Merrilee and I just sent a short strawman document for an upcoming invitational meeting on terminologies services to a very eclectic group of catalogers, digital librarians, visual resources curators, folksonomists, archivists and art librarians. We’ve had help from our OCLC Research colleagues Diane Vizine-Goetz and Andrew Houghton in preparing the document, and they’ll also join us for the meeting hosted by the Metropolitan Museum on September 12th. While the bulk of the strawman contains use cases for discussion and prioritization during the meeting, I thought the introductory paragraph gives a good idea of why we’re investing effort in this area:
Different communities and descriptive strategies share a common need to unambiguously identify a place or a person and to provide access points through subject terms or keywords. Activities surrounding the use of terminology resources could be raised to the network level through a series of services that support a range of activities including metadata creation, search formulation and optimization, and management of terminology resources as “local authorities” on the network. These network services can leverage the combined expertise and investment in description across libraries, archives, museums and visual resources to produce more authoritative records in a less expensive fashion. Terminologies services become the powerful building-blocks for entire records, especially if they provide access to authority records. When describing rare and unique materials, terminologies services could provide a measure of copy-cataloging economy by providing ready access to authoritative chunks of records.
We’ve asked all meeting participants to call three colleagues to help them think through the ideas presented and whittle away at our use-cases, so maybe you’ll get drafted!
We’ll make the full document as amended, expanded or trimmed by group-consensus available after meeting.