Prior to Midwinter I posted the list of presentations I was doing over the course of Midwinter. It seemed only fair to report on some of those sessions, and to share my slides. I thought about posting them separately, since my posts tend to balloon fairly significantly once I get writing (those of you who know me are free to point out that I talk like that, too)–but given that I’ve decided to post more often, y’all will have to live with length.
Saturday, January 25, 2014, 3:00-4:00 p.m., “A Consideration of Holdings in the World Beyond MARC” [Slides]
There were two speakers at this session, at which I spoke second. The first speaker was Rebecca Guenther, who spoke on BibFrame generally as well as the BibFrame approach to holdings. BibFrame currently has a fairly simple approach, for now limited to the simpler holdings needs for non-serials. This is the easy [easier?] part of course, and it will be interesting to see how serial holdings will be integrated with the model.
My presentation briefly surveyed other important holdings work in progress, including a project at the Deutschen National Bibliothek (DNB), the ONIX for Serials Coverage Statement, the current proposals for schema.org, to a brief report on a project my group is considering that would do for MARC Holdings (sample) what we’ve already set up for MARC Bibliographic data at marc21rdf.info.
What struck me when I was setting up the presentation was the amazing variety of work going on in this area. I really didn’t expect that, I confess. But by immersing myself in holdings as I hadn’t done for many moons, I found I was looking at an awful lot of very recent work. And it wasn’t just the diversity of approaches that surprised me, but the varied results as well. The efforts ran the gamut from very complex and comprehensive approaches (ONIX and MFHD) to much simpler approaches. The functions anticipated for each colored the diverse outcomes to a great extent. The ONIX XML schema was easily the most complex–with some ideas based on the MFHD work.
The schema.org effort is, like BibFrame, still in the process of jelling. When looking for the evidence of schema.org holdings, I found myself on a path that had already been abandoned (though it then showed no signs of abandonment). Richard Wallis pointed me at the right place, and the slides have been corrected to fix that problem.
Sunday, January 26, 2014, 8:30-10:00 a.m., “The Other Side of Linked Data: Managing Metadata Aggregation” [Slides]
This session also included two presentations, mine was first this time. My focus was that most people think Linked Open Data (LOD) is about libraries exposing their data to the world, but that’s only half of LOD. The other half is taking advantage of the data others (libraries and non-libraries) are exposing openly. The two fundamental things about the LOD world are both ideas that tend to explode minds. First is the realization that we’re not talking about highly OCLC-curated MARC records, pre-aggregated for easy ingest into traditional library systems. Instead, we are talking about management of statements (which may indeed be records as originally ingested, but to be useful in this multiple choice world must be shredded on the way in and re-aggregated on the way out.) There are many new skills we’ll have to learn (and an awful lot of assumptions that we’ll need to examine closely and maybe toss out the window). This is daunting, but hardly rocket surgery, and the sooner we get going, the better off we’ll be.
The second presentation was from a group working at the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which is confronting many of these issues. Their announcement stated:
“This talk will introduce and outline the challenges of aggregating disparate metadata flavors from the perspective of both DPLA staff and representative hubs. We will review next steps and emerging frontiers as well, including improvements to normalization at the hub level and wider adoption of controlled vocabularies and formats for geospatial metadata and usage rights statements.”
And this was exactly what they did. They provided a very juicy look at the real world that faces anyone attempting to deal with the current metadata chaos. This is definitely work to follow, because where they are now will change over time and with experience, providing the rest of us with some really useful insights. Their slides are available from the IG site.
Sunday, January 26, 2014, 10:30-11:30 a.m., “Mapmakers” [Slides]
The Mapmakers presentation was designed to highlight some research I’ve been involved in, along with my colleagues Jon Phipps and Gordon Dunsire. This topic has not received a vast following, but should as experience with new schemas and value vocabularies expands. As is usual, there was another presentation just before ours that gave an exciting view of innovative work in expanding our notion of authority, in particular gathering and managing data from a broad variety of sources. Their work is encountering very similar challenges as the DPLA, though in some ways even more challenging since they often have to develop the sources and bring them into the LOD world.
That presentation focused on work done in the ProMusicaDB project, with founder Christy Crowl and metadata librarian Kimmy Szeto sharing the podium. There was a feast of slides and stories, all of them illustrating the new ways that we’ll all be operating in the very near future. Their slides (including a demo) should be available on the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Research IG site very shortly (though not yet as of this writing).