Info Org Book Club

The Info Org Book Club was an informal reading-and-discussion group for Folger staff. It met roughly once a month between August 2015 and May 2016 to discuss and explore emerging trends relating to information organization.


  • All sessions will meet in the Board Room from 3:30 - 4:30 pm, unless noted otherwise. Cookies will often be provided.
  • Despite the name, we won't actually read full books; material for the group will include articles, videos, and sometimes tools (working from generous definitions of "texts" and "reading"). However, the method will be similar: read materials in advance, then discuss and/or explore them with colleagues.
  • The first three sessions will focus on linked data and BIBFRAME, topics currently looming large on the horizon for libraries. Future topics could include catalog data manipulation, markup languages (TEI, XML, etc.), Wiki systems and history, digital archiving, or any information organization-relevant topics that are of interest to Folger staff. We'll discuss this briefly at the first meeting, but please feel free to make any preferences known on the group's Talk page too.
  • Most sessions will be discussion-based, but some will be hands-on, to give participants a chance to experiment with new tools and programs.
  • Each session will consist of 2-4 texts to be discussed, and will usually include a few supplemental materials for anyone who wants to explore a topic further. If you are unable to attend a session, you can discuss a topic on the Talk page at any time.
  • The Info Org Book Club is meant to be a low-pressure space for exploration - both experts and novices are very welcome!

August 13th, 2015 (Thursday) - Linked Data 1

(Session one will include a brief discussion of administrivia to prepare for later sessions, and will then proceed to a discussion of linked data. )

Overview: what is linked data? What does linked data look like? How is it used? How could it be useful for libraries?

Introduction to Linked Open Data at Rare Book School (Eric Rochester)
Linking Things on the Web (Ed Summers)
BIBFRAME training at the Library of Congress - Module 1, part 1 (Semantic web and linked data concepts: a basic overview)

Supplemental materials:

Linked Data Design Issues (Tim Berners-Lee)
Introduction and Review of Linked Data for the Library Community, 2003–2011 (Virginia Schilling)
The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data (Gillian Byrne and Lisa Goddard)

September 3rd, 2015 (Thursday) - Linked Data 2 (RDF)

What is linked data, again? What forms does linked data take? How does RDF work?

Break On Through to the Other Side: The Library and Linked Data (F. Tim Knight)
An introduction to the Resource Description Framework (Eric Miller)
BIBFRAME training at the Library of Congress - Module 1, part 2 (Semantic data model: basic overview)

Supplemental materials:

Linking Things on the Web (Ed Summers, Dorothea Salo)
RDF linked data cataloguing at Oslo Public Library (Asgeir Rekkavik)
Introducing graph data (
Introducing RDF/XML (

September 24th, 2015 (Thursday) - [cancelled]

PLEASE NOTE: This session has been moved to Thursday, October 29th due to scheduling issues.

October 29th, 2015 (Thursday) - BIBFRAME (the Bibliographic Framework Initiative)

What is BIBFRAME? How does it use linked data concepts? (Is it linked data?) How can we start using BIBFRAME/transitioning from MARC?

Cataloger 3.0: competencies and education for the BIBFRAME Catalog (Allison Jai O'Dell)
The impact of BIBFRAME (Thomas Meehan)
Bibliographic Framework as a web of data: linked data model and supporting services (Zepheira for Library of Congress)

Supplemental materials:

Main Library of Congress BIBFRAME site
On BIBFRAME interfaces: the application of linked data in libraries (Allison Jai O'Dell)
BIBFRAME at the George Washington University, an early experimenter (Jackie Shieh)

December 10th, 2015 (Thursday) - History of the library catalog

How has the library catalog evolved? How has this impacted scholarship and/or other library practices?

Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure: revisiting cataloging in medieval libraries (Beth M. Russell) [pdf]
Library Bureau catalog excerpt (pages 13-19)
Catalog design, catalog maintenance, catalog governance (Mary K. Bolin)
MARC, its history and implications (Henriette D. Avram)

Supplemental materials:

Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) Program (Henriette D. Avram)

February 4, 2016 (Thursday) - Wikipedia

What are wikis? How did Wikipedia become the powerhouse it is today? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Wikipedia? What role do libraries and librarians play in the wiki-sphere?

Introduction to wikis (Feasibility study of a wiki collaboration platform for systematic reviews)
Can history be open source? Wikipedia and the future of the past (Roy Rosenzweig)
The decline of Wikipedia (Tom Simonite)
Why does Google say Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? (Mark Graham)

Supplemental materials:

History of Wikipedia (Wikipedia)
History of wikis (Wikipedia)
Wikidata: a free collaborative knowledgebase (Denny Vrandečić and Markus Krötzsch)
Legitimacy and efficacy: the blackout of Wikipedia (Ayelet Oz)

March 3, 2016 (Thursday) - Non-U.S. bibliographic description traditions

How do non-U.S. bibliographic description practices differ from U.S. practices? How much have local traditions been influenced by U.S./Western policies and practices? What values are consistent across varying descriptive traditions?

"Cataloguing and classification education and training in library and information science/studies in South Africa, Brazil and the USA" (Dannis N. Ocholla, Lyudmilla Ocholla, Hope A. Olson, Jeannette R. Glover, and Jose Augusto Guimarães)
"Historical aspects of cataloging and classification in Iran"]] (Poori Soltani)
"The status quo and future development of cataloging and classification education in China" (Si Li)

Supplemental materials

"History of survey, acquisition and cataloguing of manuscripts in India" (National Mission for Manuscripts project)
"Cataloguing in Sri Lanka" (Piyadasa Ranasinghe)]
The entire collection of Papers of the 4th IFLA Meeting of Experts on an International Cataloguing Code, Seoul, Korea, August 16-18, 2006 is worth browsing, if you're interested in reading further on this topic.

May 5th, 2016 (Thursday) - Metadata outside the library

PLEASE NOTE: This session is a conglomerate rescheduling of the sessions originally scheduled for April 14th and May 12th.

Why Can't Streaming Services Get Classical Music Right? (Anastasia Tsioulcas)
There Is A Subtle Power Struggle For Control of Music Metadata (Vijith Assar)
Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere (Kieran Healey)
Three Cheers for Embedded Metadata (Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig)
What is EXIF Data and How Do You Remove it from Your Photos?

Supplemental materials

Invisible Genres & Metadata: How Digital Services Fail Classical & Jazz Musicians, Composers, and Fans (Jean Cook)
I Know Where Your Cat Lives
The NSA's bulk metadata collection authority just expired. What now? (Ewan MacAskill) - good refresher on the NSA's metadata use