On 1/30/2014 12:52 PM, Thomas Berger wrote:
When you prescribe rules that allow to construct headings to the necessary precision that not only any real catalog but also any hypothetic catalog including descriptions for items that don’t even exist at the moment can be arranged as a whole without any ambiguity – then identical items must fall together exactly in one spot (otherwise a future item could separate them).
I think we are substantially in agreement, but I believe that thinking in terms of “headings” may be obsolete. Instead, there needs to be a method of some sort that allows human beings to discover what has been done through purpose 1 (i.e. when the catalogers bring together identical items (with respect to one property) at the same place). In the Googles, in the Amazons, this is done by machine through advanced algorithms using massive amounts of metadata of all different types, including information about the searcher and his/her friends and so on.
And then we are supposed to just accept that their search results are close enough to our purpose 1 groups, that the human-created groups of purpose 1 are either unnecessary or impractical. Many, many very powerful people accept this now. I disagree, but to get these people even to consider an alternative will mean creating a prototype that must show proven and demonstrable usefulness.
Adding URIs is but one step. There is still the problem of creating a label that the human will understand, e.g.
http://id.loc.gov/authorities/subjects/sh95009708.html is incomprehensible to a human and it still must have something that a human can understand. For instance “Militia movements” but such a label could take many other forms. There also needs to be a way (many ways!) for people to easily find this URI/Label among the zillions that exist.
Alphabetical arrangement or asking a librarian can still be allowed but of course, can no longer be seen as ultimate or primary solutions.
Much of the problem, I think, is to work on the visualization of the search results. Our search results haven’t changed their look in substantial ways since the introduction of the card catalog. Sure, there are full displays, MARC displays, brief displays, but I have seen no real work on visualizing the search result. Aquabrowser doesn’t work for me.
Lots of attempts are being made in other fields right now (such as statistics) to visualize the data in more interesting and more compelling ways.