It's not that it's cool to hate on OpenURL, but if you've really
worked with it it's easy to grow bitter.
Well, fair enough. Perhaps what I'm defending isn't OpenURL per se, but rather
the concept of being able to transport descriptive assertions the way the 1.0
The reason that context-sensitive services based on bibliographic
citations comprise 99% of all OpenURL activity is because:
A) that was the problem it was originally designed to solve
Yes, right. And neither libraries nor vendors moved past this when 1.0 came
out for the reasons described (too complex, no immediate use cases).
The barriers to entry + the complexity of implementation almost
guarantee that there's a better or, at any rate, easier alternative to
Let me be clear: I am *all* for a better system — even the first RSS specs were
fragmented and crappy, which led to Atom. But for the time they were around,
they were useful, if kludgy. My only point (and I think, Jonathan's) is that
OpenURL, for better or worse, *exists* and *works* now, if not ideally. If it
sucks, the onus is on us, I think, to improve it or produce something better.
The difference between OpenURL and DublinCore is that the RDF
community picked up on DC because it was simple and did exactly what
they needed (and nothing more).
Actually the difference between OpenURL and DC is that one is a transport
protocol and one is a metadata schema. :-) But I get your and Mike's point
about OpenURL 1.0 being too complicated for librarians to bother with.
All of this to support vapour use-cases that no-one has taken
advantage of because no-one ever needed to do that stuff. So the sum
achievement of OpenURL 1.0 has been (A) to fill people with fear of
what used to be a very useful and perfectly straightforward
specification, and (B) where implemented at all, to balkanise
Sounds a lot like Z39.50, to me, actually. I guess I just see this as a classic example of
librarians (and of course I'm generalizing) sitting with a tool-in-hand and saying "this isn't
good enough", tossing it in the trash, and then lamenting the lack of tools for doing useful
things. Sort of like MODS (for those on the NGC4lib list). I know we're supposed to be
pragmatists on C4L, but do we just relegate ourselves to doing "stuff we need to do", or
pushing our existing tools to experiment?
You don't *have* to use the KEVs with OpenURL, you can use anything, including
eg. Dublin Core.
So long as you don't mind that only 0.01% of the world's OpenURL
resolvers will know what to do with them.
Absolutely. So how about we build some better resolvers and do useful and
interesting new things with them? Like, Twitter annotations. :-)