On 08/27/2012 04:36 PM, Karen Coyle wrote:
> I also assumed that Ed wasn't suggesting that we literally use github as
> our platform, but I do want to remind folks how far we are from having
> "people friendly" versioning software -- at least, none that I have seen
> has felt "intuitive." The features of git are great, and people have
> built interfaces to it, but as Galen's question brings forth, the very
> *idea* of versioning doesn't exist in library data processing, even
> though having central-system based versions of MARC records (with a
> single time line) is at least conceptually simple.
What's interesting, however, is that at least a couple parts of the
concept of distributed version control, viewed broadly, have been used
in traditional library cataloging.
For example, RLIN had a concept of a "cluster" of MARC records for the
same title, with each library having their own record in the cluster. I
don't know if RLIN kept track of previous versions of a library's record
in a cluster as it got edited, but it means that there was the concept
of a "spatial" distribution of record versions if not a temporal one.
I've never used RLIN myself, but I'd be curious to know if it provided
any tools to readily compare records in the same cluster and if there
were any mechanisms (formal or informal) for a library to grab
improvements from another library's record and apply it to their own.
As another example, the MARC cataloging source field has long been used,
particularly in central utilities, to record institution-level
attribution for changes to a MARC record. I think that's mostly been
used by catalogers to help decide which version of a record to start
from when copy cataloging, but I suppose it's possible that some
catalogers were also looking at the list of modifying agencies ("library
A touched this record and is particularly good at subject analysis, so
I'll grab their 650s").
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