Monday, February 9, 2015

Report from the Jane-athon

I was fortunate enough to attend the "Jane-athon" pre-conference workshop at ALA Midwinter last month. Workshop participants were asked to choose among eight different groups with which to work, each group concentrating on a particular kind of Jane Austen-related material. Using the RDA-visualization tool created by Deborah and Richard Fritz (RIMMF3), participants generated RDA-compliant, linked bibliographic data for the different categories of materials, which included print and non-print versions of Jane's works; film and TV adaptations; literary and other adaptations; sequels, prequels and spinoffs; translations; biography and literary criticism; and realia such as games, dolls and tea-towels. For two and a half hours, the room was a hive of activity as the various groups created their linked data and tried to figure out how to designate the relationships among Jane Austen, her works, and the works being cataloged. The realia group wondered how to describe the relationship between Jane Austen and an item depicting her. Finding no relationship designator in RDA for "depiction of," they settled for (but were unsatisfied with) "honouree." The translations group wondered what to do with a hypothetical aggregation of several French translations of a single Jane Austen work. Should there be such a thing as a "Super-Expression" to be used in such a situation? The Jane-athon put both RDA and the concept of linked bibliographic data to the test in a fun, hands-on way, with plenty of support from a group of experts who were on hand to facilitate and answer questions. This was a terrific learning experience; in a post-workshop evaluation form, I said that it was one of the best continuing education programs I had ever attended. The Jane-athon organizers have expressed interest in holding similar events in other venues. I hope they are able to maintain their momentum and bring this valuable learning experience to many more who seek a deeper understanding of library linked data. You can find more information about the Jane-athon and RIMMF at:

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