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What exactly is it that we catalogers do best? Create MARC records that no one but us ever looks at? We’re kidding ourselves if we think patrons are looking at the MARC. Most librarians (non-catalogers) that I know don’t even know how to access it. If you’re referring to the ability to organize information about an item so that it is findable in the future, then we’re only pretty good at that – not excellent. There are plenty of other people (retail stores, for instance) organizing items and information sometimes better than we are. If libraries are to continue to remain relevant, especially on the internet, then we need to be able to organize information in a way that makes sense to anyone who looks at it. And if we’re trying to make our stuff findable, then having libraries’ items come up as hits on Google sounds pretty awesome to me. Perhaps it is time to reach outside of the library community in the development of BIBFRAME.
Junior Library Guild
It would seem to me that any replacement for MARC should first address the needs of library catalogers and that consumption by outside constituencies should be secondary. I certainly don’t see these goals as mutually exclusive. But we need a platform to let our skill and expertise shine. If we are hindered by a system that compromises what we do best, because of perceived notions of what outsiders want, no one will want to come to our party.
Chief Rare Materials Catalog Librarian
Library of the Boston Athenaeum
10 1/2 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-227-0270 ext. 224
It would seem to me that for the desires expressed below to come true, communities outside of library catalogers would need to be consulted in BIBFRAME's development.
I wholeheartedly agree with Adam, and believe that if BibFrame is to even begin to replace MARC, then it MUST be consumed (and hopefully also produced) by more communities than just library cataloguers using replacement tools for the ones they already have.
In other words, if Bibframe is a language for discussion and information exchange only amongst catalogers and their professional colleagues, my objections to requiring inference evaporate. In that situation, I'm all in favor of using all technological capabilities to the fullest. If, on the other hand, Bibframe is a language for publishing bibliographic information to the wild wide Web, then Bibframe triples could be consumed by anyone and anything, and the assumption of inference (even given the points you make below) seems to me to be too much.