Jeffrey Beall, in his post about the results of a LITA survey on library standards, gleans the following:
More notable is the absence of Semantic Web standards from the answers to this particular question. Notice that SKOS, RDF, and SPARQL do not even appear in the “other” section of the survey response (see below).
The absence of Semantic Web standards among the several dozen responses to question 3 is very telling.
Telling what, though? Not necessarily very much. The survey question that Beall highlights is Are there particular library-oriented standards important to your work? That strikes me as a rather broad question. Important to one’s work now? In the future? In an ideal world where all metadata is easily slice-and-diceable by anybody?
If you’re a library technologist working with library data, MARC may well be the most important library standard to you right now — after all, it’s what we have for bibliographic metadata. What about the absence of Semantic Web standards? Well, linked data approaches are still experimental, but then, once upon a time, so was MARC. Suppose ALA had conducted a survey in 1967 (before the MARC pilot program had wrapped up) asking about important standards. The catalog card likely would have been identified as the most important technology for day-to-day work, while MARC would have been at the bottom of the list.
The survey is part of LITA’s efforts to become more active in the development of library information standards. If LITA is to achieve that, we need to not only look at and maintain the past, but more importantly, experiment for the future. I actually am not entirely certain what point Beall is trying to make, but if LITA were to focus on developing the MARC standard to the exclusion of experimenting with other ways of expressing bibliographic metadata, that would be a mistake.
The What counts as an important standard? by Galen Charlton, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.