We love librarians
OK, it’s not so much librarians, but it’s the work they do in helping others find things. Most importantly, they help TEACHERS find short films like YOURS to use in class. Librarians love keywords, so this week I wanted to briefly give some background on our thinking about keywords and why we believe they’re important.
You know what tags are – the words we add online to videos, photos or whatever when we upload. When we tag, we’re building a FOLKSONOMY or a social index. We throw up words that we think will connect people to our work.
It’s GOOD for social connectivity, but
it’s BAD for school librarians.
At Campfire, we want to help librarians. They are our friends. Librarians need to have things formerly categorised so that everyone else can find them properly, and so they don’t need to change words on a whim when fashions change. They use keywords rather than tags. Keywords are used to build a taxonomy.
The aptly named TAXonomy, unlike FOLKSONOMY, is a drag. Thankfully, librarians spend their waking hours thinking about taxonomy (or more strictly ‘controlled vocabularies’), and many appear to actually enjoy it. Building a TAXONOMY does step away from the fun and fashion of identifying things, but it steps closer to a more orderly, systematic and hierarchical approach.
Let’s hear it from a passionate librarian, Lynne LeGrow:
…in the days of Google and Amazon do we cataloguers still need a controlled vocabulary?
In my opinion the answer is a resounding YES! Computers and library database software are so particular that even a misplaced comma or period can create a new authority. One of my pet peeves is the careless use of genres. For instance I have downloaded many records that use the genre heading “Romantic suspense novels”. There is no such heading in LCSH and the correct term in GSAFD is “Romantic suspense fiction“. We do our patrons a disservice if we have both of these heading in our database. The same goes for “Detective and mystery stories” (an LCSH heading) and “Mystery fiction” (a GSAFD heading). Each library should pick which heading they intend to use and stick to these.
SO, SHOULD YOU WORRY?
Yes & no.
If you’re uploading your video to YouTube or Vimeo, give some thought to the kinds of people you’d like to watch your short film. Tag with the words they might use.
If you’re joining Campfire for distribution into schools, there’s no need to worry; that’s our job. We have the support of real library technicians who use a system of Australian controlled vocabulary. This controlled vocabulary uses keywords we know as SCOT terms, which ultimately relate to a magic number librarians love called SCIS numbers. Even that is too much info, because ultimately, YOU don’t need to worry about it.
THAT is what the librarians do :)
Librarians of the world, we salute you!
Our thanks to friends like Deb Verhoeven, who introduced us to these important terms when we launched the new site in 2011. We still have a way to go in perfecting the system on our site, but at least take comfort in the fact that we know where we’re going with it.