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Libraries in a data-centered environment
Jakob Voß (GBV)
Ticer Summer School, August 22th, 2012
Prolegomena
The importance of Data
The importance of Libraries
Summary
Appendices
Section 1
Prolegomena
So what about the Cloud?
I It‘s a hype
I It’s a buzzword (cloud = bullshit)1
I Better know exactely what is referred to by “cloud”
Which notion of cloud do libraries refer to?
1
to impress and persuade, unconcerned with falsehoods (Frankfurt, 2005)
Three notions of the Cloud
Figure: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Figure: Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Figure: Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (aka “web application”)
I Software that you don’t have to install or update.
I Software that hides some of its complexity.
Any software is inherently more complex then the task it
automates. Don’t expect software to simplify anything!
Section 2
The importance of Data
Data vs. Applications
“Data matures like wine, applications like fish”
— James Governor
Data vs. Applications
I For immediate consumption
I Requirements and business logic change
I Technical developments and trends
I People’s requirements change
Data vs. Applications
I Can be used in different context and times, if it is well done:
I respect special properties of data
I respect different notions of data
Special properties of data
Bits can freely be rearranged. Eventually, data
I can be copied
I can be modified
very efficiently, without any traces or differences
between “original” and “copy”.
Special properties of data
Digital Collections and descriptions of data are data again.
Data challenges
This is where libraries are needed!
I Preservation
I Authenticity
I Provenance
I Identity
Data challenges: Preservation
I All data needs a carrier
I Unsolved problem in general, but established discipline
Data challenges: Authenticity
I Data modification leaves no traces
I Related to preservation but more about trust
Data challenges: Provenance
I Data copy leaves no traces
I Digital signatures and trust (again)
Data challenges: Identity
I A single bit changes the whole dataset
I Which modifications matter?
Three notions of data2
Data is also becoming a hype, so better know exactely what is
referred to by “data”.
I Data as facts
I Data as subjective observations
I Data as communications
2
As identified by Ballsun-Stanton (2012)
Data as facts
I Hard numbers, product of reproducible measurements,
scientific facts
I Used to reveal (the real) world
Data as facts in libraries
I Created by libraries
I Holding counts
I Patron information
I Formal metadata
I Collected by libraries
I research data
Data as subjective observations
I Product of recorded observations, sense-impressions that must
be filtered
I Used to construct (our) reality
Data as subjective observations in libraries
I Created by libraries
I Subject indexing
I User studies
I Analysis of publication trends
I Collected by libraries
I research data
Data as communications
I Transferred or stored sign, a container of meaning in form of
sequence of bits
I Used to describe (any) reality
Data as communications in libraries
digital objects, electronic resources, informational objects,
electronic publications, digital documents
I Created by libraries
I Publications you publish
I Collected by libraries
I Publications you collect
Data as communications/documents in libraries
A document is not information but a recorded “evidence in
support of a fact” (Briet, 1951),3 which can be any possible
statement. This notion somehow got lost in the history of library
and information science / documentation science (Ørom 2007).
I Advice: Don’t mess with data as facts or as observations but
treat them as documents, like other (digital) publications!
3
See Buckland (1997,1998) for an introduction.
Section 3
The importance of Libraries
What does a library do?
A library collects, arranges, and makes available (published)
documents (among other services) to meet user needs.
This should also apply to digital documents:
I collect data
I arrange data
I make available data
Collect data
Figure: Data needs care
Figure: How many libraries store digital objects
The eResource fallacy
Libraries that license eResources to be accessed from publisher
sites, limit their role to temporary, intermediary retailers.
I Advice: Data that cannot be copied and modifed is lost.
Libraries must actually collect and process digital documents
(or won’t be in the document business anymore)
Make available data
I Digital collections can be made available in different forms
and places at the same time
I The more libraries share digital document, the more they are
perceived as trustful sources of original versions.
Arrange data
I Availability implies methods to link and reuse content
I Reuse and connections are already done in documents
I Support linking, aggregation, processing (for instance as
Linked Open Data)
I Track changes when reusing (revision control)
Example: Annotations
Figure: Inkunabel
Figure: Neatline.org screenshot by David McClure, map tiles by Stamen
Design (CC BY 3.0), data by OpenStreetMap (CC BY SA), maps from
LoC Hotchkiss Map Collection
Section 4
Summary
The situation
I In the end all content will be digital – get used to it!
