Sunday, October 30, 2005

about time for .lib

Picking up a strand from my post about gophering making the Internet neat and orderly, I said that nowadays it is more like messy, random. I can't pretend to have good organizational skills and as such I'm sure I would make a poor cataloguer, but the librarian in me thinks that the web is very poorly catalogued. I think added top-level domains (TLDs), would help. For example, it is about time we got some respect with a .lib domain.

The domain name should mean something, should give a clue. It seems to me that the most important aspect of the information on the Internet is the source, and .lib very clearly identifies the source of the information, just as the .edu and .org domains do. I don't see much in the professional journals regarding this issue and I think it's a shame, as I think it would further the profession and bolster our identity.

Wikipedia (which I will try to post on in the future) has a list of the current top-level domains and I was dumbfounded to see .cat is on the list as a sponsored TLD. .cat is a domain name for websites that promote the Catalan language, spoken in the province of Catalunya in Spain. I have a personal interest, as I studied the language while living in Barcelona. Some of those that I studied with had a problem with the Catalan language, they had come to Spain to hone their Spanish and were surprised that some were unwilling to speak Spanish with them. Because Franco had outlawed the language, it is now fiercely protected. I remember seeing "En CatalĂ " spray painted on shops that only posted signage in Spanish and corrections to signs with poor Catalan were also spray painted. I guess I needn't worry about the Catalan language anymore, as it is the only language to have its very own sponsored TLD! Visca Catalunya!

But I digress, I had never heard of a sponsored TLD before and wonder if the library world could do something similar. Sponsored means some institution must sponsor it (ALA?) and I suppose therein lies the problem, as this would require some cash, no?

I found a 2001 article on the subject and it confirms that money is part of the problem. In 2000, the Calgary Public Library apparently proposed it (which the article says requires shelling out $50,000, are they really rolling in it in Canada?), see the article here.

Is there any group or anyone actively working on making this happen? If we don't push for it, I don't see it happening. If anyone knows anything about this issue and could enlighten me, please comment, I would appreciate it.


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5:54 PM  

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