Monthly Archives: May 2005

All that is solid melts into flows ….

Like most people ;-), I tend to think about metadata as ‘schematized statements about resources’: schematized because machine understandable; statements because they involve a claim about the resource by a particular agent; resource because any identifiable object may have metadata associated with it. Metadata is useful because it relieves a potential user (person or program) … Continue reading All that is solid melts into flows ….

Cover story

Penguin book covers are iconic. There is a nice article by Peter Campbell on the design of Penguin books in the London Review of Books. This is on the occasion of a forthcoming exhibition at the V&A [V&A press release in Word]. Market forces made the covers both livelier and more intrusive: they became advertisements. … Continue reading Cover story

Wikis and WorldCat

Thom introduces our plans to pilot a mechanism to capture user input alongside bibliographic records. This will be first introduced in Open WorldCat later this Summer. The idea is to have a Wiki that complements WorldCat. People could add reviews, cover art, comments, etc. and relate these to bibliographic records (maybe at the FRBR work-level … Continue reading Wikis and WorldCat

Dewey and trivial pursuit

I read Nick Hornby’s The Polysyllabic Spree on a plane trip recently. It is built on a nice conceit: a month-by-month accounting of books bought and books read. My eye was caught by the following on page 128, as he wrote about some new acquisitions: But as I was finding a home for them in … Continue reading Dewey and trivial pursuit


For those puzzling over tags and tagging there is a useful entry on The Search Guy’s WebLog: Here’s an interesting fact upon which I’ll base the rest of my argument: people are horribly inconsistent when assigning keywords to documents. If you give two people the same document and ask them to assign a set of … Continue reading Tagging


NISO commissioned a Blue Ribbon Panel, chaired by Cliff Lynch, to advise on its strategic planning process. [Full disclosure: I was a member of the panel.] The report of the Panel [pdf] is now available and makes compelling reading for anybody interested in how standards work is organized – or not organized – in our … Continue reading Standards

Preservation events

The PREMIS Working Group has published the Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata: Final Report of the PREMIS Working Group. Find the report and its components on the PREMIS project web page. This group was chaired by Priscilla Caplan and Rebecca Guenther and supported by Brian Lavoie and Robin Dale. They have completed a major piece … Continue reading Preservation events

A roundup of repositories

UKOLN have made the presentations from the DELOS Digital Repositories: Interoperability and Common Services workshop available. This provides a useful roundup of repository initiatives. Depending on your perspective you might admire the interesting range of work underway, the convergence on particular technologies, and the welcome reuse of software and tools, or you might be concerned … Continue reading A roundup of repositories

The challenge of research data

The curation of research data poses an interesting question for those contemplating the future of research libraries. It is another of these areas where a local response will co-evolve with developing systemwide responses, where the ‘system’ in qestion may be the parent institution, a disciplinary focus, a national research infrastructure, or a large scale multi-institutional … Continue reading The challenge of research data

Who is the catalog for?

The current discussion about the catalog and its centrality or otherwise prompt me to repeat a passage from my favorite example of the library in literature. This is from Robert Musil’s The man without qualities. Chapter 100 of this novel is General Stumm invades the State Library and learns about the world of books, the … Continue reading Who is the catalog for?