Archive for the “Future of Bibliographic Control” Category
Jeff Beall reposts some of the discussion on the MODS mailing list on the recently published draft of MADS/RDF. Beall wonders if the proposal, and the initial comments indicate that the entire semantic web effort is doomed. This may be an over-reaction.
I spent some time working on a formal analysis of the semantics of pre-combined/subdivided subject headings, and how they could be added in a downwards compatible way to SKOS. I had hoped to discuss the topic at the DC VOCAMP held at The Library immediately after ISWC 2009, but there was no-one at the camp who was interested in library vocabularies, I let the matter drop.
Since support for pre-combined headings are one of the major design goals of MADS/RDF, I have been looking quite closely at the initial draft. I am not yet ready to publish detailed results, but I wanted to take this chance to make a few quick notes on the initial draft.
There is a quick change that could make it easier for others to evaluate the proposed ontology. Currently, the URI/IRI of the ontology is “http://id.loc.gov/ontologies/mads/2010/11″. At the moment does not resolve as a URL. Also, the name is slightly different from current usual practice. Ontology URIs are typically of the form …/<Year>/<Month>/<Name>; the MADS IRI is in the form …/<Name>/<Year>/<Month>. This encourages some common tools, such as Protege, to abbreviate the ontology name as “11″.
- The SKOS mappings are imported as part of the reference ontology; however due to problems in naming, this may not show up correctly. It might be better to include the axioms in the mapping file directly in the main ontology.
- The SKOS mappings are incomplete; it is possible that concentrating on narrowing the differences between SKOS and Standard(NISO Z39.19)/Library KOS semantics would give an end result that should be more useful for use by The Library.
- The current draft was created without support from an ontologist or owl expert. There are several problems in the modeling that result from this lack of resourcing. For example, there are several places where a constraint or restriction is given in a comment that could readily have been represented in OWL, and many properties are not fully or properly specified. There is a big difference between the ontology design and schema design, and without support resources, it is easy to fall in to some common anti-patterns.
- The current draft was created without ready access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the Cataloging COI. As a result, the ontology may not adequately represent the problem domain, and may make it harder to extend so as to support LC rules and policy on subject heading formation. When modeling any complex area, regular interaction with relevant SMEs is essential throughout the process, both for knowledge elicitation and model validation. Early, regular review of the ongoing work by MODS/MADS Editorial Committee may be helpful.
- The current draft does not define the semantics of pre-combined headings; there are different possible interpretations, but none are discussed, and some inferences appear to be common across all readings.
- Given known data errors in the syndetic structure of LCSH (see e.g. LCSH is to Thesaurus as Doorbell is to Mammal), it may better to devote resources to correcting these issues before deepening the semantics of exposed Linked Data. This would make the LC vocabularies more reuseable in the web of data, as recommended in the Deanna Marcum’s ”Response to: On the record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group On The Future of Bibliographic Control“.
 Following Soergel, I prefer this term to “Pre-coordinated”
 I also worked on relating the to the implied ontologies inferable from Knowledge Organization Systems that used sub-types of BT relationship (BTG, etc) that are part of the international standards, and which were originally included in SKOS, but which were moved to an extension , then finally dropped and relegated to examples in the published recommendation.
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Translation party uses the Google Translate API to turn Machine Assisted Translation abuse into a one-click spectator sport.
They automagically translate an phrase from English to Japanese and back again until they reach an equilibrium, or decide that they’ve tried enough (sometimes they give up prematurely, but you can only beat a dead horse for so long (or as they would say “Only between the wild-goose chase“.
Sometimes, however, Translaton party discovers makes some remarkable discoveries.
In Gibbero Veritas
|A non profit corporation from dublin||In English
|Non-profit from Dublin||back into English
|禁煙ダブリンから利益を得る||back into Japanese
|Non profit from Dublin||back into English
|ダブリンから非営利||back into Japanese
|Profit from Dublin||back into English
|ダブリンからの利益||back into Japanese
|Profit from Dublin||And we have a winner
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In a case most similar to the landmark US case of Feist vs. Rural Telecommunications, the Federal Court of Australia has ruled in the case of Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd that mere sweat-of-the-brow does not reach the minimum level of creativity required to create copyright in compilations of facts. As with Feist in the United States, OCLC’s copyright claims on the Worldcat database would not seem to survive in Australia under this decision.
Commercial value not relevant in deciding whether copyright exists
(20)(8) … Copyright is not given to reward work distinct from the production of a particular form of expression: IceTV  HCA 14; 254 ALR 386 at  and . Accordingly, it is “unhelpful to refer to the ‘commercial value’ of the information, because that directs attention to the information itself rather than to the particular form of expression”: IceTV  HCA 14; 254 ALR 386 at  and .
