On 09/12/2013 0.04, Kelley McGrath wrote:
OLAC is attempting a project of this sort for film and video credits.
We are trying to teach a computer to recognize the names and roles
that appear in 245$c, 260+$b, 508 and 511 (and if we get really brave
maybe 505) and also connect them to the correct 1xx/7xx if present.
The current program, which uses natural language processing (NLP)
techniques, is reasonably successful with personal names and with
roles given in English. We are working on building a multilingual
vocabulary. It tends to choke on complicated statements that involve a
lot of corporate bodies.
I hesitate to bring this up because most probably everybody already
thinks of me as a purveyor of doom and gloom, but I still believe that
we must consider these things in realistic terms. Although the attempt
is laudable, I still say that we must first of all see through the eyes
of the users who would be interested in this kind of information. For
instance, if I am a regular user and I wanted to know the movies
directed by John Huston, what would be the first thing I would think of?
"Google it". I am sure almost everybody would. So I did a natural
language search: "what movies did john huston direct" and what happens?
is linked data in action!) We find that down below in the links area (at
least in the results I get), #1 is a link to John Huston in Wikipedia,
#2 goes to "Category:Films directed by John Huston" also in Wikipedia,
and #3 goes into his page at the IMDB (which I personally prefer). All
have lists of the movies he directed. This is incredibly easy to do and
free to all.
Putting aside for the moment the linked data result, the 3 links perform
exactly the same function as in the past when someone would ask a
reference librarian, "I need a list of the movies John Huston directed"
and the knowledgeable reference librarian would reply: "Here. You can
find the list in this book." and would hand the user the latest issue of
this title http://lccn.loc.gov/sn99044419 (or something similar) which
was very possibly shelved in the reference collection for quick and easy
Therefore, just as the reference librarian would take the user's
question and convert it into, "He needs to look in Film directors : a
complete guide", today a reference librarian would do the same thing but
answer/include, "He needs to look in the IMDB". Without any doubt, that
is the ethical answer for such a question and will remain so for a long,
long time in the future.
The huge difference is that today, people rarely consult reference
librarians. The librarian would already know that if you want to find
the films of specific directors, the library catalog is currently not
the right place to look for this information and when viewed
realistically, it never will be the right place. There is nothing at all
wrong with that. Not every tool is good for every use, just as if you
want the latest business news or to find out why your XML won't
validate, the best place is not JSTOR, and it never will be. That
doesn't mean JSTOR is no good--it just means that you have to look in
other places for that kind of information. Today, the correct place to
look for the films people have directed is the IMDB or perhaps a few
other places on the web. We are *really lucky* that we have such options
for free today. The reference librarians would be able to help the
searcher in these directions *if* they were asked, but sadly, that is
happening less and less.
So, adding the relator codes automatically will still demand manual
cleanup, perhaps (probably) on a massive scale, if it is ever to become
as good as IMDB is *right now*. I suggest that the correct method for a
library catalog is to lead the person to the *right resource* that he or
she wants and perhaps even do it *better* than Google. In this case of
film directors, I find it very difficult even to imagine how we could do
better than Google because the Google search works so incredibly well.
Perhaps a film librarian could discover that the IMDB and Wikipedia are
incorrect or incomplete. In that respect perhaps library efforts could
be better focused on improving IMDB and Wikipedia than adding relator
There is also the option that the library catalog could interact with
the IMDB (and/or Wikipedia) using the APIs.
This opens up a highly pertinent question for me: I don't even know what
a library catalog is supposed to provide in today's semi-total
information environment. This is a great example. We can't ignore these
wonderful sites. What should the catalog do today?
James Weinheimer weinheimer.ji...@gmail.com
First Thus http://catalogingmatters.blogspot.com/
First Thus Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus
Cooperative Cataloging Rules
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