First there was Henry Ford, and then there were the Dodge Brothers - and
how they manufactured automobiles has everything to do with this thread.A
quick skim of Simpn Headıs ³The New Ruthless Economy*² will point out that
the initial stages of mass production were characterized by assembly lines
designed to create specific products. Ford perfected this strategy,
thinking that variety of product lines was not required.
This is the mode of production that library luminaries admired and
adopted, because thatıs what was available - efficient generation of a
It was only when the Dodge Brothers (using money they got for suing Henry
Ford) started General Motors that the idea of *deliberately* varying model
output in an assembly line architecture took root. Their solution was to
design a common underlying production substrate into which manufacturing
elements designed to produce new models could be plugged. Mass product of
products that could be varied periodically.
Libraries did not adopt this method (whether they knew about the
distinction or not). They did not have a physical infrastructure that
could support that kind of resource description strategy. We are only
reaching that point (as a promissory note), with W3C techıs RDF playing
the underlying infrastructure role. But whereıs the
theory/experiment/design mechanism that would provide guidance for
evolutionary/revolutionary changes in IT system design?
I think that the 19th-century industrialization of the library squeezed
out most of what could have become a theory/experiment/design
mechanism in the search for Ford-like mass production perfection.
Competitors mostly wanted to swap out the main classification scheme for
their preferred one, but rearchitecting the bibliographic description &
access substructure was out of reach.
But today is different.
Goodreads, BIBFRAME you name it are all part of an unrecognized,
W3C-implemented, General Motors-like strategy for building variant
resource description schemes on a common substrate. Lots of resource
description schemes out there now. The important question for me is
whether the W3C XML/RDF substrate has sufficient capability to enable
resource description structures that genuinely improve on existing ones.
Sperberg & McQueen warned about XML's limitations in representing
nonhierarchical structures. Its not clear to me that RDF addressed all of
Ronald J, Murray
Digital Conversion Specialist
Preservation Reformatting Division
Library of Congress
Washington DC 20540
email: [log in to unmask]
phone: (202) 707-9610
On 3/29/15, 1:32 PM, "James Weinheimer" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>On 3/27/2015 5:46 PM, Kelley McGrath wrote:
> > I strongly disagree with the statement that someone who understands
>MARCXML can do whatever they want with the data. I think I have a pretty
>good grasp of MARC and I have spent countless frustrating hours trying
>to get information out of MARC records (and not always succeeding).
> > Granted, I'm not a developer, but I've worked with people who are
>good developers so I don't think that's the bottleneck.
> > That said, I'm not sure that Bibframe is going to fix my problems.
>[sorry, my cat walked on my keyboard and sent the message too soon!]
>MARCXML is not particularly friendly to extracting some of the
>information, but it can be done nevertheless. Certainly it can be made
>easier but that doesn't mean that it can't be done. A lot of that
>information is buried in the fixed fields which are crazy, but much of
>that information is less important for the public. Besides, relatively
>few need the width of the tape is 1/4 in. (which equals value "m" in
>007/07 when 007/00 is "s"). Such information can still be extracted.
>There has been ample time (20 years or so?), plus there used to be
>money, but there is much less now.
>In conjunction with the basic statement that libraries could have
>created lots of things and they haven't. Look at the other sites on the
>web, for instance, Goodreads really should have been made by libraries.
>We aleady have all the information. That was a missed opportunity.
>The problems have not been format. Obviously, the problems are elsewhere.
>James Weinheimer [log in to unmask]
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>[delay +30 days]