Application of rules, no matter how skillfully is not enough to obtain copyright
Section (C) (6) seems especially applicable to some mistaken claims of copyright in bibliographic records; as in Batlin v. Snyder, <<the requirement of originality [cannot] be satisfied simply by the demonstration of “physical skill” or “special training”>>
(162) As the evidence shows, the person or persons who utilise the Rules and who, therefore, are submitted by the Applicants to be authors of the Works, do not exercise either “independent intellectual effort” or “sufficient effort of a literary nature” to be considered an author within the meaning of the Copyright Act.
(163) First, it is the Rules that prescribe the particular form of expression of the Works, not any individual person alone or in collaboration with others. The Rules control the content of each Work. The various computer systems generate and control the choice of the content on the basis of the Rules and are responsible for ensuring the vast majority of their valid application. In some circumstances the Rules expressly prohibit certain content.
(164) Secondly, even where there is any level of human “discretion”, it must be exercised in accordance with the Rules. There is no independent effort, let alone such effort being intellectual. There is no effort, let alone sufficient effort, of a literary nature. I reject the Applicants’ contention that there is judgment or discretion used in selecting the material for inclusion. The Rules prescribe, presume and prohibit the actions of the contributors. What choice there is, is the choice given by the Rules, not by any person or persons.
(165)Thirdly, even if the judgment or discretion of the kind asserted by the Applicants was “independent intellectual effort”, it is not relevant intellectual effort. I reject the Applicants’ contention that the relevant intellectual effort involved is in understanding and applying the Rules. The “independent intellectual effort” required must be directed to the creation of the Work: IceTV  HCA 14; 254 ALR 386 at . Such skill and judgment, on the facts, is not directed to the creation of each Work but to the application of the Rules. Moreover, the “work” undertaken by many of the Sensis workers, is work directed (at least in part) to the maintenance and operation of the Genesis Computer System and associated computer systems (including the Genesis database) which is accessed or used for a multitude of applications.
(166) Finally, even if it mattered, there is insufficient evidence about who created the Rules themselves. The Rules alone cannot be said to be an author for the purposes of the Copyright Act.
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In a short post on his web log yesterday, Lorcan Dempsey remarked on how few discussions on bibliographic data and cataloging contain any appeals to evidence, especially on matters of cost and value.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking for exactly the same material lately, and my experience of CSI:LIS has been equally frustrating.
The most useful articles on estimating a value for a bibliographic record I’ve found so far were [Mat00] and [Mat01]. Even these articles used a model of value that I’m not entirely comfortable with – I was looking for a more marginal approach that could be used to estimate the economic effect of rule changes in terms of deltas to recall, precision, and cost of indexing.
I asked Don King if he could suggest any recent papers on the topic, and he looked sad too.
In other areas of the disciple there does seem to be more support for the practice of Evidence Based Librarianship (EBL); indeed the field now has its own journal – Evidence Based Library and Information Practice [EBLIP].
There is also an annual conference (called unimaginatively The International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference). The 4th conference in the series was hosted by UNC Chapel Hill this past May; the conference web site and full papers are available at http://www.eblip4.unc.edu/. The next conference is not scheduled until 2009.
There is an EBL wiki at http://eblibrarianship.pbwiki.com.
Despite it’s genesis from the field of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), EBL has yet to spawn its own musical genre. Would Front 245 be a good band name?
[EBLIP] Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, available at http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP
[Mat00] Joe Matthews, The value of information in library catalogs., Information Outlook 4 (2000), 18.
[Mat01] _____, The value of information: The case of the library catalog., Technical Services Quarterly, 19 (2001), no. 2, 1–16.
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Treat headings as concepts, not strings
- Treating the authorized form of a heading as just one kind of label for a concept allows for the use of other kinds of labels without requiring any changes to bibliographic records.
- Translations of the headings into foreign languages allows non-native English speakers to browse more easily.
- Bermanization of the headings into regular English allows native speakers to do likewise.
Improve the syndetic structure of the headings
- Assign broader terms to all non top-level terms.
- Convert BT references that do not correspond to genuine broader terms to plain RT. Where such a change would leave a term orphaned, add a broader reference to a true parent.
- Support more types of semantic relationships between terms.
Establish name-like headings using name-like procedures
- It is far more expensive to establish entries as Subjects than it is to add entries that are Names.
- Names can be established without direct LC intervention, whereas subjects require much more centralizedevaluation.
- Examples of name-like headings include(a) Fictitious characters.(b) Famous animals.(c) Models of calculators.
