Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Just When You Thought Standards Were Simple

The amazing metadata map above is simply called Seeing Standards: A Visualisation of the Metadata Universe and is truly mind-blowing and a tribute to the creator Jenn Riley. It demonstrates not only the vast range of standards, the communities they serve, their purpose,function and domain.

Metadata is the data that describes data. We often refer to it as bibliographic data and it is the information that enables us the search, find, retrieve the appropriate information and allows us to talk to each other through a common language.

The book world is widely adopting ONIX which originated from the music industry in the 90s, whilst the library world with its more complex requirements has retained its MARC records.

However, it would appear that time is being called on the MARC record.

The Library of Congress is now being asked to take action by two expert groups with the aim of funding the work to create a new bibliographic framework that will serve a wide range of associated library communities well into the future.

In the late 1960s, early 1970s, the Library community created the MARC21 standard. At the time was a giant step forward and enabled libraries to share machine readable bibliographic data and also to reduce the cost and effort of cataloguing. The MARC standard has been a huge success and is responsible for the global creation of millions of bibliographic records. The structure was approved as a National Information Standards Organization (NISO) (Z39.2) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (2709) standard, which helped establish it as the standard used by libraries. It also was used to describe other material, such as serials, sound recordings, still and moving images, maps, archival material, computer software, digital resources etc. Today there are over a billion MARC 21 compatible records.

Now some 40 years later the a working group from the community have found that MARC is ‘no longer fit for the purpose, work with the library and other interested communities to specify and implement a carrier for bibliographic information that is capable of representing the full range of data of interest to libraries, and of facilitating the exchange of such data both within the library community and with related communities.’

This call for change is echoed from tests of the Resource Description and Access (RDA) conducted by the National Agricultural Library, the National Library of Medicine, and the Library of Congress.

So when we read the statement from the Library of Congress we find ourselves drowning is a sea of acronyms and names. We are familiar with some we have no clue about others. So we are lucky to have been pointed to work that Jenn Riley has done which could be described as a ‘dummies guide’ to standards and their relationships, which we highly recommend and share links to below.

Read the Library of Congress Statement, October 31, 2011

Seeing Standards: A Visualisation of the Metadata Universe by Jenn Riley

Glossary of Metadata Standards by Jenn Riley

Glossary of Metadata Standards (poster form) by Jenn Riley

No comments: