Bibliographic Wilderness

So I finally get around to making a blog to write about library matters. Attending the Code4Lib conference was the final impetus. What a great conference. Nice to spend a week discussing with very smart people very interesting ideas about how to make libraries work better in the digital environment. The way we try to extend and grow this community is with communication, right? Less re-inventing of wheels and isolation, more synergy and collaboration. Not just on code, but sharing of analyses, plans and experiences, participation in public discourse to take our collective practice forward. So a blog is one way of doing that public communication (‘publishing’ is just a word for ‘public communication’, right? A blog may not be the best way to do it, but better than nothing).

Hopefully I’ll manage to pull off some interesting projects I can then share here. But those who know me know I never let a lack of getting things done get in the way of talking. So there will also be discussion untied to particular projects,  of the state of our ‘bibliographic wilderness’, and our attempts to chart it, or at least help people find their way in it. Our hardest problems in implementing systems end up being metadata problems rather than ‘technology’ problems (another suspicion confirmed again and again at Code4Lib), and in the 21st century ‘cataloging’, ‘metadata’, and ‘library technology systems development’ are all just inseparable aspects of our unified professional attempt to exert what used to be called ‘bibliographic control’. (Informational control? ‘Control’ sounds so authoritarian) Or at least what ought to be a unified attempt.

We’ll see how often I end up writing. But at least I thought of a clever name and made a pretty header image, eh?

Images in the header are sampled and re-mixed without permission, from left to right: shelves at the excellent library of my undergrad alma mater, taken from a photo found on flickr; Another photo from flickr reporting to be ancient academic library ruins in Cambodia; the Cabinet National Library.

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One Response to Bibliographic Wilderness

  1. s says:

    hey, cool blog. always enjoy reading your stuff.
    you might find this article from the current JASIS&T interesting on the subject of subject metadata. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

    Does topic metadata help with Web search? (p 613-628)
    David Hawking, Justin Zobel
    Published Online: 2 Feb 2007
    DOI: 10.1002/asi.20548
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/114110688/PDFSTART

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