Standards Watch

Libraries and Standards

I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to an important podcast interview by Scott Mace of Open Source Conversations with Karen Coyle. The interview is linked from Karen’s blog, “Coyle’s InFormation” at Like all of us who do most of our communication in writing, she found things to criticize in what she said during the interview, and the itch to edit her own words took hold. But don’t pay attention to Karen’s second thoughts—the interview ranges across an astounding number of topics: cataloging history and standards, ebooks, DRM, etc., and frankly I don’t know anyone else who can comment intelligently on all those topics.

Karen reminds us in the interview that libraries and librarians have been deeply involved in creating and using standards for more than a century. The world is certainly a lot more confusing than it was in Dewey’s day, and the standards development going on around us not always easy to track and understand. We should certainly take Karen as our model for involvement and take our place in that history.

You’ll see me make some specific suggestions for that involvement in this space, over the next few months.