Sharon M. Foster, 91.7% Librarian
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 10:37 PM, Bill Dueber <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 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
> general, here.)
> 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.
> Bill Dueber
> Library Systems Programmer
> University of Michigan Library