LIbraries ahead of the game

Tom’s been talking about metadata as it relates to libraries and cataloguers. I don’t know how much contact there is between web metadata people and library metadata people, but I get the distinct impression, having talked to him a bit, that a lot of the problems that people struggle with in our sphere were all solved a long time ago in theirs. This is the same as Dorothea Salo’s common complaint that some of the problems that the web are struggling with were solved a long time ago in the markup world, too. I don’t know how true this all is; there’s a big case of Not Invented Here around the web, true, and there are altogether too many people talking about “forging a new path through uncharted territory” and suchlike when it is all charted: we just haven’t bothered to look for the charts. On the other hand, I think that the people who are involved in all this stuff, the Sam Rubys and Tim Brays of this world, do know about all this prior art and they’re busy weaving it all together. I trust them to get it right.
On a different note, one suggested title for an “advocate of structured metadata” (quite why you’d want to advocate a different type of metadata, or no metadata, escapes me) was “metaphile“, which was rejected (among other reasons) because it might mean “one who is beyond being a lover“, “a lover of change“, or “King Aegeas“, who was married to Meta. That last one made me laugh, although I should probably be embarrassed about laughing at librarians’ jokes.

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