professional cataloging must adapt or die

You know it’s true. I’ve known Eli Jacobowitz since before he was born and now he’s a smartie techie type with a newish blog about technology and education. Though he admits “IANAL”, he has written a nice post about why cataloging both sucks and rules and talks about the future of cataloging in a world where there is much much more information than there is “trained professionals” to help people make sense of it. Ultimately, the answer lies in standards, and this librarians already know.

Eventually, robots might catalog for us. (Librarians shudder.) What we now know is just how far away that is – bot catalogers will need much better AI than currently exists. But in order for this project to even be possible, we have to make our data bot-readable. That means implementing some of the cataloging technologies invented and refined by librarians over the centuries.

We need to standardize meta-data format and content. Digital resources need not only meta-data but also meta-meta-data describing the standards they conform with. Catalog and search solutions need to read this information and pass it on when communicating with other systems.