BIBFRAME Linked data

On 4/3/2015 1:34 PM, ajs6f@virginia.edu wrote:
>> All very nicely done, but as we see, it can be done (is done) with MARCXML and is an example of something that is too difficult for a non-librarian developer to do. After Bibframe, it will be easier for others to take it, if they want it. While I see nothing wrong with this and am all for it, it is also something that libraries could have been working with for a long time, since the beginning of MARCXML. You don’t have to have RDF if you know the schema. This illustrates my point.
> It does nothing of the kind. What it illustrates is that as long as Linked Data is limited by construction to what is available in MARC, as you did in your example, it will provide no information that was not originally found in MARC. That is a triviality. >
> If a Linked Data exposition of bibliography is limited to data that is found in MARC, there will have been little point in producing it. Luckily for our patrons, that will not be anything like the case.

It is difficult to discuss all things in a single posting. In my previous post (which was long enough), I did not discuss Linked Data, only MARCXML and Bibframe. Perhaps I should have changed the subject line. Mea culpa. But this is about linked data.

Of course, if linked data is to work, it needs links. To my knowledge,
there has never been a place in the MARC format for such links (although I may be wrong. If I am right though, it is yet another reason to abandon the convention of “roundtrippability”). Since there is no place where the links can be input, there can be nothing to extract. If those links did exist in our catalogs, they could be extracted, just like any other bit of information.

Since the links do not currently exist, they will have to be added in some way. This can be done either manually (an appalling idea) or they must be generated in some way, similar to the example in my previous
post about the generation of the text “parallel” for type of title. That will be a major project, but after the links are there, things can at least begin to happen.

That still doesn’t end it however–as I wrote in the very first post,
there is a rather important question of what do we link *to*? id.loc.gov and VIAF are not very exciting for the public. (And I’ll confess it: they aren’t very exciting for me either!) I believe I have seen at least some records in VIAF that have links to dbpedia so something more might be built through that, but obviously, that will demand a lot of time, thought and development.

All of this also assumes the existence of lots of money–something that most libraries do not have a lot of lying around at the moment. There are huge problems that need to be resolved.

But that does not mean that we shouldn’t begin, because we should begin. Better late than never.

To repeat once more: my initial statement was directed toward catalogers, to tell them why they should not expect anything wonderful anytime soon after Bibframe is implemented, because in itself, Bibframe does not give *libraries* (i.e. those who understand the schema) any
more possibilities than they have had for a long time. While MARCXML can be a pain to work with, it nevertheless *can* be worked with. In any case, for better or worse, it is a tool libraries have had for around 20 years. In my experience, you build the best you can using the tools that you have–not the tools you wish you had.

The way I look at it: if all you have is a horse and buggy, you should use them in the best ways possible. Maybe it’s too bad, but it makes no
sense to just wait at home and do nothing until somebody shows up with a Ferrari. You and everyone else could die waiting.

James Weinheimer weinheimer.jim.l@gmail.com
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