The search for a minimum viable record

The search for a minimum viable record
The Open Library has run into these complexities and challenges as it seeks to create "one web page for every book ever published."

George Oates, Open Library lead, recently gave a presentation in which she surveyed audience members, asking them to list the five fields they thought necessary to adequately describe a book. In other words, what constitutes a "minimum viable record"? Akin to the idea of the "minimum viable product" for getting a web project coded and deployed quickly, the minimum viable record (MVR) could be a way to facilitate an easier exchange of information between library catalogs and information systems.

In the interview below, Oates explains the issues and opportunities attached to categorization and MVRs.


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five fields

I would say Author, Title, Subject, Genre, and Identifier. :)

I'd cut that to two

Title [which may be made up] and identifier.

Many items don't have authors. Many items don't really have subjects (e.g., fiction, most art). Most items don't really have genres.

There's a reason the only required MARC fields are 001, 008 and 245--the 245 (title) being the only required textual field.

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