On Wed, 10 Aug 2005, David Lewis wrote:

> Karl,
> The data is mostly licensed from AMG, Muze and Gracenote - Apple, Microsoft,
> Yahoo, Sony, Real Networks, MusicMatch, Dell and Wal-Mart combine a cocktail
> of all three services, and a few use a small in-house staff to address
> individual issues as well. It took AMG fifteen years to amass the data we
> now have, which amounts to about 500,000 pop CDs, 128,000 classical ones and
> more than 50,000 DVDs.

Do you have any estimates as to the number of person hours needed to
accomplish this?

> > besides the fact that I would guess the various labels are supplying their
> own information,
> NOT! They should, to all reputable services, to insure their own survival at
> the very least. But they don't, and you have no idea how hard it is to get
> some of them even to consider it. A few have wised up by now, and it has
> helped them, I believe, to gain a slight advantage over others who don't.

As I try to watch the way in which my label is represented at amazon and
other vendors? I would be happy to provide all required information at the
time of pressing.

> I can't speak for Gracenote or Muze, but the AMG Free website is used as an
> authority by libraries and music stores, particularly for birth/death dates,
> issue numbers and that kind of data.

To which I will add that I frequently encounter authority records, both
name and subject which cite AMG.

The reason that commercial databases
> "(are) not subject to authority control" is that there is no dialogue
> between the commercial databases and the libraries. OCLC is prohibited by
> their own guidelines from opening up such an avenue. But their database was
> designed to catalogue books, not recordings. On the other hand, from a
> proprietary standpoint an open structure like OCLC presents an immense
> problem for a commercial data enterprise, which doesn't want it's product
> all over the web without certain tagging and protections.

While Google may be considered more of a search engine versus a database,
it seems that OCLC is exploring partnerships as in the Google Scholar

As I am sensing from what you are writing, a world I know little about, it
would seem that information provided by producers to a "free" database
would threaten the commercial data enterprises?

If so, would that then preclude it from happening?

> > However, I would assume people are able to find what they want.
> If it's Britney Spears, yes, but if it's an analog recording of Lynn Harrell
> playing a cello concerto only issued on LP, then probably not. If it's a
> tune that Frank Sinatra recorded with Tommy Dorsey in 1940, then they might
> have the problem of too many choices.

Searching in world cat...OCLC mixed keywords dorsey and sinatra and form
sound recording brings up 537 hits, searching in OCLC connection, personal
name Sinatra personal name dorsey brings up 243 entries. Our local online
system mixed keywords dorsey and sinatra brings up 44 entries.

So, if I am understanding things...

We have the non-profit sector with many catalogers
world-wide, doing original cataloging of recordings, both old and new,
with a 40 year old system that talks only to itself, but can be
accessed for a fee (since the system needs to be self-sustaining it is a
shared cost)... and that those working in the system  will often
rely on for-profit information for authority control.

Then there is the for-profit sector using their own proprietary systems
creating "cataloging" information to support the needs of their
clients...not just sales of goods but things like radio station catalogs
which include timings, etc. They work with only items available for sale.

And we have the producers who cringe we see our work misrepresented in
data files in both the for-profit and-non profit sectors.

With all of this we have probably a relatively low error rate in all of
the data, but a substantial backlog?

While the methodology and end goals of both sectors differ, there would
seem to be plenty of duplication of effort.

Please tell me the flaws in my thinking...but might it not be worth
exploring having the non-profits write specifications for cataloging
and pay the for-profits to do it?

As I was typing this I recalled some old library supply catalogs where the
vendors would not only sell you the phonograph record, but also a set of
cards for your catalog.