Monthly Archives: November 2013

Food for thought on the future of cataloging

I would like to share Karen Coyle’s comment from the Bibframe list for us all to contemplate:

 … And as Shlomo [Sanders of ExLibris] has pointed out in another forum, for ILS vendors who have discovery layers, it is essential that any bibliographic space today be able to seamlessly include both library holdings as well as a variety of research materials that libraries would not normally catalog. This tells me that the goal should be compatibility with the whole bibliographic universe, and not a focus on the library catalog as we know it today.

OK, I admit to this: I feel that anything we do that replicates what we know of as “library cataloging” – from FRBR to RDA to BIBFRAME – is taking us in the wrong direction. I’d rather see us designing for general bibliographic compatibility and interoperability, and then seeing how we can continue to have (for internal purposes) a decent inventory of library holdings – which should get much less of our attention and energy because it serves our users less. Bluntly, bibliographic description as we have known it is passé. FRBR, RDA and BIBFRAME (as a new serialization for MARC) are not terribly relevant.

Digital BBC World Service radio archives

The BBC World Service Archive Prototype is a website that provides access to the huge digital archive of radio programs of the BBC World Service. Yves Raimond and Tristan Ferne describe in a concise article (PDF, 8 pages) how Semantic Web technologies, automation and crowdsourcing are used to annotate, correct and add metadata for search and navigation. Ed Summers has a blog post about this project, making a comment I wholeheartedly agree with: “… [I]t is the (implied) role of the archivist, as the professional responsible for working with developers to tune these algorithms, evaluating/gauging user contributions, and helping describe the content themselves that excites me the most about this work.” I think this is not only a possible future role for archivists but also for librarians, especially catalogers and metadata specialists working with digital collections.