Up until recently the world of bibliographic record supply has been fairly stable. The suppliers, practices and workflows currently used by libraries in their cataloguing and acquisition processes evolved twenty or so years ago and have changed very little since.
Over the last couple of years we have seen the beginnings of possible change in this area. Open Library launched with the mission to provide an openly available page for every book. (Taking a preview look at their new interface at upstream.openlibrary.org, it is clear that they are expanding that to include a page for every author and subject.) Then, the recently acquired by PTFS, LibLime entered the field with their ‡biblios.net service offering low-cost cataloguing and record sharing service. More recently still Sky River launched its service offering a alternative services to incumbents such as OCLC, claimed to be of lower cost and higher quality, with no restrictions on record reuse.
All this has been happening against the background of OCLC going through very public issues around its record reuse policy.
Joining Gang regular, Ex Libris CTO, Oren Beit-Arie and myself on the call we have two very relevant guests for this topic. Karen Coyle, who joined us last month to talk about the Semantic Web, also has close association with the Open Library so is ideally placed to talk about their influence. Leslie Straus, Sky River President, also joined us providing an overview of the services they are offering and the drivers behind them.
Another fascinating discussion that concluded that we are probably on the cusp of significant change in the way libraries obtain, manage and then expose bibliographic data. There was also recognition that the natural risk aversion from libraries has the effect of holding back the speed of change in such areas, which may mean that drivers from non-library bibliographic sources could gain influence.
A note from the Chair:
At the end of this month’s show I announced that the next Library 2.0 Gang will be my last one. Because of my increasing evangelism commitments around rapidly developing technologies such as Linked Data and the Semantic Web, I cannot continue to give the focus to the Gang, and the topics it covers, that it deserves.
I also indicated that, as yet, there are no fixed plans as to if and how the Gang will continue after then. If anyone has suggestions or proposals for continuing the Gang, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both Talis and I will be happy to support any initiative to continue the Gang and its reputation for relevant, topical, open, and often fun, discussion of libraries and the technologies that influence them.