The OLAC project is a wonderful example of the ways people are finding 
imaginative ways to automate the creation of metadata.  Yes, there is much data 
in places like IMDb and Wikipedia that duplicates data in library catalogs; and 
there is also much data in those resources that is unique to those resources.  
By the same token, there is also data in library catalogs that cannot be found 
in IMDb or Wikipedia.  The OLAC project will help greatly toward perfecting the 
semantic links between library metadata and data elsewhere.  It's visionary 
stuff like this that helps to further the advancement of information science 
and technology.

Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library<>
(847) 491-2939

Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!

From: Resource Description and Access / Resource Description and Access 
[mailto:RDA-L@LISTSERV.LAC-BAC.GC.CA] On Behalf Of James Weinheimer
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 6:35 AM
Subject: Re: [RDA-L] Automatically adding relationship designators (was Cost of 
Retrospective Conversion for Legacy Data...)

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? (This 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 (or something similar) which was very possibly 
shelved in the reference collection for quick and easy access.

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 codes.

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<>
First Thus
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