What is in a Definition

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 Are they draft copies of unpublished books and articles or something different?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.



Where it all went wrong

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the concept that libraries are, in general, adding digital collections and access like special features on a somewhat outdated machine.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)