Skip to content

David Bigwood et al., hear me out

As I was heading out to the fog and friction of ALA I learned a fine young library Turk had come up with a clever idea for converting RSS feeds from My Place of Work into MARC format, for import into library catalogs. I saw a couple of issues, including the lack of coordination with us, the content providers, and posted accordingly. David Bigwood quickly responded, but I see he didn’t quite grok me.

Headed towards ALA, I didn’t have time to fully explain myself, so let me begin. David et al., listen to me. I’m not against sharing content or MARC format or on-the-fly conversions. But what I need you to hear–listen up!–is that the idea of importing LII items into catalogs *without a dynamic upgrade plan* is 19th-century. I think this is conquerable, but please hear me out on the problem.

MPOW item records gain their value from their constant grooming. In an important sense, we are not producing item records so much as an ongoing service. We are all about the updating. That’s what differentiates us from the rest of the Web–our items are groomed, vetted, and updated. It’s the nature of the beast. Every quarter, for every three items we add, we delete one and update two, and that’s what makes us so hot. To place an MPOW item into a catalog without an update plan is like invading a country without an exit plan. Not that anyone we’re familiar with would ever do that. 😉

If you want the Killer App, think of a way to keep the items updated. We’re listening. We had a discussion about this a year ago with California Digital Library, with whom we have a content-sharing relationship for several hundred items. Ultimately they decided that we should routinely export the record set as an OAI/MODS-compliant XML dump. No biggy, this will be easy in our new system, but when we agreed to do this I felt an opportunity slip by. Maybe we can hear from Jon Legree, a former student of mine (I am so proud to say!) who has done some interesting work with RSS and LII.

Talk to us. Really. RSS is easy. It’s well-known. It’s something a lot of us understand. If you can go from sucking in a record one time to staying current with its status, then you will have cracked the code. Just don’t think of catalog records as representing books that you buy once… think of them as journal volumes, ever changing.

Otherwise… you’re strapping jet fuel rockets on a surrey.

Feel free to ask more questions!

Posted on this day, other years: