Posting to Autocat
On 25/05/2011 18:59, MULLEN Allen wrote, quoting Karen Coyle:
> -Use data, not text. Wherever possible, the stuff of bibliographic description should be computable data, not human-interpretable text. Any part of your metadata that cannot be used in machine algorithms is of limited utility in user services.
> -Give your things identifiers, not language tags. Identification allows you to share meaning without language barriers. Anything that has been identified can be displayed in language terms to users in any language of your (or the user’s) choice.
> -Adopt mainstream metadata standards. This is not only for the data formats but also in terms of the data itself. If other metadata creators are using a particular standard language list or geographic names, use those same terms. If there are metadata elements for common things like colors or sizes or places or [whatever], use those. Work with international communities to extend metadata if necessary, but do not create library-specific versions.
I agree with this basically, although the first part: “Use data, not text. Wherever possible, the stuff of bibliographic description should be computable data, not human-interpretable text. Any part of your metadata that cannot be used in machine algorithms is of limited utility in user services.” can be taken to extremes.
This is true only in general terms. First, in a 245 field, is this data or text? I suggest that it is, and must be, text although it may be exactly the same text as another 245 field. This is because in the ISBD/AACR2 (and I guess?) RDA standard, the 245 field attempts to transcribe as exactly as possible the information on the item. It’s difficult to reconcile this with “data.” It cannot be data, but information related from (transcribed from) another source. There is other information like this as well in metadata records. Plus, there have been some incredibly great cataloger notes, especially on some horribly complicated serials that I have dealt with, where some great catalogers figured out what was going on and saved me. I was never able to figure out exactly which library/librarian was responsible for which updates in those incredible serials-related 040 fields, so I couldn’t offer my sincere thanks, but here I go to those serial
catalogers out there: THANK YOU!
Although it is true we should tend to use data, much of our information is based on the standard of transcription from individual items. I will also not agree that metadata that cannot be used in machine algorithms is of limited utility in user services (catalogers are users, too!); the text may be the most important parts of the record.