I think Dublin Core XML is an excellent attempt at what you're talking
about if you want to consider it a bibliographic data format, which I
guess could be one of its many uses.
I know that a large percentage of the data in our MARC records is not
being used for finding/gathering or even display, so in that case, what
good is it? There is a lot of richness in those records, but it's so
all-over-the-place that whatever value it might have had gets killed by
all the inconsistency. In my experience, good, consistent metadata that
captures the essence of an object is more useful than highly-detailed,
inconsistent metadata (which all highly-detailed metadata tends to be)
in a fine-grained element set.
I think there may be a cultural element to this as well, in that IR
people think of metadata in terms of its utility for IR purposes (at
which DC tends to be extremely practical) and catalogers think of it as
a thorough-as-possible description of an object (at which DC is quite
Cloutman, David wrote:
> I'm open to seeing new approaches to the ILS in general. A related
> question I had the other day, speaking of MARC, is what would an
> alternative bibliographic data format look like if it was designed with
> the intent for opening access to the data our ILS systems to developers
> in a more informal manner? I was thinking of an XML format that a
> developer could work with without formal training, the basics of which
> could be learned in an hour, and could reasonably represent the
> essential fields of the 90% of records that are most likely to be viewed
> by a public library patron. In my mind, such a format would allow
> creators of community-based web sites to pull data from their local
> library, and repurpose it without having to learn a lot of arcane
> formats (e.g. MARC) or esoteric protocols (e.g. Z39.50). The sacrifice,
> of course, would be loosing some of the richness MARC allows, but I
> think in many common situations the really complex records are not what
> patrons are interested in. You may want to consider prototyping this in
> your application. I see such an effort to be vital in making our systems
> relevant in future computing environments, and I am skeptical that a
> simple, workable solution would come out the initial efforts of a
> standardization committee.
> Just my 2 cents.
> - David
> David Cloutman <[log in to unmask]>
> Electronic Services Librarian
> Marin County Free Library
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> Peter Schlumpf
> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2009 8:40 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CODE4LIB] Something completely different
> I have been lurking on (or ignoring) this forum for years. And
> libraries too. Some of you may know me. I am the Avanti guy. I am,
> perhaps, the first person to try to produce an open source ILS back in
> 1999, though there is a David Duncan out there who tried before I did. I
> was there when all this stuff was coming together.
> Since then I have seen a lot of good things happen. There's Koha.
> There's Evergreen. They are good things. I have also seen first hand
> how libraries get screwed over and over by commercial vendors with their
> crappy software. I believe free software is the answer to that. I have
> neglected Avanti for years, but now I am ready to return to it.
> I want to get back to simple things. Imagine if there were no Marc
> records. Minimal layers of abstraction. No politics. No vendors. No
> SQL straightjacket. What would an ILS look like without those things?
> Sometimes the biggest prison is between the ears.
> I am in a position to do this now, and that's what I have decided to do.
> I am getting busy.
> Peter Schlumpf
> Email Disclaimer: http://www.co.marin.ca.us/nav/misc/EmailDisclaimer.cfm
Alex A. Dolski
Web & Digitization Application Developer
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 457041
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7041
(702) 895-2225 (phone) / (702) 895-2280 (fax)