May 22, 2018

The People's Catalog

Alexis Rossi from the Internet Archive announced today on the code4lib list a demonstration version of a new Internet Archive service. Dubbed the Open Library (a name in use for several years as the moniker for the open access content the IA is digitizing), it has the modest aim of collecting "all the world’s information about all the world’s books and make it available for everyone to view and update." Yes, you read that correctly. Anyone is free to update the records, as you can easily verify for yourself.

Their stated aims includes creating "a product of the people: letting them create and curate its catalog, contribute to its content, participate in its governance, and have full, free access to its data."
Behind the scenes is their very own metadata schema to capture and store the information it gets from various organizations or individuals. Even taking into account that they state it is simply something "we threw together to get the demo up" it’s difficult to take it too seriously when something as basic as an author’s name is recorded in a single field, with no way to parse the first and last names. If you feel strongly about this kind of thing, join the discussion. After all, it’s your catalog.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.