Hi Jeff,

First I'll mention that the last library catalog card was printed by OCLC in just 2015. And many libraries continue to use catalog cards to manage their collections. So just because new ways of creating library metadata is available, doesn't mean that older data exchange formats (like MARC) will disappear. I also like to point out that it took Henrietta Avrams 8 years to develop MARC before it was an ISO standard, and we've only been working on BF for 5 years now. This process it not going to be like a flicking light switch. It will be slow and iterative, and involve a lot of education and cooperation.

My overall thoughts to your question is that you're asking the wrong question. Instead of Life After MARC, think of it as Life With BIBFRAME (and other ontologies). As Karen mentioned, we already exist in the information environment populated with many different structure standards and mark-up syntax. Future ILSs will need process and serialize more than MARC data, (and some current ILSs already do). BIBFRAME will be just one of many flavors to choose when modeling library metadata.

To respond to your each of your points:

1) Unlike its stature in the Age of MARC, the Library of Congress lacks the authority to impose its standards or practices on the bibliographic metadata ecosystem. LC is no longer the chief source of bibliographic metadata, and the influence on the ecosystem of the bibliographic metadata it generates is minimal. The most likely allies of LC in moving BIBFRAME forward--large academic or public libraries with experienced cataloging staff--are shifting resources AWAY from cataloging and into other areas (digital humanities, assessment, student engagement, open access, etc.).

I'm assuming that your library uses the Library of Congress Classification System, and Library of Congress Authorities? I'm also assuming that your institution is also a member of the PCC of which the Library of Congress is an important partner. If LC is adopting BIBFRAME, then PCC will support their work and PCC members can benefit from that partnership. No, LC is no longer the chief source of bibliographic metadata. Vendors are. They take our data  that we freely provide through their proprietary tools and then sell it back to us. But we have the potential to free our metadata through linked data and ontologies like BIBFRAME. So institutions like LC have the potential to become to chief source of linked open bibliographic data for the world to harvest. LC already is a primary source of linked open authority data.

The technical infrastructure of current ILS, discovery, next-generation, etc. platforms does not support BIBFRAME and there is no market incentive to change. Open-source, collaborative ventures like FOILO must necessarily base much of their development around current and legacy MARC data, not largely hypothetical data models like BIBFRAME.

Yes. we need new tools to create, share, and maintain shared linked open data. But it's like you're asking to take the car for a test drive, and we haven't even built the engine yet. We're still welding the chassis! Of course our linked data will be developed around current and legacy MARC data -- it's our primary source for library metadata. We have to evolve that data so that it can integrate and engage with the wider web.
BIBFRAME in a production environment is wildly impractical: the BIBFLOW Project, although it officially ended in 2016, has issued no substantive final report of which I am aware. Does one exist?

Why you think BIBFRAME in a production environment is "wildly impractical?" Here is an example of a BIBFRAME production environment -- Casalini's Share-VDE catalog. Built entirely on BIBFRAME and other ontologies in linked data RDF:

As for BIBFLOW, here are their preliminary findings:

Like all iterative development, we need pilot projects to test aspects of the greater goal. BIBFLOW, like LD4L, LD4P, LD4L-Labs, and numerous local linked data projects are steps along a path toward developing a successful practice of linked data for libraries (and other memory institutions).
BIBFRAME is highly conceptual, top-heavy, and too complicated to be understood and effectively implemented by most libraries (cf. the failure of many librarties to adopt RDA over AACR2). The people talking about BIBFRAME (various PCC committees, etc.) are not creating BIBFRAME-compliant metadata; they are merely talking about it.

I would argue that this is your opinion. MARC to the uninitiated looks too complicated to be understood and effectively implemented for a web environment. BIBFRAME requires us to think differently about how we model our bibliographic descriptions, but it is actually a fairly straightforward modeling of a traditional bibliographic description. It's also not particularly "top heavy" (I don't quite know what you mean by this -- there are no tops in ontologies) with far more properties than classes in the vocabulary. We need to learn skilsets that were developed outside libraryland by the W3C.

Now if you want to see a conceptual and complicated ontology -- look at CIDOC-CRM. It is an IFLA supported ISO standard ontology for describing cultural heritage metadata. The new IFLA-LRM is CIDOC-CRM compliant, it is core to FRBRoo, and will restructure RDA.

Can you please provide a source for your assertion about the failure of many libraries to adopt RDA over AACR2?

Here is my GitHub repository of BIBFRAME compliant metadata:

Please watch the LD4P project. Within a few months we will have BIBFRAME metadata in production.
5) Discovery of library (and archival, etc.) materials no longer runs primarily on bibliographic metadata; it runs on megadata, which I define as a complicated mess of metadata, full text, and big data (including personalization data). As a result, there is less need for, and appreciation of, quality metadata.

I agree that we need more structured and quality metadata -- that is exactly what BIBFRAME and other linked data vocabularies/ontologies are striving for. Through linked data like BIBFRAME data, we can accurately describe relationships. Also more precisely encode our data! Authority maintenance is much easier and accurate with URIs than strings of access points.

I'm happy to talk to you more about this before your presentation. Feel free to send me a direct message or give me  a call. Beset of luck with your research.

Amber Billey

PCC BIBFRAME Task Group Co-Chair

Metadata Librarian
Columbia University Libraries
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On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 6:15 PM, Xu, Amanda <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks a lot, Karen!

For Jeff, in fall 2016, I participated in a series of webinars called "From MARC to BIBFRAME: Linked Data on the Ground."  The webinars were sponsored by ALCTS.  You can find the webinars from     The speakers of the webinars discussed the status of BIBFRAME implementation at their libraries.  I am wondering if it is a good idea for you to reach out to the speakers of the webinars.  It might help you prepare for your presentation from different perspectives.

Sincerely yours,


Amanda Xu
Metadata Analyst Librarian
Cataloging and Metadata Department
University of Iowa Libraries
100 Main Library (LIB)
Iowa City, IA 52242-1420

319-335-5075 (voice)
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-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]GOV] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2017 3:56 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Failure

On 2/1/17 1:25 PM, Jeff Edmunds wrote:
> On Wed, 1 Feb 2017 12:43:33 -0800, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Widely adopted means? By whom?
> 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)
>> What if some people use MARC, some use, some use
>> BIBFRAME, some use RDA in RDF, others use Dublin Core, still others
>> use the DPLA data format, yet all exchange data? Would that be a failure?
> That's fine of course, but you're muddying the waters: my claim is
> that NO ONE (or virtually no one) will use BIBFRAME. It is impractical.
Well, you're already wrong. Are you aware of that? Have you looked at the "LD" projects? [1]

Honestly, I think you're getting yourself into a hole. Someone else in our profession did the same thing, claiming that Dublin Core was a failure. That person did not seem to know about libraries, archives, and others who were using it, or that it's the 2nd most used vocabulary in the linked data space, after RDF itself. You'd better have the facts to back up your thoughts.

> Jeff

Karen Coyle
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