We can't claim to know what people want in the future with certainty. 


Maybe we should be pushing to be able to afford doing something well for the
sake of future researchers. The 80s, 90s and 2000s saw increasing austerity
of funding so we became used to providing less work on more records because
staff numbers have been shrinking. It's what short-staffed organizations do
to avoid backlogs, thinking something is better than nothing. Backlogs had a
way of forming anyway because it is hard to refrain from doing things well.
Quality is a luxury now. 


If we are putting this much effort into a new framework, shouldn't we be
able to do it well?


Cindy Wolff



From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Roy Tennant
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 3:44 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Thoughts on provenance


Diane asks the question "We want to do this well, don't we?" My reply would
be we should want to do it as well as is required to support real end-user
needs that are important to support. This is because we will clearly lack
the level of resourcing we enjoyed for much of the 80s and 90s, and even
into the 2000s. We must choose well where to put our resources or we will
regret it. Lacking any context, any cataloger will want to describe a
resource to within an inch of its life. But that isn't what we can afford to

So I'm suggesting we need to provide the end-user use cases where knowing
"where it came from, when it was last updated, how it was created (human or
machine?)" is important and then we can go from there. This can be something
along the lines of "without that information I can't provide the user with a
display from which they can make intelligent decisions about the resource
because of X and Y". But there must be something to justify all the work
besides our deep-seated (and laudible) desire to do things "well".

On 1/11/12 1/11/12 . 12:18 PM, "Diane Hillmann" <[log in to unmask]>


I've sure been there, too, wishing there were good ways to figure out who
did what in a MARC record!

I certainly disagree with Roy very strongly--provenance is one of the things
we're really REALLY going to need as we move to an environment where we'll
be managing data at the statement level collected from many places. This was
the sort of thing I learned to do when I was working in the NSDL project,
and for this librarian, it was a complete different way of looking at data
aggregation (but pretty nifty, too). 

What I learned from that experience is that, when you're going to be doing
something with this data (not just displaying it to people looking at
catalogs), you need to know where it came from, when it was last updated,
how it was created (human or machine?), etc. Management of data at the
statement level (which for those of you attending ALA Midwinter, I'll be
talking about at the Cataloging Norms IG, at 10:30-noon on Saturday) isn't
rocket science, but it is quite different from the closed world of library
data, and definitely requires provenance information to do well.

We want to do this well, don't we?


On Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM, Kevin M Randall <[log in to unmask]>

Roy Tennant wrote:

> In all of my 37 years working in libraries I've never
> encountered a situation where it was necessary to know where the title
> came from to do useful work with bibliographic data. In what situations is
> necessary, and why?

Okay, it looks like we've got two different meanings of "provenance" going
on in this thread.  I think Kelley McGrath started out talking about
"provenance" meaning WHO CREATED the metadata.  Because some of the message
talked about sources of data on the resource, this got morphed into a

That being said, I think that *both* things are useful.  I would consider
myself quite blessed if I were able to say that I've never needed to have
this information through my entire career.  If we're talking about creator
of the metadata, that would be very, very useful in so many situations.  In
a MARC record, when there is more than one institution identified in the 040
field, there are many times I have needed to know, for example, which
library changed to serial from active to ceased, or which library added a
note or added entry--at the very least, so I could contact that library and
determine if something I have in hand is really the same thing as what the
other cataloger saw.  And if we're talking about where on the resource the
data appears, that is also helpful, especially with resources having the
same or similar titles, and/or bearing multiple publisher/issuing body

And in regard to the idea that we should "carry forward only what can be
justified by real requirements from real users", I would certainly hope that
we keep in mind that people who create, manipulate, and manage metadata ARE
"real users"!

Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Bibliographic Services Dept.
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL  60208-2300
email: [log in to unmask]
phone: (847) 491-2939 <tel:%28847%29%20491-2939> 
fax:   (847) 491-4345 <tel:%28847%29%20491-4345>