It’s the data, stupid.


Posted On May 14 2008 by

I’ve generally steered clear of much of the debate surrounding Library 2.0.  Nevertheless, the catalog work I was involved in at NCSU (somewhat over-hyped as a “2.0 catalog”…as though anything new in libraries must now carry the 2.0 moniker), resulted in several speaking invitations where the invitors assumed I could speak knowledgeably about Library 2.0.

So like a good librarian, I did some research.  I read a lot of Tim O’Reilly.  I read a lot of Lorcan writing about 2.0 and O-Reilly.  I tried to put something together that juxtaposed basic 2.0 principles against the entire workflow of the library.  I will admit that what came out was a tiny bit mocking of the 2.0 meme, but I nevertheless kept coming back to O’Reilly.

In April 2007, he gave an interview where he accused much of the 2.0 crowd of missing the point.  I’ve been calling this the “It’s the data, stupid” quote:

“[There is] a major theme of web 2.0 that people haven’t yet tweaked to. It’s really about data and who owns and controls, or gives the best access to, a class of data.” (full context)

I think libraries should appreciate this sentiment.  I know my colleagues at OCLC do.  The conversations that I’m in are invigorating–look at what we can do with all these data!  Things like WorldCat.org  and Identities.  Now the next logical step, and echoing O’Reilly, how do we give the best access to it?  The Developers Network is taking shape, and intense internal discussions regarding use and transfer of OCLC-derived records is in full swing.  Stay tuned.

I love that the access discussion is happening; and I’m somewhat dismayed about the confusion over 2.0 leading to new discussions of 3.0 and 4.0.  Sheesh.  Before 3.0 takes hold, I’ll be focusing on the use of the data for more and better purposes.

Last Updated on: July 15th, 2016 at 7:38 pm, by Andrew K. Pace


Written by Andrew K. Pace


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