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Re: Brainstorming: Key Issues

From: Emmanuelle Bermes <manue@figoblog.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 08:46:06 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=SMu1U+BpDJnWM_pgCny8A5Kt4c+UDAzO0FONP@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Young,Jeff (OR)" <jyoung@oclc.org>
Cc: Ed Summers <ehs@pobox.com>, public-xg-lld@w3.org
I would like to tell a story about that "surrogate" term (Antoine may
recall too...)

A few years ago, when we were first brainstorming about Europeana, we
decidedly stated that Europeana would not be another library
catalogue, nor another portal. We wanted to do something "more" with
the data, we wanted to be able to align our descriptions of objects
(which wouldn't be records) with a semantic layer describing "real
things" : works, creators, events, etc.
(All this may seem really familar to you all, but that was 4 years
ago, and quite new at the time.)

So, we came up with the idea of "surrogate". The surrogate was
something that was meant to express that Europeana was not hosting
digital objects themselves, but a representation of them, and this
representation had to be something more than just a record.

2 years later, the term surrogate failed and we gave it up. Why ?
- because the surrogate was initially meant to be conceptual, but
people kept trying to instantiate it and name it in the data, which
led to confusion
- because "surrogate" is a term that has no satisfying translation in
some languages (including french) and thus corresponds to no
ready-made reality for (at least some) non-native english speakers
Maybe there were other reasons that I don't remember.

I know that the world has changed a lot in the meantime, now we have
Linked Data, and a great deal of thoughts on resources and their
representations ([1] and its great summary at [2] ;-). But If we are
to choose "the" word that will make the shift from the record to the
graph, I would avoid surrogate.


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/cooluris/#distinguishing
[2] http://q6.oclc.org/2009/03/linked_data_a_l.html

On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Young,Jeff (OR) <jyoung@oclc.org> wrote:
> I think our notion of "surrogate" is destined to change from "record" to
> "concept". I suspect it will be a quiet revolution analogous to how our
> notion of LCCN changed over the years from "card number" to "control
> number" and now (for all intents and purposes) to "concept number".
> Jeff
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: public-xg-lld-request@w3.org [mailto:public-xg-lld-
>> request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Ed Summers
>> Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:25 AM
>> To: public-xg-lld@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: Brainstorming: Key Issues
>> There has been some really good content in this thread so far. I
>> really liked the point that Antoine and Jeff identified regarding what
>> pre-web libraries have traditionally called "surrogates" and the need
>> for such a notion on the web--in particular in the Linked Data space.
>> It is an extremely important point which will largely effect how well
>> library data will fit in with the Linked Data community, and the Web
>> in general.
>> I think this very specific point ripples out quite a bit, into how
>> vocabularies are used to describe library materials. Perhaps it is too
>> ambitious but I would like the final report to make recommendations
>> about what vocabularies are useful for making library linked data
>> available, and to identify places where new vocabulary is needed.
>> Kevin and Emmanuelle's point about needing to come up with a
>> compelling elevator pitch is also extremely important. I would like to
>> see some pretty clear language in the report describing a) why library
>> system developers might want to consider using Linked Data, and b) why
>> library professionals should make Linked Data support a requirement
>> when purchasing or developing systems.
>> //Ed
Received on Friday, 25 February 2011 07:46:39 UTC

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