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Excerpts from OLAC 2015-03 newsletter on #BIBFRAME and Zepheira training

2 min read

Came across an interesting peek behind the walls of Zepheira training around BIBFRAME in the OLAC March 2015 newsletter (page 21). On the current training model:

Thus far, there have been a number of surprises. First, institutions are paying for a semi-structured training model where Zepheira is learning from participants to improve and refine future trainings. This has some disadvantages, one being that Zepheira does not really provide feedback to participants, but receives feedback for their product. Second, all were surprised that BIBFRAME is not nearly as done as expected.

There is a lack of consensus as to what BIBFRAME is supposed to be doing. Library of Congress is doing their thing, OCLC theirs, and Zepheira theirs. It was seen in general that in this mix Zepheira is being paid to fine tune their product. This process is just not as open as everyone thought it would be.


However, some of the information in the presentations is out of date and not well produced. It is clear that a definite pedagogy is missing. In its current format, the majority of people would not recommend this training, which needs to be restructured. In short, because of its cost, this training may not be available to all.

I certainly have empathy for Zepheira; it has to be challenging to pull together a solid training regimen when the technology (both the vocabulary and the tools to support it) is still being developed. But if the best and the brightest, leading edge practitioners in the field of cataloguing are coming away disappointed, that's a bit of a blow to the future adoption of BIBFRAME.

Here's hoping future iterations of the training do better.

(Thanks to Jennifer Strover who tweeted about the OLAC newsletter content!)

Update 2015-03-14: Looking at this post again in the clear light of the day, I realize that it reads more negatively than I intended. Zepheira has been great about sharing the tools that they've developed (such as BIBFRAME Scribe and pybibframe) under the open source Apache 2.0 license, and on the training sessions, I meant to say that, knowing some of the people at Zepheira, and how skilled and dedicated they are, I have no doubt that things will improve.