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Webbifying Dewey

The estimable Lorcan Dempsey of the OCLC points to a presentation by Michael Panzer (also of the OCLC) about how to “webbify” the Dewey Decimal System.

The question Michael addresses is how to take the Dewey Decimal Classification system to the “networked level,” defined as “Infrastructural improvements to make a KOS [Knowledge Organization System] web-scale accessible, to make sharing, syndicating, leveraging of its data feasible.” He begins by scoping the problem. He then talks about the issues in webbifying the DDC, which he boils down to three: URI design, caption design, and format considerations.

He proposes a scheme for URI’s (which, especially in the condensed form of a PowerPoint presentation I don’t fully understand, but are probably beyond me even if spelled out), with examples such as Notice the DDC number after the “concept” designation.

Captions he acknowledges depend on context, and with Web services (Michael points out), one cannot always know the context in which one’s captions are going to be used. He also discusses the importance of maintaining the hierarchy, but the bullet points are too compressed. (Not a criticism. The PowerPoint deck wasn’t intended to be self-standing, and I don’t know enough to be able to fill in all the missing context.)

To the third point, he looks at adopting either the MARC 21 or (and?) SKOS formats.

As Duncan says, “This is part of an ongoing investigation of what it means to release more of the value of ‘classic large-scale vocabularies’ in a web environment.” There’s lots of info packed into Dewey’s system. How can we best liberate that info?

[Tags: dewey_decimal_system libraries kos michael_panzer]

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