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
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
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.
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?
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:http://www.share-vde.org/sharevde/clusters?l=en
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
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.
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?
Please watch the LD4P
project. Within a few months we will have BIBFRAME metadata in production.
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.
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
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.
PCC BIBFRAME Task Group Co-Chair
Columbia University Libraries