I ran across this today (on boing boing, of course)
So basically the point is that web resources are great and instead of trying to change the behaviors of searchers, we ought to go with the flow. So he proposes making a standard Wikipedia template that includes a link to your local library. And my initial thought is, okay, cool. But I was thinking about it in terms of this week’s content, and of course, the reason it works, and I’m not all the surprised by the fact that it does, is because of the enormous amount of standardization in library cataloging metadata. He can have a link that basically performs a single search in “insert your library here” and be reasonably assured that it will be a useful search. This is amazing.
I really think it helps to illustrate the distance that other standards have to go. For me, what really struck me, was within a half an hour after reading this, a patron asked me if any of the Michigan eLibrary databases include articles in Fine Woodworking. No such thing as a federated search, of course, even among the four databases the state of Michigan offers as part of their eLibrary.
In other words, today, for me, was an object lesson in metadata standards, particularly controlled vocabulary, I suppose, but just in general. When it works, and we have Boing Boing’s own Cory Doctorow suggesting that it really might not, but when it does, it offers the ability to do things and build things on down the line that we might not even be able to envision a need for today. When it doesn’t, well, you just do a lot of typing and you are pretty likely to forget something.