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BIBFRAME  March 2015

BIBFRAME March 2015

Subject:

Re: Linked data

From:

Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 6 Mar 2015 07:59:06 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (163 lines)

On 3/6/15 6:42 AM, Martynas Jusevičius wrote:
> Hey everyone,
>
> as someone coming from the Semantic Web world and not from the
> libraries, I don't understand what the real (i.e. technical) problems
> are.
>
> There is MARCXML, which can be used as a transitional format and
> transformed using XSLT into RDF/XML. Once in RDF, data can be
> transformed using SPARQL CONSTRUCT. That has been discussed before.
Unfortunately, MARCXML is not transitional or transformational. It is a 
pure serialization of MARC and is not allowed to vary in any way from 
MARC in ISO 2709 format. MARC and MARCXML are kept in lock step, so none 
of the advantages of XML over the MARC format are realized.

HAD we moved to XML, leaving 2709 behind, some significant improvements 
could have been made. Alas...

>
> I want to underline one point: it is the transition to RDF that
> matters, and not to BIBFRAME or any other specific vocabulary. You
> don't have to wait for some consolidated one-size-fits-all solution,
> you can use RDF and enjoy its advantages already now, and mix
> vocabularies as you see fit. It should be an agile development, not a
> waterfall model.

Yes.

>
> It is important to choose implementation wisely and not to hard-code
> things. If you use templates, such as URI templates, transformation or
> query templates, you can easily modify those from producing your
> prototype RDF to producing RDF with some standard vocabulary terms
> once it is a recommendation, or combining both. For the most parts,
> the templates could be developed as an open-source collaborative
> effort, as I presume there are many institutions using similar flavors
> of the data.
>
> So, what are the real problems? Libraries, just get the Linked Data
> out there! :)
*sigh* Here's some of the hard reality: libraries (with perhaps a few 
exceptions) have no control over their systems, which are provided 
commercially by a small number of vendors. Libraries (with a few 
exceptions) have no IT development staff. Libraries (with very, very few 
exceptions) are sorely under-funded, with their funding dropping 
steadily while costs rise. System changes are expensive, and neither the 
vendors nor the libraries can afford to make them.

In some ways, proposing RDF is like those ill-fated UN programs that 
sent tractors to third-world farmers who had less than an acre of land, 
and no gasoline. I don't see another option, but starving isn't 
appealing either.

kc


>
>
> Martynas
>
> On Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 2:44 PM, James Weinheimer
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Ross Singer wrote:
>> <snip>
>> Counterpoint: if libraries can do "anything they want" with their data and
>> have had 40+ years to do so, why haven't they done anything new or
>> interesting with it for the past 20?
>>
>> How, with my MARC records alone, do I let people know that they might be
>> interested in "Clueless" if they're looking at "Sense and Sensibility"? How
>> do I find every Raymond Carver short story in the collection? The albums
>> that Levon Helm contributed to? How can I find every introduction by Carl
>> Sagan?  What do we have that cites them?
>>
>> How, with my MARC records alone, can I definitively limit only to ebooks?
>> What has been published in the West Midlands?
>>
>> You *could* make a 3-D day-glo print of a MARC record, I suppose - but that
>> seems like exactly the sort of tone deaf navel gazing that has rendered our
>> systems and interfaces more and more irrelevant to our users.
>> </snip>
>>
>> Why haven't libraries done anything new or interesting with our data for the
>> past 20 years? Is it because it has been *impossible* due to our formats,
>> even though we now have XML? You ask an excellent and important question
>> that I was hoping somebody would bring up. It deserves a separate
>> discussion. But first I want to emphasize: I am not saying that we need to
>> work with MARC records alone--never said that at all. What I am saying is
>> that for the library community, that is, the people who already know and
>> understand--and even control--MARC format, changing the format they already
>> control to Bibframe will not give them any new capabilities over what they
>> have been able to do with MARCXML. *Librarians* understand the MARC codes
>> and that means they can work with MARCXML to fold in their records with what
>> else exists on the Internet; they can do that now, and they've been able to
>> do it for awhile. Changing to Bibframe/RDF will not change anything for
>> librarians, but it will change matters for non-librarians who may want to
>> use our data for their purposes. Nevertheless, a *lot* of work will remain
>> to be done. It isn't like after we change to Bibframe, we can fly onto the
>> deck of the aircraft carrier festooned with banners that proclaim "Mission
>> Accomplished". It will only be the beginning of a vast amount of work and
>> expense. It seems to me to make sense to talk about that now.
>>
>> So, if we can already do anything and haven't, the obvious question is: why
>> will anything change with Bibframe/RDF? again, I stress: this concerns *the
>> library community*. Non-librarians will have new options but there will not
>> be any new capabilities for the library community. Perhaps Bibframe will be
>> a catalyst for change among librarians, providing a needed kick-in-the-pants
>> to get them to do something they haven't until now. OK, I'd go along with
>> that. But let's be fair and say that it is just as possible that it won't.
>> Going back to the reason why we haven't done anything interesting in the
>> last 20 years: maybe it's money, maybe it's imagination, maybe it's
>> proprietary catalogs, maybe it's power.... I don't know, but there may be a
>> whole host of other reasons.
>>
>> Perhaps with Bibframe the non-librarian community will come riding to the
>> rescue and they will figure out what to do. We can hope.
>>
>> I wrote that message on Autocat to combat the popular idea that the reason
>> libraries haven't done anything new or interesting is because of the
>> limitations of the format. That was true until MARCXML arrived and then it
>> became possible to do all sorts of new things. MARCXML may be nasty and
>> difficult to work with, but no matter: if somebody wants to, it *can* be
>> worked with *within the library community*. And people have worked with it,
>> such as we see in catalogs that utilize Lucene indexing (which is based on
>> MARCXML) to create the facets we see in different library catalogs. (That is
>> one thing that has been done in the last 20 years, and it is due to XML)
>>
>> I gave the example of printing day-glo colors merely to emphasize that we
>> can currently do anything we want right now, but of course, I was not
>> suggesting we should waste our time on that. I want to try to open people's
>> minds to what *can* be possible. *Anything* is a tremendous concept that is
>> difficult to grasp. Once we accept and begin to comprehend the idea that
>> "anything can be done" the question of what would be better, or worse, uses
>> of our labor and resources becomes far more complex and takes on different
>> subtleties. Those who believe that the problems we have faced are because of
>> the *format* so therefore, the solution is to get a "better format" and
>> things will then be solved, will be sadly disillusioned.
>>
>> Finally, in answer to some other posts, I repeat once again that I am FOR
>> the library community's implementation of linked data but we need to do it
>> with our eyes open. I'll copy that part of my original message:
>>
>> "I want again to emphasize that libraries should go into linked data, but
>> when we do so, there will probably be more question marks than exclamation
>> points. Just as when a couple is expecting a baby and they experience
>> pregnancy: at least when I experienced it, I imagined that the birth of my
>> son would be an end of the pregnancy. But suddenly, I had a crying baby on
>> my hands! Linked data will be similar: it will be a beginning and not an
>> end."
>>
>> James Weinheimer [log in to unmask] First Thus
>> http://blog.jweinheimer.net First Thus Facebook Page
>> https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus Cooperative Cataloging Rules
>> http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/ Cataloging Matters
>> Podcasts http://blog.jweinheimer.net/cataloging-matters-podcasts [delay +30
>> days]

-- 
Karen Coyle
[log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
m: +1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet/+1-510-984-3600

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