On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 10:26 AM, Mike Taylor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I'm not sure what to make of this except to say that Yet Another XML
> Bibliographic Format is NOT the answer!
I recognize that you're being flippant, and yet think there's an important
nugget in here.
When you say it that way, it makes it sound as if folks are debating the
finer points of OAI-MARC vs MARC-XML -- that it's simply syntactic sugar
(although I'm certainly one to argue for the importance of syntactic sugar)
over the top of what we already have.
What's actually being discussed, of course, is the underlying data model.
E-R pairs primarily analyzed by set theory, triples forming directed graphs,
whether or not links between data elements can themselves have attributes --
these are all possible characteristics of the fundamental underpinning of a
data model to describe the data we're concerned with.
The fact that they all have common XML representations is noise, and
referencing the currently-most-common xml schema for these things is just
convenient shorthand in a community that understands the exemplars. The fact
that many in the library community don't understand that syntax is not the
same as a data model is how we ended up with RDA. (Mike: I don't know your
stuff, but I seriously doubt you're among that group. I'm talkin' in
Bibliographic data is astoundingly complex, and I believe wholeheartedly
that modeling it sufficiently is a very, very hard task. But no matter the
underlying model, we should still insist on starting with the basics that
computer science folks have been using for decades now: uids (and, these
days, guids) for the important attributes, separation of data and display,
definition of sufficient data types and reuse of those types whenever
possible, separation of identity and value, full normalization of data, zero
ambiguity in the relationship diagram as a fundamental tenet, and a rigorous
mathematical model to describe how it all fits together.
This is hard stuff. But it's worth doing right.
Library Systems Programmer
University of Michigan Library