The MarkLogic Government Summit was held November 17, 2010. The XML platform is described as marking the progression from card catalog to relational databases to now, although everyone wants in on organizing knowledge, not just librarians. However, among the excellent examples presented for case study, the Library of Congress is developing a shining star.
The MarkLogic applications, ease of use, toolkit and connectors make this an a great next step in organizing and structuring data. Keynote speakers foretold that the United States faces challenges in its ability to share unstructured data, regardless of format. Whether a data object is a digital image, a word document, an email or web pages, the MarkLogic system can ingest, store, manage and preserve in real time. The system can push data to the user, accommodate mobile devices and can scale to any size of project.
Lieutenant General Michael D. Maples (Retired), the 16th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated that impediments to structuring data can be found not only in varied formats, but in government policy, process and procedures. Throughout the examples coming from defense and intelligence communities, information tagging, user interface and metadata beyond XML received only glancing notice.
I’ve often heard that libraries are antiquated and disappearing. However, when the Library of Congress spread out the acronymns of the metadata communities where common languages facilitate detailed data sharing, I suspect that its the librarians who are ahead of the game when it comes to sharing knowledge, even in the digital age. The profession has just been waiting for a tool such as MarkLogic so that technological implementation can catch up. This online, real time tool can replicate integrated collection in digital format, just as the card catalog could hold books, phonograph records, microfiche and VHS. At last librarians do not have to figure out how to do it all! But it will take time to spread the word about the importance of user services and back-end cataloging that makes successful collating of information possible. Folksonomies at an international level probably cannot provide the level of support that the intelligence and defense communities requires.
One last note about the name MarkLogic. Well, it takes some cognitive restraint to keep from thinking of it as “MarcLogic!”