I Software is inherently complex and becomes obsolete
I Data is more important in the long term, if it can be used in
different context and time
I Simple access will not be the primary role of libraries
What’s the typical reaction to data in your institution? If data
activity is outsourced to “tech people”, would you also consider
outsourcing book activity to “book people”?
Care for data!
I Do what you do to physical documents
I collect digital document
I make available digital documents
I arrange digital documents
I Libraries can respond to the data challenges, because of:
I Trust
I Neutrality
I Persistence
I Focus on notion of data as communications instead of
digging into details of research data
I Ensure that documents can be used as data:
I copying must be possible and easy
I modification must be possible and easy
Where to start
I Collect digital publications!
I Start archiving public websites, blogs, mailing lists etc.
I Create and manage data/document repositories (see
yesterday’s talks)
I Invest in preservation
I Exchange digital documents with other libraries and initiatives
(see following talk by Herbert van de Sompel, LOCKSS. . . )
I Provide data as accessible as possible (Open Data)
I Publish your own digital publications
I Allow annotating and connecting with your digital documents
“Data that is loved tends to survive” — Kurt Bollacker
Section 5
Appendices
References
I Ballsun-Stanton, Brian (2012): Asking About Data: Exploring
Different Realities of Data via the Social Data Flow Network
Methodology. PhD thesis
I Briet, Suzanne (1951): Qu’est-ce que la documentation?
Editions documentaires, industrielles et techniques
I Buckland, Michael (1997): What is a “document”? In:
Journal of the American Society of Information Science
(JASIST) 48.9, pp. 804–809
I Buckland, Michael (1998): What is a “digital document”? In:
Document Numérique 2.2, pp. 221– 230
I Frankfurt, Harry G. (2005). On Bullshit. Princeton University
Press
I Ørom, Anders (2007): The concept of information versus the
concept of document. In: Skare et al. (eds.) : Document
(re)turn. Contributions from a research field in transition.
pp. 53-72. Peter Lang
Image credits and licenses
All images from Wikimedia Commons:
I construction.jpg CC-0 by Schweinepeterle (Rolf H.)
I cubicals.jpg CC-BY-SA by David R. Tribble
I mcdonalds.jpg CC-0 by Raysonho@Grid Engine
I wine.jpg CC-BY-SA by Rafael Garcia-Suarez
I fish.jpg CC-BY-SA by mahalie stackpole
I periodictable.png CC-0 by Cepheus
I droste.jpg CC-BY Zzubnik
I winecellar.jpg CC-BY-SA by Che (Petr Novák)
I cloud.jpg CC-0 by Sidik iz PTU
I regal.jpg CC-0 by Czarna Trucizna
I telescope.jpg CC-0 by C. Zorzi
I tree.jpg CC-BY-SA by Ji-Elle
I twins.jpg CC-0 by William Morris Agency
I earthquake.jpg CC-0 by Bert Cohen
I vermeer.jpg CC-BY-SA Kunstkenner2305
I clown.jpg CC-BY by Hamdan Zakaria
Got questions? Just Ask!
http://libraries.stackexchange.com
Q&A about libraries and information science
This presentation as digital document
Source code and images of this presentation are available at
https://github.com/jakobib/ticer2012 to be copied and
modified under CC-BY-SA license.
What about original data from libraries?
I Data not used as documents:
I facts: library data (holdings, patrons, loans, formal metadata)
I observations: subject metadata (descriptions)
I communication: your publications
I Can be used in other context and times
I Example: Authority files, connected via VIAF
I Good use of data refers to you as source and authority
I Advice: Provide as much as possible your original data and
documents. Just publish and care for this documents like any
other acquisitions.
Additional made-up quotes
I If libraries still care for documents, they have to care for data.
I There is no complete resource management system - the
library is the resource management system
I Librarians don’t have to read all books, but known all books.
The same applies to data: don’t understand all data as facts
and as observations, but understand data as publications.

