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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me of Bush on global warming: needily grounded in beliefs and practices the rest of us see as not only foolish and outdated, but pernicious.

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