James Weinheimer is right that we "can do *anything* we want with the data". 

So where is the advantage of creating linked data services?

"Linked data" is not limited to schema.org (where I locate the interests of giant commercial search engines) and to web apps that can connect ebay with item availability. Linked data for catalogs means a different structure for catalog data and a whole new dimension of sharing data by the cataloger.

The sharing can be implemented on a giant global graph, which is the Web (not the Web we know today, but the Semantic Web, the vision of Tim Berners-Lee). It is not restricted to global companies. It is also up to the libraries to reclaim the Web for cultural, sustainable, public information.

A story which goes hand in hand is freeing the catalog data by using open licensing. This means, library catalog data can be shared and processed by people that libraries and vendors do not control. But it still means the items and the access to online resources are controlled by the library. In particular, requests for usage of the items are still under strict control of the library. And the library must update the item availability information in realtime to the public.

Many libraries have given all their knowledge about information technology to vendor companies. They got used to follow all the strategies of a specific vendor. They listened to stories like "you must have an OPAC", "you must have a discovery module", "you must go web-scale", "you must xyz". Now, the vendor must follow the library if the library decides to lift all the cataloging machinery to the Web. This is the end of the "local integrated library system" as we know it for over 40 years, the tight lock between a vendor-controlled local computer and a local library. It's not the end of MARC if there is no decent successor with a negligible cost of format transformation.

And this is where it all begins and the hipsters can help - in creating free, open, and cooperative catalog processing services for all of us using Semantic Web technology.


On Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 6:22 PM, J. McRee Elrod <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Forwarded by permission of James Weinheimer:

  There are some points to keep in mind when considering linked
  data/semantic web. The new formats (schema.org, Bibframe) are *not*
  there for libraries to be able to do new and wonderful things with their
  own data. Why? Because libraries already understand and control all of
  that data. Right now, so long as we have XML formats (and we have that
  now with MARCXML) we can do *anything* we want with the data. MARCXML is
  not perfect, but it is still XML and that means: librarians can search
  that data however we want, manipulate it however we want, transform it
  however we want, sort it however we want and display it however we want.
  If we want to search by the fiction code in the fixed fields and sort by
  number of pages or by 100/700$q we can. We can print out reams of entire
  records, or any bits and pieces of them we could want, collate them in
  any number of ways (or not), and print them out on 3D printers in
  day-glow colors, display them with laser beams on the moon or work with
  them in the virtual reality "wearable technology". We can do all of that
  and more *right now* if we wanted. We've been able to do it for a long
  time. We don't need schema.org or Bibframe to enhance our own
  capabilities because we can do anything with our own data now.

  So, who is schema.org and Bibframe for? Non-librarians, i.e. for people
  who neither understand nor control our data. Libraries will allow others
  to work with our data in ways that they can understand a bit more than
  MARC. Non-librarians cannot be expected to understand 240$k or 700$q,
  but with schema.org or Bibframe, it is supposed to be easier for
  them--although it still won't be easy. Nevertheless, they will be able
  to take our data and do with it as they will as they cannot do now with
  our MARC/ISO2709 records.

  With Bibframe and schema.org people will be able to merge it with other
  parts of the linked data universe (oops! Not Freebase or dbpedia.
  They'll have to go to Wikidata! Wonder how long that will last!) or with
  all kinds of web APIs (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_API) that
  can create mashups. (I still think this video gives the best description
  of a mashup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRcP2CZ8DS8. Here too is a
  list of some of the web apis
  http://www.programmableweb.com/apis/directory) Web programmers can then
  put these things together to create something absolutely new, e.g. bring
  together library data with ebay so that people can see if something on
  ebay is available in the library or vice versa. But remember that those
  web programmers will also be able to manipulate our data as much as we
  can, so the final product they create may look and work completely
  differently than we would imagine, or that we would like. As a result,
  libraries and catalogers will lose the control of their data that they
  have always enjoyed. For better or worse, that is a necessary
  consequence of sharing your data.

  Then comes what are--I think--the two major questions of linked data for
  libraries. First is: OK. We add the links, but what do we link *to*?
  Will linking into id.loc.gov appeal to the public? I personally don't
  think so since there is so little there, other than the traditional
  syndetic structures found in our traditional catalogs (i.e. the UF, BT,
  NT, RT for subjects, the earlier/later names of corporate bodies and
  series, the other names of people). This is not what people think of
  when they think of the advantages of linked data. While those things may
  be nice for us, I don't know if that will be so appealing to the public.
  If it is to become appealing to the public, somebody somewhere will have
  to do a lot of work to make them appealing.

  Concerning VIAF, it's nice to know the authorized forms in Hebrew,
  French, Italian, and so on, but again, is that so appealing to the
  *public*? It may be, but that remains to be proven.

  Second, there is no guarantee at all that anyone will actually do
  anything with our data. While I certainly hope so, there are no
  guarantees that anybody will do anything with our data. It could just
  sit and go unused.

  It's interesting to note that the LC book
  catalog in this format has been in the Internet Archive for awhile now
  (https://archive.org/details/marc_records_scriblio_net) but I haven't
  heard that any developers have used it.

  I want again to emphasize that libraries should go into linked data, but
  when we do so, there will probably be more question marks than
  exclamation points. Just as when a couple is expecting a baby and they
  experience pregnancy: at least when I experienced it, I imagined that
  the birth of my son would be an end of the pregnancy. But suddenly, I
  had a crying baby on my hands! Linked data will be similar: it will be a
  beginning and not an end.

  James Weinheimer [log in to unmask] First Thus
  http://blog.jweinheimer.net First Thus Facebook Page
  https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus Cooperative Cataloging Rules
  http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/ Cataloging Matters
  Podcasts http://blog.jweinheimer.net/cataloging-matters-podcasts [delay
  +30 days]


James Weinheimer [log in to unmask] First Thus
http://blog.jweinheimer.net First Thus Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus Cooperative Cataloging Rules
http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/ Cataloging Matters
Podcasts http://blog.jweinheimer.net/cataloging-matters-podcasts [delay
+30 days]