Standards Watch

Success and Failure

I was really looking forward to watching the webcast this afternoon of the recommendations of the Library of Congress’s Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (their website is at: It turned out that a lot of other people were planning on tuning in as well, and, from what I can determine, hardly anybody got to see much. I tried in vain for 30 minutes to get the streaming video to start, and finally watched a few minutes of Janet Swan Hill (most of which had her mouth totally out of sync with the audio). Then it died, and that was it. I saw some list postings that indicated that I saw as much as anyone, and more than some.

There is some success in this: LC is attempting to keep people involved in the process, and webcasting is a good way to do that, given the way the group operates. But having hundreds (thousands?) of librarians disappointed by the failure of the technology and perhaps discouraging them from reading the report and providing comments is not good either. I note that the webcast is all that’s offered so far as a mechanism to inform us: no slides were made available and the report is awaiting presentation to the LC staff before the rest of us get to see it. There’s nothing on the site indicating when we might expect slides or report, either. The comment period only lasts until December 15, which leaves us very little time to read, discuss, and comment.

I hope that the Library of Congress understands the strong desire of the library community to participate in this important work, and that they demonstrate that understanding by posting the full webcast, slides, and report as soon as possible.

They might also take a look at possibilities for planning future use of webcast technology that doesn’t inevitably break when they are more successful than they anticipate in provoking interest.

UPDATE: Karen Coyle has blogged the meeting based on her notes (she was there). Very interesting stuff here, and a lot to discuss!


  1. Bryan Campbell

    Perhaps this is a typo, but at (under heading
    News from the library) the caption reads “Draft report to be available Nov. 30.”

  2. Diane Hillmann

    Yes, Bryan, a few days after I noted that there was no date offered for the release of the full report, that date was posted on the WG page. Amazing …


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