A report by Elly Cope.
Just about a month ago I attended the 3 day European BIBFRAME workshop in Florence on behalf of the Cataloguing & Indexing Group Committee. I was there to learn more about BIBFRAME as we’ve all been hearing it mentioned for what feels like a very long time without getting much more detail and see if I could identify anyone who might be willing and able to provide some training or more information on BIBFRAME.
Well, I was successful on both those counts but the content of the workshops was broader than just BIBFRAME and there was a lot of talks about linked data and projects different libraries have implemented or are planning to implement. One indication of how much there was to take in was the fact that I ended up with 15 pages of notes, even with quite a lot of those being “SEE SLIDES!!” or “CONTACT X TO FIND OUT MORE!!”.
Day 1 was an overview and introduction to BIBFRAME. In his opening address the Chair, Leif Andresen, announced that we were truly international as we had delegates from 20 countries including Qatar and Canada! I was also relieved when we went round the room to find that I wasn’t the only one with just a passing acquaintance with BIBFRAME.
Sally McCallum from the Library of Congress kicked us off with an introduction to BIBFRAME, its history and plans for the future. They’ve expanded the pool of cataloguers trained in BIBFRAME cataloguing and are fully committed to working in BIBFRAME, with a target date of 2.5 years to fully adopt it. They are working very closely with Casalini Libri (our hosts for the workshops) on developing conversion and creation technologies and there was a talk by Tiziana Possemato from Casalini on the technical process they’ve developed for converting MARC to BIBFRAME.
Later in the day we heard from Niklas Lindström from the National Library of Sweden on their project to convert their catalogue to linked data. He raised the spectre that seemed to pervade all 3 days for me which is that even though it’s called linked data it’s actually proving rather difficult to share… He did also have the analogy of the workshop for me regarding their linked data project: it’s like Lego – they’ve managed to build the fire station and they may even be able to add the fire engine but they’re also very aware that there are helicopters, dinosaurs and knights out there too!
There were a couple of talks to round out the day on actual editing tools. Stanford University have a tool called CEDAR which anyone can play with as long as they create an account and it’s really good because you don’t need to have your own triple store! https://metadatacenter.org Bioportal: https://bioportal.bioontology.org Jodi Williamschen from the Library of Congress spoke about the BIBFRAME editor which is also available as open source and anyone can download it but you would need your own triple store and it’s not designed to be a public interface – she did describe it as “an editor only a catalog[u]er could love”!
Days 2 and 3 were much more focused on the workshop elements and we had several breakout sessions to discuss particular areas which seemed to come up repeatedly in the talks and questions. One big theme was how BIBFRAME and RDA will work together and the discussion included thoughts on mapping from RDA to BIBFRAME and then back again to see where the common areas are and the possibilities of creating an authoritative alignment so that everyone in the community could use the same mappings. The granularity of RDA was felt to be important as it would be possible to revise it to simpler models if necessary. The other key theme for me was the issue of training and how people can access it without each library who wants to take on a project having to reinvent the wheel. A document containing resources has been added to the ‘Work in progress’ folder in the European BIBFRAME Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/100PmbDIgFMwnOJNcixYLNbDP4KH6_USg
All the presentations can be found on the website: http://www.casalini.it/EBW2018/
In amongst all the work there was an opportunity to admire some amazing Florentine architecture – our venue was a villa that is now a campus for the European University Institute and we got to visit the former headquarters of Casalini Libri and actually climb the Torro rosso that features in their logo! The other delegates were fascinating and extremely helpful and I had some fantastic conversations with them – hearing about Switzerland’s plans to merge 5 union catalogues into 1 at the same time as implementing Alma was a particular highlight! This is an extremely valuable community and one I hope CILIP CIG and the UK community more widely can get more involved with in the coming years.