Actually - now that I think of it, maybe this is the controversy we need to get our catalogs and discovery engines to make better use of our cross-references, make them more visible and easier to use.
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Galen Charlton
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 11:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] "Illegal Aliens" subject heading
On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 10:28 AM, Eric Hellman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I also think that Code4Lib is potentially more powerful than congress
> in this situation. LC says that "all of the revisions will appear on a
> Tentative List and be approved no earlier than May 2016; the revision
> of existing bibliographic records will commence shortly thereafter."
> It seems unlikely that Congress can act before this happens. We could
> then implement systems that effect this subject heading deprecation
> without regard to Rep. Diane Black and Congress. We can scrub the MARC
> records. We can alter the cataloguing interfaces. We could tweak the
> cataloguing standard.
Or to put it another way, "we" could make a (hopefully friendly) fork of LCSH if it gets compromised via an act of law.
Such a fork could provide benefits going far beyond protesting Congressional interference in LCSH:
* If appropriate tools for collaboration are built, it could allow updates to be made faster than what the current SACO process permits, while still benefiting from the careful work of LC subject experts.
* It could provide infrastructure for easily creating additional forks of the vocabulary, for cases where LCSH is a decent starting point but needs refinement for a particular collection of things to be described.
However, I put "we" in quotes because such an undertaking could not succeed simply by throwing code at the problem. There are many Code4Lib folks who could munge authority records, build tools for collaborative thesaurus maintenance, stand up SPARQL endpoints and feeds of headings changes and so forth — but unless that fork provides infrastructure that catalogers and metadataists /want/ to use and has some guarantee of sticking around, the end result would be nothing more than fodder for a C4L Journal article or two.
> What else would we need?
Involvement of folks who might use and contribute to such a fork from the get-go, and early thought to how such a fork can be sustained. I think we already have the technology, for the most part; the question is whether we have the people.
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