Just signed up and logged onto the new biblios.net site. Although I’m not a cataloguer, this is a very impressive first launch.
It has been clear for many years now that developments towards “One Big Library” were going to radically change workflows and strategies for library automation. The promise of the network, the insane ease and seduction that came with accessible and largely free (or freer) web 2 services, cheap and then more cheaper infrastructure, and so on.
Biblios.net shows how it can be done with a clean, simple interface, and an impressive share & collaborate model that looks very compelling.
We’ve already seen great success and potential demonstrated by other ‘One Big Library’ services like LibraryThing and the OpenLibrary – still largely underappreciated and exploited imho – and Biblios.net brings its own take on this kind of service. But unlike LibraryThing and OpenLibrary, they have the potential advantage of being associated with a growing open source ILS community, so they already have a target audience primed for introducing this kind of service and building a community. Cataloguing workflow is just ripe for this kind of disruption.
Also intriguing is yet another manifestation of the “mini-OCLC” model at play – only minus the Big Brother monopoly control aspects. I say “mini” in the context of number of contributing libraries (so far), but as we move forward these types of services are not going to be that dis-advantaged by the number of shared records. According to Nicole Engard’s post, they are starting out with a “30 million strong shared database of catalog records” – pretty impressive for a start.
I would expect more vendor specific community offerings to be announced for similar shared repositories and types of services, even from the proprietary folks. All of this is good for libraries, so long as the shared network opportunities are getting larger and more accessible, it can only reduce the size of our silos.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how all of this plays out.
For more details on biblios.net, there is an overview article published recently in The Code4Lib Journal – ‡biblios: An Open Source Cataloging Editor, and a few recent blog posts from Nicole Engard and from Jonathan Rochkind.