This committee has a huge task: to define the future of "bibliographic control." No one defined the term bibliographic control during this meeting, and in fact it was rarely voiced as a term. That may be for the better, because it describes something that libraries have traditionally done, and at least some people are suggesting that we shouldn't do it in the future. Thus the "future of bibliographic control" may be an oxymoron.
By the end of the day, however, none of us in the audience could have made a clear statement about the day's topic. The speaker who seemed most on track (and who was the most interesting, IMO) was Timothy Burke, professor of history. Burke talked about how he searches for information, but most importantly he talked about why he searches for information. Some examples he gave were:
- to find a single book to read on a topic that is current and popular
- to find a book that is 1) in print 2) affordable 3) that he can teach to
- to confirm a memory (what was that author's first name? did the title say "about" or "of"??)
When Andrew Pace showed the NCSU Endeca catalog, I could see some of Burke's dynamism taking place in the ability to get the information from different angles. Pace, however, began his talk by explaining that the catalog was designed to work with the data that they had, that is, standard MARC records. See his wishlist at the end of his talk.
Two speakers made specific comments about problems with MARC. Bernie Hurley showed that much of the detail of MARC is never used, and at the same time that creating indexes from the used fields is very complex because the data for a single index is scattered over many fields and subfields. (Think "title") Oren Beit-Arie of Ex Libris had a list of MARC problems, including the resource types (scattered throughout the LDR< 006,007,008), uniform titles (which he thinks are unnecessary), and internationalization, which MARC does insufficiently.
There was some interesting discussion about full text. Dan Clancy, of Google Book Search, talked about the difficulties of doing ranking with full text books. He stated that Google does not organize web information - the web contains its own organization in the form of links and link text, which give you both the connection between documents and the context for that connection. The main revelation in this talk for me was that they are experimenting with full text scans for de-duplication. This is intriguing when you think about how you could map "likeness" when you have the full text and the images in a large body of books.
Some brave statements were made:
Burke: we may have to forget about backward compatibility
Hurley: we have to simplify the MARC format
Pace: we need a faceted classification system, not the "facets" in LCSH
Beit-Arie: we need to split the end-user services from the back-office systems
It was a provocative day, and although there wasn't a lot that was really new it was interesting to see that there is some commonality of thought coming from what are essentially different perspectives. As I process more of this, I will add ideas from this day to the futurelib wiki so we can work with them there.