Monday, December 22nd, 2008

LCSH.info, RIP

LCSH.info, Ed Summers’ presentation of Library of Congress Subject Headings data as Linked Data, has ended. As Ed explained:

“On December 18th I was asked to shut off lcsh.info by the Library of Congress. As an LC employee I really did not have much choice other than to comply.”

I am not as up on or enthusiastic about Ed’s Semantic-Web intentions, but the open-data implications are clear: the Library of Congress just took down public data. I didn’t think things could get much worse after the recent OCLC moves, but this is worse. The Library of Congress is the good guy.

Jenn Riley put it well:

“I know our library universe is complex. The real world gets in the way of our ideals. … But at some point talk is just talk and action is something else entirely. So where are we with library data? All talk? Or will we take action too? If our leadership seems to be headed in the wrong direction, who is it that will emerge in their place? Does the momentum need to shift, and if so, how will we make this happen? Is this the opportunity for a grass-roots effort? I’m not sure the ones I see out there are really poised to have the effect they really need to have. So what next?”

The time has come to get serious. The library world is headed in the wrong direction. It’s wrong for patrons—and taxpayers. And it’s wrong for libraries.

By the way, Ed, we’re recruiting library programmers. The job description includes wanting to change the world.

See also: Panlibus.

Labels: library of congress, open data

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