Saturday, August 11, 2012

New interfaces (was: on cataloguers and IT people)

Posting to Autocat

On 04/08/2012 01:11, MULLEN Allen wrote:
Setting that issue (abbreviations) aside for the time being, I'd like to flesh out how I would hope libraries should be able to provide for this in the future, and an ignorant attempt at indicating how RDA/linked data would be involved.  Instead of going to Worldcat, I would hope that we'd use our local library discovery app (whether on a mobile device, computer, tablet, Google glasses, or whatever to say (or type) "I'd like information on available copies of Sir James Frazer's "The Golden Bough" and immediately, the library app would provide you results beginning with the most immediately accessible version, but also providing information on all available formats.  Then by extension, the app would provide you the capability to find related popular and scholarly articles, plays, motion pictures, biographical information, mythological source materials, web sites, etc.   In short, the library based discovery system would provide immersion in the world of web-based information on the basis of reliable, quality metadata.  The user would choose the depth - calling up an electric version of the text (or portion of the text) immediately or any other possible level of relationship with the work or with other works that are encountered in the journey.  Such a system would provide the means to limit or expand the realm of information at one's fingertips with narrow focus or with broad inclusion.  And it would do so because it integrates the power of library metadata in addition to web tools that complement.

Like magic!...well, not exactly.  We (libraries) could provide this if there was a means to utilize the power of library-derived metadata and the knowledge of library catalogers and technology librarians to link those resources intelligently and integrate them into local library user experiences.  RDA, along with the carrier code in development, proposes to lay the foundations for this.  Although I believe the WEMI model is more complicated than necessary (but acknowledge my ignorance in this), it provides the conceptual model for linking all of these various manifestations (well, expressions and manifestations and items) together to form a foundation for putting together the magical results via entity relationships and providing the conceptual means for displaying the results, faceted and otherwise.  Linked data (RDA vocabularies, URIs, etc.) would provide the toolkit to identify all entities in common as well as relationships among them.  The new carrier code would provide the means to provide interactivity for both library-based and non-library based resources.  </snip>
What can I say? I agree with 98% of this, my only qualm is that I believe the WEMI structure is unnecessary. (Once again, I emphasize that if people want to FISO WEMI by their ATS, you do not need a new record structure, just a new computer system that allows facets. And those can be downloaded for free! How many people really and truly want to do those FRBR user tasks remains unknown) Also, I am not sure if the actual "linked data" universe is necessary for what you envision, since semantic technologies are growing so quickly and becoming very powerful, but that is another issue.

But there is so much available for free on the web today and librarians should not be ignoring. There are videos on almost all subjects, so when I search for "golden bough frazer" in Google Video, my second result is a 6 minute video "A brief film explaining how Frazer indexed books in preparation for writing his anthropological work 'The Golden Bough'." which is something that would never have entered my mind, but I want to watch it because of my interest in indexing, not because of the Golden Bough.

There are additional possibilities. For instance, in another thread, someone mentioned "Lured" with Lucille Ball and said that they Netflixed it (which does not exist in Italy). Yet, there is no need for that. It is apparently a public domain movie and is available Another movie that I suggest to everyone, which shows a stereotypical and idealized conception of librarians that many members of the public more or less still hold, is the classic movie "Desk Set" with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. More important is the obsolete way of looking at computers (that is, before the first person came up with the brilliant idea of outputting the content to a TV screen, everything was always printed out), leading to hilarious situations. The ultimate concern of the librarians toward the computers does seem to be ahead of its time. It is available on YouTube in bits and pieces at, although this may not be in the public domain.

The interests of the users must come first. Make what is useful for them. Then the theories flow from that. Otherwise, it is all backwards.

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