On Saturday morning, I attended 2 sessions.
The Challenges and Opportunities for Cataloging in Today’s Changing Metadata Environment
Sandy Chen, New College of Florida.
Chen started with the question: Must MARC die? She concluded, no–thanks only to XML which is breathing new life into MARC.
She then provided a broad overview of several metadata schema and crosswalks necessary to work back and forth among them.
Next, she provided an overview of FRBR and examined what OPAC display might be like under FBRR.
And lastly, she looked at FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology)–which I had never heard of. The easiest and quickest explanation I can provide is that it’s a new protocol which breaks LC subject headings into their constituent parts and treats each part as its own individual tag in order to facilitate the tagging of texts in an electronic environment.
I’d be happy to discuss this presentation in further detail with anyone who’s interested, but I imagine this will be limited to a small subset of Technical Services folks….
Mediawiki Open-Source Software as Infrastructure for Electronic Resource Outreach
Millie Jackson, Jonathan Blackburn, FSU
This presentation explained FSU’s nascent attempts to create wiki subject guides to replace their static subject guide web pages. They explained their choice of MediaWiki as their software choice and explained how they were providing wiki training to subject/outreach librarians at FSU. Plus, they commented on their fast roll-out–accomplished in only a month, and their need to develop a set of “best practices” to share among their colleagues in order to ensure a quality presence.
Furthermore, they discussed how their implementation doesn’t really fit the Wikipedia model in that only the subject/outreach librarians will have editing privileges. On the surface, this seems like a perfectly reasonable choice. But I have to admit that I had an epiphany during this presentation–but not necessarily from anything said during this one hour. Instead, I think it was a culmination of the entire conference which came to fruition during this final session.
And the epiphany took the form of a question–why not provide a true wiki for subject guides? Why not trust the user-generated content? Why position the librarian as the sole “expert” in this situation? As a profession, we are frequently lamenting the fact that we can’t seem to get professors to allow us to “partner” with them. However, in this instance, aren’t we being guilty of not being willing to partner with our users? Aren’t we constructing a barrier behind which we can claim a position of authority? Isn’t this what frustrates us about faculty?
Erik and I have been round-and-round about the idea of trust, and I’m finally ready to make that leap with Erik…. It’s time for us to open ourselves up–and trust our users.
It’s also time, on a larger scale, to stop doing things just because we’ve always done them.