On Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM, Terry Reese <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> You are right Galen, many care.  They shouldn't, but they do.  A substantial
> set of my research time right now is being spent looking at practical
> applications with bibframe, linked data, and a world without MARC in
> general -- and I can guarantee that any information that we think we are
> creating by carefully ordering fields within our record for display purposes
> isn't going to translation (nor should it).

I think that's a bit circular.  As a perhaps somewhat hyperbolic
statement, in the case of subject headings, catalogers shouldn't care
about field order because any information about degree of "aboutness"
that's implicitly encoded via the order of headings will not
transition to $FUTURE_METADATA because, in part, existing tools either
mangle field order or have done nothing useful with it because ILS
designers haven't cared about it.

And thus a pattern of fingerpointing can continue!

Now, there's a slew of assumptions to unpack here and probably little
testing to back up most /any/ view on the matter (though I would be
very happy to be corrected on that point):

- It is possible to somehow quantify the degree to which a concept
applies to a bibliographic entity
- Such quantification can be done consistently enough by human beings
(or textual analysis? strong AIs?) to be reasonably actionable
- Software exists or can be economically written that does something
with that data.  E.g., tweak relevancy ranking? Feed into a
recommendation mill?Something else?
- Whatever gets done with that data can provide a reasonably concrete
benefit to expert users.
- ... to naive users.
- ... to other information systems that have reason to consume library metadata.
- Even if there is no useful way that aboutness-qualification can be
used for search, it is useful for displays.
- Existing MARC data exists of sufficiently quality where
aboutness-qualification can be usefully extracted.
- There exists any way to identify such MARC records. (Of course,
there's no way to tell just by looking at a given MARC record; the
only criteria that immediately comes to mind to identify such records
is possibly who cataloged them).
- There exist people willing and able to test any of these assumptions...
- ... who will be paid or otherwise appropriately compensated.

> There are big and exciting things around what we can do with library
> metadata and lately I've been feeling like the time and effort we spend on
> this level of insanity as akin to tilting at windmills.

Channeling my AUTOCAT side, I can imagine a rejoinder to the effect
that there are big and exciting things that could have been done with
MARC data that software developers never acted on.

My Code4Lib side immediately jumps in and says: "but you catalogers
never clearly articulated what you were up to with your long lists of
cataloging rules in a way that made sense to us developers".

Let's just say my internal debates can be fun. :)

Seriously, I don't disagree that that there are bigger metadata fish
to fry than what's represented by the MARC field order question, and I
certainly agree that there big and exciting things that we can be

However, I think there's also a history of bad communication between
catalogers and programmers that is getting in the way of moving
forward (and don't get me wrong, Terry - your efforts have been HUGE
in keeping conversation going).


Galen Charlton
Manager of Implementation
Equinox Software, Inc. / The Open Source Experts
email:  [log in to unmask]
direct: +1 770-709-5581
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