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Libraries in a data-centered environment

  • 1. Libraries in a data-centered environment Jakob Voß (GBV) Ticer Summer School, August 22th, 2012
  • 2. Prolegomena The importance of Data The importance of Libraries Summary Appendices
  • 4. So what about the Cloud? I It‘s a hype I It’s a buzzword (cloud = bullshit)1 I Better know exactely what is referred to by “cloud” Which notion of cloud do libraries refer to? 1 to impress and persuade, unconcerned with falsehoods (Frankfurt, 2005)
  • 5. Three notions of the Cloud
  • 6. Figure: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • 7. Figure: Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • 8. Figure: Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • 9. Software as a Service (aka “web application”) I Software that you don’t have to install or update. I Software that hides some of its complexity. Any software is inherently more complex then the task it automates. Don’t expect software to simplify anything!
  • 11. Data vs. Applications “Data matures like wine, applications like fish” — James Governor
  • 12. Data vs. Applications I For immediate consumption I Requirements and business logic change I Technical developments and trends I People’s requirements change
  • 13. Data vs. Applications I Can be used in different context and times, if it is well done: I respect special properties of data I respect different notions of data
  • 14. Special properties of data Bits can freely be rearranged. Eventually, data I can be copied I can be modified very efficiently, without any traces or differences between “original” and “copy”.
  • 15. Special properties of data Digital Collections and descriptions of data are data again.
  • 16. Data challenges This is where libraries are needed! I Preservation I Authenticity I Provenance I Identity
  • 17. Data challenges: Preservation I All data needs a carrier I Unsolved problem in general, but established discipline
  • 18. Data challenges: Authenticity I Data modification leaves no traces I Related to preservation but more about trust
  • 19. Data challenges: Provenance I Data copy leaves no traces I Digital signatures and trust (again)
  • 20. Data challenges: Identity I A single bit changes the whole dataset I Which modifications matter?
  • 21. Three notions of data2 Data is also becoming a hype, so better know exactely what is referred to by “data”. I Data as facts I Data as subjective observations I Data as communications 2 As identified by Ballsun-Stanton (2012)
  • 22. Data as facts I Hard numbers, product of reproducible measurements, scientific facts I Used to reveal (the real) world
  • 23. Data as facts in libraries I Created by libraries I Holding counts I Patron information I Formal metadata I Collected by libraries I research data
  • 24. Data as subjective observations I Product of recorded observations, sense-impressions that must be filtered I Used to construct (our) reality
  • 25. Data as subjective observations in libraries I Created by libraries I Subject indexing I User studies I Analysis of publication trends I Collected by libraries I research data
  • 26. Data as communications I Transferred or stored sign, a container of meaning in form of sequence of bits I Used to describe (any) reality
  • 27. Data as communications in libraries digital objects, electronic resources, informational objects, electronic publications, digital documents I Created by libraries I Publications you publish I Collected by libraries I Publications you collect
  • 28. Data as communications/documents in libraries A document is not information but a recorded “evidence in support of a fact” (Briet, 1951),3 which can be any possible statement. This notion somehow got lost in the history of library and information science / documentation science (Ørom 2007). I Advice: Don’t mess with data as facts or as observations but treat them as documents, like other (digital) publications! 3 See Buckland (1997,1998) for an introduction.
  • 29. Section 3 The importance of Libraries
  • 30. What does a library do? A library collects, arranges, and makes available (published) documents (among other services) to meet user needs. This should also apply to digital documents: I collect data I arrange data I make available data
  • 32. Figure: How many libraries store digital objects
  • 33. The eResource fallacy Libraries that license eResources to be accessed from publisher sites, limit their role to temporary, intermediary retailers. I Advice: Data that cannot be copied and modifed is lost. Libraries must actually collect and process digital documents (or won’t be in the document business anymore)
  • 34. Make available data I Digital collections can be made available in different forms and places at the same time I The more libraries share digital document, the more they are perceived as trustful sources of original versions.
