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Monday, 29th November 2010

John Wilkin On: "Open Bibliographic Data: How Should the Ecosystem Work?"

A guest post on the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog by John Wilkin, Executive Director of the HathiTrust, a Librarian at the University of Michigan and a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data.

What follows is only a small portion of the complete blog post. Make sure to access and read the full text.

From the Blog Post by John Wilkin:

In the conversations about openness of bibliographic data, I often find myself in an odd position, vehemently in support of it but almost as vehemently alarmed at the sort of rhetoric that circulates about the ways that data should be shared.

The problem with both the arguments OCLC makes and many of the arguments for openness seem to be predicated on the view that bibliographic data are largely inert, lifeless “records” and that these records are the units that should be distributed and consumed.(1)

Nothing could be further from the truth. Good bibliographic data are in a state of fairly constant, even if minor, flux. There are periodic refinements to names and terms (through authority work), corrections to or amplifications of discrete elements (e.g., dates, titles, authors), and constant augmentation of the records through connection with ancillary data (e.g., statements about the copyright status of the specific manifestation of the work).

The role of our library community around the data should not be that we are the only ones privileged to touch the data, but that we play some coordinating management role with a world of very interested users contributing effort to the enterprise.

Access and Read the Complete Blog Post by John Wilkin

Wilkin goes on to mention the nearly 700K open access bibliographic records we posted about and linked to yesterday.




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