[openbiblio-dev] Feedback on my BibJSON record

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Feb 22 07:51:00 UTC 2013

On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 4:52 AM, Tom Morris <tfmorris at gmail.com> wrote:

> dcterms has publisher and date, but unfortunately lacks date of
> publication. It may be possible to find this in BIBO or some other
> bibliographic schema. However, I have seen others place an entire
> publication statement in dcterms:publisher for this exact reason. It's a
> real lack in DC.
> I'd argue abusing the semantics of fields/properties by using them to
> carry information other than what is intended is at best prolonging the
> agony and at worst inviting chaos.  If it's not a dc:publisher, put the
> information in myveryown:publication_statement.

It is impossible to do everything both unambiguously and simply no matter
what is used.

DC started with 15 concepts, that could fit on a T-shirt. I've got one.
There is a "date" field. The date is not precisely defined - TShirts have a
limited amount of readable area. The idea was to provide something that
fits most cases.

BibJSON allows a mixture of namespace and therefore vocabularies.If you
want to use a term from Schema.org it's possible. It leads for fluid
documents that are easy to author and may require some processing elsewhere
if they are to be combined. And this processing may be possible and, on
occasions may not be unambiguous.
Again, DC doesn't provide a place for the "statement of responsibility"
that is in much library data. So the choice is to lose that, or to stuff it
in title. It also doesn't have a separate subtitle element, so that too has
to be stuff in title.

> Or define new BibJSON fields to carry them.  That's a title, an author's
> name, a series number (?), a translator's name, and a parenthetical
> expression all mushed together in a field that claims to be carrying the
> title.  How would anything except a human ever make sense of that?

If there are specialist vocabularies that do this they can be used.

BibJSON is intended to be easy to author and easy to parse.

> I like JSON as much as the next programmer, but I'm not seeing how
> promoting semantic nonsense benefits anyone.  We might as well just use
> BibTex or MARC or one of the other standards that has a long history of
> ambiguity.
> If BIbTEX has a vocabulary that no-one else has, use it in BibJSON. Same
for MARC.Same for schema.org.

The normal alternative is not to encode the information at all.


Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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