Toward element-level interoperability in bibliographic metadata
The article “Toward element-level interoperability in bibliographic metadata” contains technical information about the quintessential problem of libraries wanting to interact with one another – interoperability. The authors give an example of what they call a “crosswalk” between metadata schemas, in this case ONIX and MARC, but they discuss crosswalks existing across many different sets of schemas. They identify though that this approach, while effective, is limiting due the crosswalk needing to be designed for whatever schemas are being transferred to and from. The need they identify is for a ubiquitous crosswalk or method of transferring metadata information from any schema to any other schema. To do this they go on to identify the basic processes needed to record input, process the translation from schema to schema, and finally to write the output in the desired format. The authors continue their examination of this crosswalk service examining the finer points and challenges associated with interpreting across standards not the least of which is the scope of description and the problem of elements not equating across schemas. I found this work fascinating due to the importance of such an endeavor to creating interoperable institutions which I believe is one of the most important tasks facing libraries along with digital curation. As demand for information increases it is assured that patrons will seek resources beyond the local scope of their library which necessitates their institution being able to operate functionally with outside institutions. The first step toward ensuring successful interoperation is the ability to effectively communicate across metadata boundaries.