The Bibliographic Connection

Last week Kate and I had the opportunity to talk with Jared Camins-Esakov, cataloger and founder of Biblionarrator. The system is based around the idea of scraping information from a bibliographic record and from elsewhere on the internet to give a narrative description of a book or item.

Though I haven’t had a chance to play around with the system, it looks like a very elegant way to augment bibliographic records and improve discovery. It seems like a very natural progression given the evolution in the way we search (natural language) and what we expect to find (information rather than items). In a similar vein is this recent article:

Joorabchi, A., & Mahdi, A. E. (2014). Towards linking libraries and Wikipedia: automatic subject indexing of library records with Wikipedia concepts. Journal of Information Science, 40(2), 211-221.

This is a very exciting project that explores the idea of uniting Wikipedia articles and catalog records from Worldcat based on subject. The idea is that the information contained in Wikipedia could work both ways, contributing to more robust or even automatic subject indexing for library records and also augmenting Wikipedia articles with relevant library resources. The authors built a sample dataset and found promising results in their initial testing.

While OPACs have long incorporated additional information drawn from online sources, the ideas of Biblionarrator and Joorabchi and Mahdi’s Wikipedia project may represent a diminishment of the barrier between OPAC and wild internet.