OCLC’s report defining several types of “Born Digital” mediums is an example of the need for clarity and specification when collaborating on topics. Before you can talk about a topic you have to make sure that everyone is on the same page of “what” is being discussed. OCLC’s report attempts to do just that by defining different types of born digital mediums. That OCLC produced the document is a mark in its favor as OCLC is respected in the library and information science community.
However, in a document with the stated purpose of providing definitions of terms more specific language with given examples could be helpful. For instance, I am still somewhat at a loss as to what “Digital Manuscripts” actual means. Are they draft copies of unpublished books and articles or something different? Apparently they may grow or “accumulate” during the life of the donor, but I am still unclear as to their nature. Perhaps, as this document was produced by OCLC, it was intended for information professionals who would already have a limited understanding of the terms. However, such an assumption would appear to severely limit the usefulness of the document.
The research article performed by Jeonghyun Kim et al. in “Competencies Required for Digital Curation: An Analysis of Job Advertisements” is a useful compilation of what employer’s are looking for when they ask for a digital curator. More than that, the article looks at the emerging concept of digital curation, what it is coming to mean in the job market, and if the necessary competencies to perform it can be identified. I think what I find both so exciting and intimidating about this article is realizing how new positions like digital curator actual are. This article was published in 2013 to help create a list of competencies around which to build a program teaching those necessary skills. While curation is a core of information technology and has been the realm of Libraries and Museums for hundreds of years, bringing curation into the digital world requires forethought and imagination. Metadata is only one of the skills necessary for digital curation, and the list can be very daunting especially to young professionals like me. However, taking stock of the emerging opportunities and identifying the needs therein is both necessary and helpful.
Twitter gifted the Library of Congress it’s entire collection of Tweets in 2010. This is old news, I know, but it got me thinking. I remember sitting around the dinner table at college and laughing with my friends as they Tweeted that their words were going into the Library of Congress. Still, one has to wonder how these Tweets will be organized. Are they stored by date and by author only or is there a more sophisticated method of organization? In the article I read (G.L. “Library of Congress to Archive Twitter.” American Libraries 2010: 24. JSTOR Journals) the Library of Congress was aware of the need for finding aides to make the collection viable. The concept is mind boggling. How would you classify billions of Tweets? Cataloging at the Tweet level would be insane which makes me wonder what other methods might be used. Perhaps automatically generated Metadata pulled from the frequency of words might be viable, but the system still seems just too big to handle. Maybe I’ll have a better idea how to organize such a collection by the end of this class.
Nathan Torkington’s speech had an interesting metaphor comparing libraries to the company Microsoft. The general idea that libraries were not only not doing enough digitally, but that they are still on the “wrong foot” or old idea model was vivid and a little unsettling. I could relate to the concept that libraries are, in general, adding digital collections and access like special features on a somewhat outdated machine. Reimagining libraries for a digital setting is intimidating because, as with all new things, there is so much potential to go wrong. I’m excited to see how metadata helps shape libraries’ identities in a digital world. (Nathan Torkington’s 2011 speech can be found here)