Establish patterns, rather than instances of patterns
- Creating explicit patterns in a machine processable form can greatly reduce the number of headings that need to be separately established.
- Common relationships implied by patterns can be automatically inferred, rather than having to be explicitly enumerated in each case- thus avoiding many inconsistencies in the current headings.
- As the syndetic structure of the headings is repaired, constraints upon the types of concepts to which patterns can be applied can automatically be enforced, and implicit patterns embedded in currently established headings detected.
Separate out domain speciﬁc vocabularies
- If domain speciﬁc vocabularies are separated from the general headings, their administration can be distributed to other committees or bodies.
- By delegating these vocabularies to domain experts, the headings can be made more speciﬁc and better adapted to the needs of communities of practice.
- As the syndetic structure is repaired, delegated vocabularies can be anchored to speciﬁed broader terms within the general headings, allowing systems that only wish to deal with such general headings to collapse the delegated subtrees to the anchoring term.
Create a wiki-like system for heading maintenance
- A social approach to heading maintenance enables a distributed approach to building relationships between terms.
- By simplifying the creation of new headings, such a system can encourage the use of speciﬁc, narrow headings.
- As long as these proposed headings are linked to established broader terms, they can be treated by systems only wishing to deal with established terms as if they were the broader terms.
- If subject headings are stored as links, rather than strings, rejected headings can be converted to those which achieve currency.
- Any social system for headings must track the provenance of proposed headings, and clearly distinguish between established and non-established terms.
Support standards that scale beyond the catalog
- Move away from library-speciﬁc formats.
- Move towards general standards, such as Dublin Core, CIDOC, RDF, SKOS, and OWL.
- Design standards to allow ordinary people to create basic records for web sites, articles, etc.
- Specify standards in a modular fashion, so that intricacies that only apply to specialized formats such as sheet music do not complicate the description of simpler items, such as novels.
Develop tools to support metadata creation
- Automate as much of the task of metadata creation as possible, allowing humans to concentrate on tasks that require deeper semantic understanding.
- Develop tools to assist naive users to create valid records.
- Develop tools to assist expert users to create better records faster.
- Develop algorithmic and heuristic validation routines for as all metadata ﬁelds.
- Whenever possible, check data against authority ﬁles automatically.
Support linked and networked bibliographic data
- Support incremental change records.
- Maintain references to authorized ﬁelds as links rather than strings.
- Support multi-leveled compound works, and generalized work clusters.
Support open access to bibliographic data
- Bibliographic data are “mere facts”, and thus cannot be copyrighted within the United States.
- No ﬁnancial model predicated on ownership of such records is sustainable.
- Claiming ownership of bibliographic records removes them from the realm of the social.
- Providing open access to catalog and authority records will encourage their use on the wider Internet.
- The Library of Congress is required to charge for its cataloging distribution on a cost recovery basis, even though this cost model is not eﬃcient and harmful to the Library’s larger mission.
- Congress should permit the Library to distribute bibliographic records free of charge.
Open cataloging is social cataloging
- Under current models of shared cataloging, fees are paid to download copies of individual records.
- When errors are detected in these downloaded records, they are typically corrected in the local system only.
- Because a fee has been paid to access these records, there is no social obligation felt to contribute corrections back to the source.
- Locally changed records are much more expensive to maintain than those which are retained unchanged.
- Just as the open source model allows ordinary users to ﬁx and enhance the software they use, open cataloging allows changes to be contributed back to the community, improving the quality of records for all.
- Because open cataloging takes place in a social environment, social conventions can be used to solicit improvements in existing records.
- As an example, a social catalog can periodically ask a user who is requesting a record, and who has the described item in hand, to cross-check a few select ﬁelds.
Metadata should be created at the most appropriate point in the life of its data
- Records for books should be created by publishers.
- Records for journals should be created by the sponsors.
- Records for articles should be created by authors and their institutions.Name authority records should be created as early in an author’s career as possible, for example, on publication of their ﬁrst article in a peer-reviewed journal.
- Authors should be able to update their own authority records.
- The purpose of cataloguing is to guide a reader to his book.
- Any aspect of cataloguing that does not support this task is superﬂuous.
- Any aspect of cataloguing that inhibits this task is harmful.
- A catalogue is a biologically enhanced information retrieval system.
- Readers are familiar with other information retrieval systems, and will use the tools which, based on past experience, they believe to be most eﬀective for their needs.
- A library may not injure a reader, or through inaction allow a reader to come to harm.
Prologomena :- AI,LIS.
Oops – I messed up the opening pun, turning the obscure into the totally incomprehensible:
Prolog (AI Language) + Prolegomena (to cataloging and classification) = Prologomena, not Prologema
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