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Real collaboration?

September 2, 2011

I know this isn’t part of my current series but I just can’t help myself.  On August 31, 2011 Library Journal published an article by Michael Kelley titled; How the W3C has come to love library linked data.  I was so excited when I saw this article!  I mean honestly – surely I’m not the only person in the world who has wondered when something like this might come about for us.

For years the library community has been falling behind the technology curve because of what I believe to be a “foe” mentality towards search engines.  “Google is not the library’s friend, they are our enemy.”  Humbug.  Folks I think regardless of where you fall on the whole controlled vocabulary debate headway has finally started to get made with more publicly seen institutions of information.  Let me back up…The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has put together a report which will explore library linked data.  Allowing (at least in some capacities) library data to be shared by more public web means.  I love how Kelley states it, “many librarians at major institutions have recognized that a key to the bibliographic future lies in migrating their data out of library silos and into an open, global pool of shared data.”  Friends this is real progress to the change of our professions.  It is coming.

Check out half way through the article some of the ways this is already getting done:

The Library of Congress (LC) this month offered its flagship Name Authority File as linked open data;

The June 13 announcement by LC and the two other U.S. national libraries —the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM)—that they plan to adopt the Resource and Description Access (RDA) cataloging code

The Cambridge University Library released a dataset of 1.3 million records, and it provided a toolkitfor converting MARC21 to linked data

The Association for Library Collection & Technical Services (ALCTS) and the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) formed a Library Linked Data Interest Group at ALA’s annual convention in June.

And that’s just some of what Kelley mentions.  Bottom line – change isn’t coming, change is here.  Personally, I’m excited.  I know that for some this will be scary new but it must happen.  I see huge changes too not just little ones.  I think to really stay in the public mainstream we will need a branding re-image (and someone right now is going to be angry at me for that).  I think it’s true though.  I think libraries as we know them today will end up becoming more how we currently view archives.  The same, yet very different.

At any rate I couldn’t help but share.  I’ve been thinking about the article all day and while I haven’t gotten to all the links in it yet, I needed to write a little.  What do you think about this?  Are you excited?  Scared?  Angry?  Do you think it will open up some positive possibilities for libraries all over the world?  Let me know and if you find something interesting here please share it with others.

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