RE: [RDA-L] Linked data

Posting to RDA-L

Bernhard Eversberg wrote:

Where and how do you receive
ISO records from LC, as a non-librarian?

Jim, this gets us nowhere, your preoccupation with ISO! Rest assured,
it is a non-issue for as much as our dealings with the populace are
concerned. Where it still exists, it can be nicely circumvented.

Obviously, I am not making myself clear somehow. Why I am “preoccupied” is because I have succeeded with this myself so I know how it works. First though, how do you get ISO records from LC? From inside the database: At the bottom, you’ll see “Select Download Format” where you can save as text or as an Iso2709 record. Lots of catalogs allow that and in fact, if they didn’t, non-OCLC libraries would have trouble getting records. But remember: this is to transfer a single record from one library catalog into another library catalog using supplementary methods such as MarcEdit. Libraries can do this now, but they must do much more however, and this is why XML is so important.

Let me show you how the XML can work. OCLC has created a web service for citation formats. See the sample in XML at: I have used this web service by having my catalog search for that RSS feed when someone clicks a specific record in my catalog. Then on the fly, when they look at a record such as and click “Get a citation” in the right-hand column, the web service has *already searched* Worldcat and returned the citation, my machine has reformatted it and displayed it in this way. I could display this directly without a click, but have chosen to do it this way to keep from cluttering up the display. This cannot be done with ISO2709 records.

This is not all that special and anybody in the world who knows how can do the same thing right now. This is how mashups are created: by automatically searching different sites in the background and bringing in information into a page that is reformatted in various ways. The tool to do this is XML. Amazon does exactly the same thing with its reviews and ratings, Librarything does the same thing. Blackwell does something similar.

Mashups are one of the main ways people are personalizing the web. To do it you must use XML. It is my opinion that libraries and their records must enter that kind of mashup world, and the sooner the better.

So, what I am saying is *if* the web service from OCLC were not just citations in XML, but the entire MARC record in XML, then right now–today–I, myself, could create something with it that I cannot make now using the power of the headings (if not more). I have no doubt that I could create something of great use to my patrons. If queries could return multiple records somehow, while I can’t imagine anything precisely at this point, I am sure something great could be built.

Even more important: *anyone else in the world* could do the same thing, just as all kinds of developers are doing now with the citations or from Amazon, from Librarything, or even most open archives allow this sort of power. This is what it would mean to enter that universe.

I have worked with XML rather extensively, so I have seen what it can do. Browsers work with XML, not with ISO2709. If browsers could work with ISO2709, then that format would probably be fine. But I cannot believe anybody would make an ISO2709 parser as part of the browsers because that format is obsolete. This is why switching from ISO2709 is so important: it will be the first step into the greater world where *others* can begin to work with our data.

Librarians can work with our data now, and if that were all that mattered, there would be little reason to change much at all. We need to stop thinking in terms of: here is a record I want, how do I get that record into my catalog? There are well-established methods of doing that, and we must deal with new demands.

Is this really so difficult? I must not be explaining it right. It is crystal-clear to me.



One Comment

  1. Anonymous said:

    This post provides a good explanation … Keep trying James! This is an important point if library data is to be shared/linked into the WWW in a &quot;real time&quot; way. There are of course many other issues, but the standards/formats we use today must change, and its not a bad thing to contemplate and advocate for. There have to be some people with more technical skills that establish the

    January 19, 2011

Comments are closed.