On 01/02/2017 22:25, Jeff Edmunds wrote (concerning the definition of 
>   Widely adopted = adopted by a majority of libraries (of which, in the US,
> according to ALA, there are approximately 119,000, the vast majority of
> which use MARC now)

Just as important as a definition of failure is a definition of success. 
Success here seems to be equated with getting a majority of *libraries* 
to use Bibframe. If we are considering Bibframe as a path to some future 
linked data universe, then this is certainly different from the original 
dream of linked data. Simply put, the original dream of linked data is 
to put your data on the web in a coherent way for *others,* i.e. those 
who do not know or understand your data, to use it for their purposes. 
The idea of linked data is not that you can do something new with your 
own data--after all, you already understand how your own data is 
structured and you have complete control over it to do whatever you 
want. It's for others outside of your own community to use your data as 
they want.

Tim Berners-Lee has given lots of examples, e.g. a quote: "A classic 
story, the first one which lots of people picked up, was when in March  
on March 10th in fact, soon after TED  Paul Clarke, in the U.K. 
government, blogged, "Oh, I've just got some raw data. Here it is, it's 
about bicycle accidents." Two days it took the Times Online to make a 
map, a mashable map  we call these things mash-ups  a mashed-up user 
interface that allows you to go in there and have a look and find out 
whether your bicycle route to work was affected."  (From: 
If you haven't already seen this talk, I suggest it)

If Bibframe is supposed to be aimed only toward libraries, then that 
means it is aimed at members of the same community who already 
understand how the data is structured. With such a group, very similar 
results could be achieved with OAI-PMH, APIs, or even crosswalks, 
depending on what someone wants to do. That would be much simpler, 
cheaper, and faster. Still, that means building new services and of 
course, that requires lots of time, is expensive and involves risk. We 
should never forget that the garbage dump of the web is littered with 
services that people have rejected. (Remember MySpace? I found out it 
still exists!) There is absolutely no guarantee that if libraries make 
new services, that anyone will like them one bit more than our current 

If the purpose of Bibframe is to "open the silos" and put our metadata 
where the users are, that would mean (to me at least) that libraries 
want their data included in the search results of Google, Bing, Yandex, 
perhaps even Baidu, and other search engines that are used by the 
overwhelming majority of the public. In that sense, the risk mentioned 
above about creating new services is avoided. But to get your data into 
the search engines you must use Not Bibframe. Enough said. 
If you want your data on Facebook, it's got to be Open Graph.

Of course, even when you get your data in the popular search engines 
your problems are only beginning: it's true that your linked data and 
your structures tend to disintegrate, but most important: since there 
will be no links *to* your data, it will remain trapped at the very 
bottom of the search engine results, much like sludge at the bottom of 
an oil tank. Raising those results has proven to be incredibly difficult 
and expensive, and even then it doesn't always work. It is possible that 
in the future, those search engines may change their policies and allow 
Bibframe, but the chances for that seem to be very, very low.

If we expect webmasters to use our library data to create new tools such 
as those described by TBL, there is no guarantee that anyone will want 
Bibframe data, especially if it is very complicated for them to do so. 
Webmasters would prefer to take their bibliographic data from easier 
sources, e.g. Amazon or Google, as they already do and where they don't 
have to pay for it (open). Promoting our bibliographic information as 
being "superior" would be largely meaningless to most of them, I 
suppose, especially if our data is not open (if they would have to pay 
for it).

Yet, I believe the public (and by extension, webmasters) would 
absolutely *love* some of the data of libraries, primarily circulation 
data, so that people could discover, e.g. what are the most popular 
books checked out by Ivy-League undergraduates, or undergraduates in 
London. They would love to know what is checked out by graduate students 
in business schools, or by senior faculty in political science, and so 
on. I would like that myself! Instructors designing course syllabi would 
love to know what are the assigned readings for similar courses taught 
elsewhere (i.e. what is currently on Reserve). But letting out 
circulation information has serious ethical consequences for librarians, 
and most of it is not part of Bibframe anyway.

In this scenario, which I consider describes the real world, I don't 
know how to measure success and failure. The Bibframe initiative should 
be looking forward toward how to deal with such highly obvious issues. 
It is not a matter of simply believing in: "Build it and they will 
come!" That is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

I think it would be safe to assume that if nothing real is produced for 
the public in the next 5-10 years, it will be seen as a failure? Of 
course, the public would still have to be convinced that what we make is 
wonderful and administrators would need to be convinced it has an 
adequate ROI ...

James Weinheimer [log in to unmask]
First Thus
First Thus Facebook Page
Personal Facebook Page
Cooperative Cataloging Rules
Cataloging Matters Podcasts
The Library Herald