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On 4/3/2015 7:51 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
> To continue the analogue, it makes sense for people who want the Ferrari
> to not obstruct the engineers and designers working on it because they
> like their friendly veterinarian or the current slow pace of horse drawn
> transportation.  There'll be plenty of mechanics needed in the future,
> and Ferrari drivers need different skill sets to buggy drivers, but both
> need to understand the rules of the road.
>
> So ... please lets focus on constructive suggestions for how to improve
> the current Model T version of the ontology we have now, towards that
> much sleeker and better performing Ferrari :)

I pretty much agree with this statement. I just don't see any 
obstructions coming from anywhere. Catalogers aren't trying to stop 
anything--most are too concerned with questions of various kinds of 
survival. Certainly I am not trying to obstruct; I am just trying to 
provide other librarians with a more realistic view of what the future 
holds, instead of the vague promises of some radiant future that we 
often read and hear about.

The information world will not stand still and wait while we build our 
wonderful tool. Non-librarians have been creating all kinds of cool 
things for a long time and will continue to do so. And they do it with 
no better information, or worse information, than what we have.

By the time we build and test and unveil this wonderful new tool based 
on RDF and linked data (which will take lots of time and money to 
develop, and then much, much more money to actually implement with 
changed systems and so on), that wonderful new tool may very possibly be 
considered obsolete, just as if someone who has been working very hard 
for the past 30 years, would say "Today I am announcing that I have made 
the *very, very best* typewriter that has ever existed!" Nobody wants 
typewriters any more--or at least such a tiny percentage as to be 
insignificant. The world has moved on and will continue to move on.

That is why I am saying that while it is OK to develop this RDF/linked 
data tool, which we must admit, may or may not turn out to be so 
wonderful, it is even more important to build something the public may 
actually want *today* (or at least as soon as possible), so that we can 
get some kind of following, generate some popular support (read: more 
money), learn from mistakes, find out what the public really likes and 
dislikes, and go on to improve it. The RDF and linked data stuff may be 
of substantial help, or not.

That is how development happens, after all; it is not everyone following 
lockstep toward some semi-shared, vague, promised, wonderful world that 
we are supposed to believe will exist "sometime in the future", ignoring 
all immediate concerns. We can point to too many examples where this led 
to different types of disasters.

Development means above all building something and trying it out with 
the primary goal of learning what you have done right and what you have 
done wrong, changing, and yes, sometimes even admitting that the idea 
itself may be bad. Development is determined by practical success, not 
by theories.


James Weinheimer [log in to unmask]
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