Thursday, 14 February 2013

Metadata Update #13 Identifiers

So with all of the excitement of implementing RDA, holidays, lots of snow and going to ALA MidWinter, the Monday Morning blog is getting a little behind!  Better late than never.

Today's update is on the role of identifiers in our work.  Here's a nice little article from a Scientific American blogger than briefly discusses why identifiers in general are useful:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/information-culture/2013/02/07/on-identifiers-doi-isbn-casrn-ssn-issn-etc/

We already know how handy ISBNs and ISSNs are.  In an electronic environment where websites and publishers change from time to time, the introduction of the DOI has been a significant advance.  I wish that a field for the DOI would be introduced into MARC as a core element (where a DOI for an electronic document exists) and that it would be used consistently. 

Another type of identifier I wanted to talk about is identifiers for persons, places, organizations, meetings, etc.  In traditional terms, we think of these as authorized headings.  I was interested to hear at ALA about the various ways people are using the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File).  Even Wikipedia is using it!  I think that we still have a way to go in terms of developing an internationally recognized and used authority file but I thought that it was a fascinating development to hear that authority files are being using on the web, outside of MARC and beyond the traditional library context.  Finding information got just that much easier....  I’m all for that.

One last thing that I found out at ALA.... people in private industry are head hunting metadata librarians.  Yikes, if I were an American and could just pack up and move to a major U.S. city, I could be working for a large multi-national right now.  That was a bit of a shock.  It got me to thinking....  There is value in standards based metadata.  People being able to find things means money to big corporations and this is becoming increasingly true as more people shop online or do other business in a virtual context.  That is certainly something to think about.