> the Google environment -- somehow. This is something that we haven't been
> able to do ourselves in our current library catalogs where we had some kind
> of control. In that sense, Google will have complete control of it. What
> will they come up with? I don't have the slightest idea.
> Oh yeah, there's lots of other metadata in there too, like the Armenian,
> Brazilian etc. that the Google fellow discussed. Will our "better"
> metadata
> simply override theirs? When? And how will it all mash together?
> I can't escape the feeling that in a couple of hundred years when people
> look back at this time of transition, they'll find it rather amusing that we
> continue to try and try to force these new resources and methods into our
> old forms instead of focusing on how to take advantage of the new.
> A few thoughts,
> Jim Weinheimer

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