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BIBFRAME  February 2016

BIBFRAME February 2016

Subject:

Re: creating/writing bibframe data [entification]

From:

Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 20 Feb 2016 09:08:16 -0500

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text/plain

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text/plain (41 lines)

On Feb 19, 2016, at 4:15 PM, Tennant,Roy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> You created a plausible outline that I'm afraid is missing a rather large and important step. For the lack of a better term I'll call it "entification," which is what we call it around here. This might encompass the creation of your own linked data entities or the use of those created by others (such as, dare I say it, OCLC). In other words, Step 5 is deceivingly simple when in fact it is devilishly complex. 
> 
> We witnessed this recently when we took a look at some BIBFRAME records produced by a large research university and they were punting on the entification. That is, by simply taking records in MARC and translating them to BIBFRAME in a one-to-one operation, you are basically left with a BIBFRAME record that really isn't linked data at all. You have assertions that are basically meaningless, as they link to nothing and nothing links to them. How many URIs do you think Washington, DC should have? I would argue one, at the very least within your own dataset, but that isn't what you end up with without taking a great deal of time and trouble to do the entification step -- whether using your own data or reconciling your data against someone else's entities, such as LCSH.
> 
> I get the sense sometimes that the library community doesn't fully grasp the nature of this transition yet, and it worries me. We need to shake off the shackles of our record-based thinking and think in terms of an interlinked Bibliographic Graph. As long as we keep talking about translating records from one format to another we simply don't understand the meaning of linked data and both the transformative potential it has for our workflows and user interfaces as well as the plain difficult and time consuming work that will be required to get us there. 
> 
> Sure, we at OCLC are a long way down a road that should do a lot to help our member libraries make the transition, but there will be plenty of work to go around. The sooner we fully grasp what that work will be, the better off we will all be in this grand transition. No, let's call it what it really is: a bibliographic revolution. Before this is over there will be broken furniture and blood on the floor. But at least we will be free of the tyrant.


Duly noted, saved for future reference, and thank you for the elaboration. Sincerely.

When it comes to “entification”, I wonder about this subprocess. Can an additional algorithm be outlined? Assuming the traditional integrated library system will NOT be used as the ultimate storage/editing system but rather a triple-store, then maybe we:

  1. Dump MARC records.

  2. Transform MARC into BIBFRAME.

  3. Pour the result into a triple-store.

  4. Sort the triples according to the frequency of
     literal values.

  5. Find/replace the most frequently found literals with
     URIs.

  6. Go to Step #4 until tired.

  7. Use the triple-store to create & maintain ongoing
     bibliographic description.

  8. Facilitate discovery through the triple-store.

  9. Go to Step #4.

After a while, such a system may free a library from the “tyrant”, but it may present the library with a different set of problems. On one hand, the use of RDF as the root of a discovery system almost literally facilitates a “Web of knowledge”. But on the other hand, to what degree can it be used to do (more mundane) tasks such as circulation and acquisitions? One of the original purposes of bibliographic description was to create a catalog — an inventory list — of the things a library owns. Acquisitions adds to the list, and circulation modifies the list. To what degree can the triple store be used to facilitate these functions? If there answer is “None”, then there will need to be some sort of outside application interfacing with the triple store. If the answer is “A lot”, then I suspect the triple store will need to include an ontology besides BIBFRAME. Maybe I need to look at the BIBFRAME ontology more closely? Maybe the definition of “bibliographic description” needs to evolve? 

—
Eric Lease Morgan

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