Abbas, June M. wrote:
But, in light of all of these insightful discussions, is linked data even going far enough? Is it really providing users with useful representations of the objects in our collections? Is MARC + FRBR (encoded by whichever standard the community settles for) BUT released from relational database structure constraints = Enough? Are we yet capturing attributes that our users search for? that they naturally use to organize their own collections (see Flickr, YouTube, LibraryThing Common Knowledge project)? I humbly submit, NO. Throw in years of user behavior research with an emphasis on the newer research on Web 2.0 and libraries and user-centered design with these users in mind, and what do we have?
These are some excellent and forward-looking questions. I completely agree with Karen Coyle about the primary importance of linked data. For a nice overview of at least a lot of my own views, you can see the blog posting of a long thread at NGC4LIB at http://celeripedean.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/ngc4lib-on-tim-berners-lee-and-the-semantic-web/, but it is more important for everyone to watch the interview with Tim Berners-Lee at http://fora.tv/2009/10/08/Next_Decade_Technologies_Changing_the_World-Tim-Berners-Lee, which I found inspiring and demonstrates some of the areas where I believe we could participate as very important players. For some other, very good ideas, see Eric Morgan's post on NGC4LIB at https://listserv.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=NGC4LIB;mvatdw;20100831080151-0400 and the thread (which does get technical in some places).
It is my own opinion that whatever we produce cannot ever be "Enough" for what people want and need from information. (Thanks for putting it that way, June!) Those ways of thinking about the catalog are over, and I think, forever. While this may be sad and regrettable, I think it is part of growing up and it is just as well if those ideas are buried.
Once that is accepted, then we can figure out the best ways of fitting into the new structures, and provide the very best that we can, and then link into the best of the other "things" that others out there are producing, and will continue to produce; then the synergisms produced *cooperatively* can be something completely and totally new. When the idea of linked data is really understood, you realize that the sky really is the limit, and while some things produced may not be so positive in some people's opinion, other things will pop up that will be beyond anything we can imagine right now, and can quite literally blow everyone's minds, as Berners-Lee described so well.
This is an idea of the future that I would be proud to be a part of.