BIBFRAME Linked data

On 4/3/2015 7:51 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
> To continue the analogue, it makes sense for people who want the Ferrari > to not obstruct the engineers and designers working on it because they > like their friendly veterinarian or the current slow pace of horse drawn > transportation. There’ll be plenty of mechanics needed in the future, > and Ferrari drivers need different skill sets to buggy drivers, but both > need to understand the rules of the road.
> So … please lets focus on constructive suggestions for how to improve > the current Model T version of the ontology we have now, towards that > much sleeker and better performing Ferrari 🙂

I pretty much agree with this statement. I just don’t see any obstructions coming from anywhere. Catalogers aren’t trying to stop anything–most are too concerned with questions of various kinds of survival. Certainly I am not trying to obstruct; I am just trying to provide other librarians with a more realistic view of what the future holds, instead of the vague promises of some radiant future that we often read and hear about.

The information world will not stand still and wait while we build our wonderful tool. Non-librarians have been creating all kinds of cool things for a long time and will continue to do so. And they do it with no better information, or worse information, than what we have.

By the time we build and test and unveil this wonderful new tool based on RDF and linked data (which will take lots of time and money to develop, and then much, much more money to actually implement with changed systems and so on), that wonderful new tool may very possibly be considered obsolete, just as if someone who has been working very hard for the past 30 years, would say “Today I am announcing that I have made the *very, very best* typewriter that has ever existed!” Nobody wants typewriters any more–or at least such a tiny percentage as to be insignificant. The world has moved on and will continue to move on.

That is why I am saying that while it is OK to develop this RDF/linked data tool, which we must admit, may or may not turn out to be so wonderful, it is even more important to build something the public may actually want *today* (or at least as soon as possible), so that we can get some kind of following, generate some popular support (read: more money), learn from mistakes, find out what the public really likes and dislikes, and go on to improve it. The RDF and linked data stuff may be of substantial help, or not.

That is how development happens, after all; it is not everyone following lockstep toward some semi-shared, vague, promised, wonderful world that we are supposed to believe will exist “sometime in the future”, ignoring all immediate concerns. We can point to too many examples where this led to different types of disasters.

Development means above all building something and trying it out with the primary goal of learning what you have done right and what you have done wrong, changing, and yes, sometimes even admitting that the idea itself may be bad. Development is determined by practical success, not by theories.

James Weinheimer
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