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

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.


Galen Charlton
Infrastructure and Added Services Manager
Equinox Software, Inc. / Open Your Library
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