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On 1/23/2016 7:08 PM, Martynas Jusevičius wrote:
> why should events even be in scope of the bibliographical
> domain? Secondly, MARC is not part of the Linked Data picture.
>
> In general, I think the answer can be only as specific as: "it
> depends". Mostly on usage.
>
> If you know that a book is about "United States--History--Civil War,
> 1861-1865", then the only thing you can state in RDF with certainty
> is:
>
>    _:book dct:subject [ dct:title "United States--History--Civil War,
> 1861-1865" ] .
>
> In other words, this book is about something with this title. I've
> used blank nodes and Dublin Core properties here, but they could also
> be URIs and properties from a different vocabulary.
>
> Now maybe someone else has minted a URI for your subject concept, e.g.
> DBPedia. Then you can state instead:
>
>    _:book dct:subject<http://dbpedia.org/resource/American_Civil_War>  .
>
> If you dereference DBPedia's URI, you will find RDF types such as
> dbo:Event. At this point your book is explicitly about the US Civil
> War, in a distributed Linked Data context.
>
> Notice that no BIBFRAME specific properties or classes were necessary
> to state that fact.
>
> P.S. URI itself is not "the thing", it only*identifies*  "the thing".

Sorry that I didn't explain myself very well. I am used to being on 
email lists that are populated primarily by catalogers, and I take some 
things for granted in my posts.

Subjects using LC subject headings are fundamentally different from 
other thesauri using descriptors. LC subject headings are not 
descriptors but utilize a different method.

In the example about the US Civil War that you give, I agree with what 
you say but there is a lot more to it. I'll try to explain it without 
the MARC format.

In the case of "United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865" it is made 
up of multiple semantics--not just multiple pieces of text.

"United States" has two possible semantic interpretations. It can be 
either an author or geographic entity. In neither interpretation can it 
be an event.

Then with the "United States. History", the term "United States" can 
only be a geographic entity and cannot be an event. The "History" part 
is also not an event--although I can imagine various arguments that "the 
history of the United States" is an event, but I do not want to discuss 
that at the moment. So let's leave that possibility aside for now.

Geographic names have *many* possible semantics after names of places. 
For instance, "United States" (or any geographic area) can have the 
subdivision "Antiquities" or "Boundaries" or anything found in the list 
at http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/H1140.pdf. I suggest you 
glance at that list. Some of these *can* be considered as events, e.g. 
"United States--Census, 1940" or "United States--Economic 
conditions--18th century" while others are definitely not events, e.g. 
"United States--Defenses".

Some of these subdivisions (sorry for the cataloging terminology) that 
are definitely events, e.g. "United States--History--Civil War, 
1861-1865" can be further subdivided in all kinds of ways. As I 
mentioned, "Bibliography" or "Registers of the dead" (using the 
supplementary list at 
http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/H1200.pdf) neither of which 
seem to me to be events, but possibly "United States--History--Civil 
War, 1861-1865--Anniversaries, etc." could be.

The way URIs are considered now in id.loc.gov is that the *entire 
string* is given a single URI. Therefore, "United States--History--Civil 
War, 1861-1865--Bibliography" has a single URI 
http://id.loc.gov/authorities/subjects/sh2007100437.html. In other 
words, having a single URI mashes together all of  the semantics that 
were separate before.

Could "a bibliography of the US Civil War" be considered an event? I 
hardly think so. But if not, how do we deal with the single URI above? 
This shows how LC subject headings are fundamentally different from 
subject descriptors.

Multiply this for all the wars in all the areas of the world, all the 
economic events (the Soviet Union's Five Year Plans were events? I think 
so) plus a withering array of all kinds of other events that I cannot 
even imagine at the moment.

The upshot of all of this is: I think it is clear that finding the 
events would be too complex to do through automated means (although 
automation would certainly help human catalogers to do it). If we could 
say, "all conferences are now events" (translating this to MARC: all 
111s are considered to be all the events) and that would be an end of 
it, OK, but as I have shown, there is a LOT more than that. This means 
that much, if not the vast majority of the work will have to be done 
manually.

It seems worth asking: Is all that worth it? Just so some developer 
elsewhere can add some of our stuff to his "events app"? If it is not 
worth it, will we place the blame on the overworked, disappearing 
catalogers, or on someone/something else?

Or is asking such questions simply too impolite?

James Weinheimer [log in to unmask]
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