Monday, February 9, 2015

MARC, Linked Data, and Human-Computer Asymmetry

Salo, Dorothea, "MARC, linked data, and human-computer asymmetry." Library journal, February, 2015

This article addresses the question of why libraries should find linked data a useful construct. The author reminds us that "everyone has discovered and rediscovered that designing data based solely on how it should look for human beings, without considering how computers may need to manipulate it, leases inexorably to ruinously messy, inconsistent data and tremendous retooling costs." In the end, "Given computer-friendly data, humans can instruct computers to produce human-friendly data displays, in addition to doing all the fascinating behind the scenes manipulation that fuels useful applications from search indexing to text mining."

The author ends the article by listing principles that distinguish data structures that work for computers from those that work only for humans.
  • Atomicity, also known as granularity
  • Consistency
  • Reliable, unchanging identifiers

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