Ten days or so ago I took some time out to listen to a webcast by Jenn Riley, ‘RDF for Librarians’, which was well worth the effort. Jenn has been worth watching for a long time, and she’s done us all a service by putting out her slides and a bibliography as part of this effort. All these, plus a recording of the presentation, can be found at: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/education/brownbags/ [I should note here that I’ve had trouble accessing the recording, and Jenn and her IT folks are trying to figure out why, but you may not have the same difficulty I had.]
The topic Jenn chose for this presentation is one that has challenged many of us who have been trying to talk about standards developing outside of libraries, like RDF, to traditional librarians. Jenn keeps her eye on the prize throughout, building on what librarians know in order to bring them across the great divide to an understanding of RDF, without getting bogged down in the technical language of the standard itself. She manages to cover a great deal of territory in the presentation, including such difficult topics as blank nodes, graphs, literals, the differences between XML and RDF, and the differences in terminology between the library world and the RDF world. Anyone who is interested in this topic, or has attempted to teach it, should take a look at this presentation and Jenn’s slides.
I was especially appreciative of Jenn’s message about all of us being ‘part of the process’ of the library transition to these new standards—and the fact that she included our RDA work as an example. It’s sometimes difficult to feel recognized as ‘at the table’, representing the interests of libraries, while being largely ignored by the big kahunas of libraryland. Jenn reminds us that each of us a responsibility to lead, and not to wait around for the usual parties to do that for us, and she doesn’t just talk the talk, she’s walking the walk.
Thanks Jenn, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at DC-2010 and talking with you about those thorny issues that still challenge us!