Saturday, March 22. 2014
Yesterday at the 2014 Evergreen International Conference I presented Structured library data: holdings, libraries, and beyond--a talk about the work I've done specifically with Evergreen and making some of the connections with Koha and VuFind's capabilities. Lots of attendees seemed happy with the talk and the direction that we're going with Evergreen, and have hope for the future relevance of our libraries' resources within normal search engines, as well as all of the possibilities opened up by exposing this open data about our libraries (locations, hours, branch relationships, contact informatoin) and their resources in a much more consumable form.
There was so much energy in the room, I could have talked for another hour... I love the Evergreen community!
Friday, February 21. 2014
Over at the Metadata Matters blog, Diane Hillman wrote Why Are We Waiting for the ILS to Change?, asking (in the context of the difficulties libraries experience in making their systems work with RDA):
What I saw underlying that conversation was the assumption that the only way change could happen was if the ILS’s themselves changed; in other words if the ILS vendors decided to lead rather than follow. The situation now is that system vendors say they’ll build RDA compliant systems when their customers ask for them, and libraries say that they’ll use ‘real’ RDA when there are systems that can support it. This is a dance of death, and nobody wins.
I took this as a jumping-off point to discuss the state of linked data support in library systems and discovery software and posted the following comment (currently awaiting moderation):
Who's waiting? Sweden's LIBRIS took essentially the approach you suggested back in 2007, and Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Deutsche Nationalbibliothek have also followed similar paths.
Jumping from RDA to linked data might be a bit of a stretch, but the lack of movement by proprietary vendors in particular hit a sore point that I developed during some of our early W3 Schema.org Bibliographic Extension Community Group discussions. I had asked if anyone else was trying to actually implement what we were discussing. A response from one of the proprietary software representatives was "No, we're waiting to see what develops..." -- which is exactly the attitude that leads to the "dance of death" that Diane described. It can also lead to decisions that are suboptimal, ambiguous, or unimplementable because nobody actually tried to put theory into practice.
Thankfully, a small investment of effort into modifying open source systems to serve as reference implementations can provide a significant amount of insight into flaws or possibilities with otherwise theoretical directions, as well as delivering practical benefits to everyone who uses that software if those modifications are accepted by the parent projects. Here's hoping that the more agile options like Koha, Evergreen, VuFind, and Blacklight continue to push the evolution of their proprietary competitors.
Monday, February 3. 2014
Back in August, I mentioned that I taught Evergreen, Koha, and VuFind how to express library holdings in schema.org via the
The language for some of the terminology may seem a little overly commercial right now, but the next iteration of the schema.org standard will adopt language that more broadly supports non-commercial activities... and this broadening of a number of schema.org definitions is also an outcome of the Schema BibEx community efforts. I'm pretty happy with the results of the group over the last six months! Hopefully this sheds some long-overdue light on some of the results of our efforts, and helps other systems adopt our group's recommended practices for exposing metadata via schema.org.
On , I'll be participating in Laurentian University's Research Week lightning talks. Unlike most five-minute lightning talk events in which I've participated, the time limit for each talk tomorrow will be one minute. Imagine 60 different researchers getting up to summarize their research in one minute each, and you have what is likely to be a brain-melting hour. Should be fun!
Here's a rough draft of what I'm planning to say (which, when read at an even cadence with decent intonation, comes out to exactly one minute:)
What would you understand if you read the _entire_ world wide web?
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