“Names touch everything…”

“Names touch everything” came up early in the series of conference calls held with the Networking Names Advisory Group, prior to our meeting on November 17, 2008 hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And indeed they do.

Networking Names Advisory Group at the Met, 2008-11-17We learned, for example, from Suzanne Pilsk (Smithsonian) that there are “plant authors” – people who discover or name plants, but do not necessarily write the articles about them. The group came up with a large number of potential users and uses for the Cooperative “Identities Hub” – both as a type of “switch” that could link from and to various sources of names, and as a means to take advantage of social networking, where people could add, edit, and provide additional information about the names they found. Many categories of target audience could potentially do multiple functions:

  • Help manage their own information (and not just librarians, archivists, and museum curators, but data custodians of various ilks)
  • Contribute new or corrected information to names represented in the hub
  • Seek information about names where their own sources may be inadequate
  • We have a recent example of linking to names across domains. The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney added links from persons represented in their museum collection catalog to WorldCat Identities for information about their published works. My colleague Thom Hickey was able to point to an example in his recent talk at the National Library of Australia’s 2008 forum. Scroll down to the “Person” section in the right column you’ll see several with a [view on WorldCat] annotation. The link to the Bob Carr WorldCat Identities page gives additional context to the museum’s information.

    The group came up with five sets of use case scenarios: archivists, publishers, institutional repositories, aggregators and other types of repositories, and universities. We’ll be following up on our discussions and producing a report summarizing the recommendations.

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    About Karen Smith-Yoshimura

    Karen Smith-Yoshimura, program officer, works on topics related to renovating descriptive and organizing practices with a focus on large research libraries and area studies requirements.