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The future of bibliographic what?

Update (12/16/07): The Big O has weighed in. This delicious set is useful. The bubble-up keyword WoGroFuBiCo (thanks, William Denton!) can be found in the wild.

Update (12/14/07): See comments from Peter Murray (aka Disruptive Library Technology Jester), Rob Styles of Talis, and the Open Knowledge Foundation, which also had a separate list of input on the document.

Note also that the link to Aaron Schwartz is actually a petition about open data which among many others (including Tim O’Reilly, Brewster Kahle, and many librarians) I as an individual have signed.

“We can either wise up or get out of the game. I prefer to wise up.” — Roy TennantDiane Hillmann, Tim Spalding, Roy Tennant, and Aaron Schwartz have provided some cogent commentary on the recent Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (Diane in the most detail, though the point about data not being open isn’t trivial, and Roy as usual is cogent) .

(For comic relief, Michael Gorman has weighed in as well, railing against that Old Debbil Internet and that sexually transmitted disease known as uncontrolled vocabulary.)

I read LC’s report as comfort food: yes, yes, we should do many things… real soon now… but since there’s no plan or timeline attached to any of this, rest assured you can just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all part of the task force pyramid scheme, in which one report begets many more.

I like that Roy keyed in on the word, “control.” Every time I hear someone talking about “controlling” bibliographic data, I chuckle, a low throaty laugh intended to convey my disbelief that anyone thinks we will still be controlling anything in fifty years. Thirty. Ten. Five. Now, will the Big O yield some of that control itself?

Many of us in LibraryLand worry that we’re just one black swan away from “game over,” but not the muckety-mucks of cataloging. They remind me of Bush on global warming: needily grounded in beliefs and practices the rest of us see as not only foolish and outdated, but pernicious.

Posted on this day, other years:

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  1. Millie wrote:

    Catalogers rule.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink
  2. Millie wrote:

    no pun intended, by the way :)

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Sometimes they rule… sometimes they rock… sometimes they are just rocks.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  4. Anthony wrote:

    The train left the station about 3-5 years ago regarding libraries being in a position to affect the control and management of information in the digital age. Best they go back to tending their collections and addressing their local coomunity needs, like education and societal integration for recent immigrants.

    Librarians and their professional enablers (those who make a living speaking to the choir at ALA, SLA, and other manufactured symposiums)have an industrial complex of their own that has lost its foundations.

    No study by the minds of LoC or others will begin to fix it… it no longer exists. Their efforts only perpetuate the myth that the concept of “standards”, as it related to global info-structure, is still relevant.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  5. arkham wrote:

    “For comic relief, Michael Gorman has weighed in as well…” I couldn’t help laughing when I read this. I read Gorman’s paper, and…I was struck by how out of touch he is with the possibilities of the Internet. I also love Roy Tennant’s terminology of “descriptive enrichment” – that seems a great way to describe the future of what we now call “cataloging”.

    Friday, December 14, 2007 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  6. Alane wrote:

    Did you note where Mr Gorman’s essay was posted? Mac Elrod’s “house” The last bastion of “we own the bib description universe.”
    Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 12:40 am | Permalink
  7. Yeah, I didn’t want to add to the pile-on, but he’s not even qualifying for off-off-off-Broadway. That was the only place he *could* publish that silly screed.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 7:43 am | Permalink

5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] you might be able to find the post through the mailing list archive. That said, Karen has put up a posting that is tracking commentary.) I’ve been struck by three things so far, [...]

  2. WoGroFuBiCo 2.0 on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 9:47 am

    [...] Search for an item in libraries near you:Enter title, subject or author >> ← The future of bibliographic what? [...]

  3. [...] If your interested in reading more comments on the LC BibCon report see the list that K.G. Schneider is compiling at her blog Free Range Librarian. [...]

  4. Array | Nerds Media Buzz on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 5:58 am

    [...] with my letter. But others have posted theirs, and I ought to do the same. (For starters, see the list collected by Karen Schneider.) I had planned a point-by-point analysis of the report, but found [...]

  5. Christine Schwartz on WoGroFuBiCo on Monday, December 24, 2007 at 10:17 am

    [...] Michael Gorman screw through the ceiling). So let me quibble by saying that I’m really just updating my earlier post by including several links to Christine Schwartz and her good posts about [...]

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