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37. Arrange data I Availability implies methods to link and reuse content I Reuse and connections are already done in documents I Support linking, aggregation, processing (for instance as Linked Open Data) I Track changes when reusing (revision control)
  • 39. Figure: Neatline.org screenshot by David McClure, map tiles by Stamen Design (CC BY 3.0), data by OpenStreetMap (CC BY SA), maps from LoC Hotchkiss Map Collection
  • 41. The situation I In the end all content will be digital – get used to it! I Software is inherently complex and becomes obsolete I Data is more important in the long term, if it can be used in different context and time I Simple access will not be the primary role of libraries What’s the typical reaction to data in your institution? If data activity is outsourced to “tech people”, would you also consider outsourcing book activity to “book people”?
  • 42. Care for data! I Do what you do to physical documents I collect digital document I make available digital documents I arrange digital documents I Libraries can respond to the data challenges, because of: I Trust I Neutrality I Persistence I Focus on notion of data as communications instead of digging into details of research data I Ensure that documents can be used as data: I copying must be possible and easy I modification must be possible and easy
  • 43. Where to start I Collect digital publications! I Start archiving public websites, blogs, mailing lists etc. I Create and manage data/document repositories (see yesterday’s talks) I Invest in preservation I Exchange digital documents with other libraries and initiatives (see following talk by Herbert van de Sompel, LOCKSS. . . ) I Provide data as accessible as possible (Open Data) I Publish your own digital publications I Allow annotating and connecting with your digital documents
  • 44. “Data that is loved tends to survive” — Kurt Bollacker
  • 46. References I Ballsun-Stanton, Brian (2012): Asking About Data: Exploring Different Realities of Data via the Social Data Flow Network Methodology. PhD thesis I Briet, Suzanne (1951): Qu’est-ce que la documentation? Editions documentaires, industrielles et techniques I Buckland, Michael (1997): What is a “document”? In: Journal of the American Society of Information Science (JASIST) 48.9, pp. 804–809 I Buckland, Michael (1998): What is a “digital document”? In: Document Numérique 2.2, pp. 221– 230 I Frankfurt, Harry G. (2005). On Bullshit. Princeton University Press I Ørom, Anders (2007): The concept of information versus the concept of document. In: Skare et al. (eds.) : Document (re)turn. Contributions from a research field in transition. pp. 53-72. Peter Lang
  • 47. Image credits and licenses All images from Wikimedia Commons: I construction.jpg CC-0 by Schweinepeterle (Rolf H.) I cubicals.jpg CC-BY-SA by David R. Tribble I mcdonalds.jpg CC-0 by Raysonho@Grid Engine I wine.jpg CC-BY-SA by Rafael Garcia-Suarez I fish.jpg CC-BY-SA by mahalie stackpole I periodictable.png CC-0 by Cepheus I droste.jpg CC-BY Zzubnik I winecellar.jpg CC-BY-SA by Che (Petr Novák) I cloud.jpg CC-0 by Sidik iz PTU I regal.jpg CC-0 by Czarna Trucizna I telescope.jpg CC-0 by C. Zorzi I tree.jpg CC-BY-SA by Ji-Elle I twins.jpg CC-0 by William Morris Agency I earthquake.jpg CC-0 by Bert Cohen I vermeer.jpg CC-BY-SA Kunstkenner2305 I clown.jpg CC-BY by Hamdan Zakaria
  • 48. Got questions? Just Ask! http://libraries.stackexchange.com Q&A about libraries and information science
  • 49. This presentation as digital document Source code and images of this presentation are available at https://github.com/jakobib/ticer2012 to be copied and modified under CC-BY-SA license.
  • 50. What about original data from libraries? I Data not used as documents: I facts: library data (holdings, patrons, loans, formal metadata) I observations: subject metadata (descriptions) I communication: your publications I Can be used in other context and times I Example: Authority files, connected via VIAF I Good use of data refers to you as source and authority I Advice: Provide as much as possible your original data and documents. Just publish and care for this documents like any other acquisitions.
  • 51. Additional made-up quotes I If libraries still care for documents, they have to care for data. I There is no complete resource management system - the library is the resource management system I Librarians don’t have to read all books, but known all books. The same applies to data: don’t understand all data as facts and as observations, but understand data as publications.