On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 10:26:50 -0500, … wrote:
You raise some interesting issues. I’ll do my best to answer them. But your final question is most important, so I’m dealing with it first.
>>I looked around for a genuine choice and found the Cooperative Cataloging
>>Rules, which provides the choice for libraries who cannot, or prefer not to
>So, if RDA were offered for free then these libraries would use it? If
not, then who pays for training them with alternate rules such as those of
the Cooperative Cataloging Rules? I’m hearing that the major objection is
the cost of implementation? Just want to be clear.
This is the main point: if a library goes with the Cooperative Cataloging Rules, there is *no retraining* at all. These are the rules we currently follow. There is not a single new rule in there. While I cannot place AACR2 into the wiki because of copyright, the LCRIs are US government information. These are the rules followed right now (AACR2 + LCRIs) whenever somebody downloads an LC record. At one place where I worked, we called AACR2 “the index into the LCRIs” which I think is pretty much correct.
I also made links into the publicly available ISBD, which is the basis of AACR2. Therefore, there will be *no retraining costs* because these are using the same rules we use now. Along with this is the free access to the LCRIs. Consequently, this is the cheapest to “implement” since you will be doing what you have all along. All you will need with be a copy of the latest AACR2.
Reading the fabulous LCRIs is where I learned to catalog, along with some deeply experienced colleagues. This is one of the attempts to recreate this with the CCR Wiki.
But, you ask if RDA were free would libraries use it? A major obstacle would be eliminated in that case and that could be the tipping point for many. I don’t know.
>>Nobody could have predicted the explosion that has occurred
>I beg to differ. We’ve seen this in the past–post WWII explosion of
scientific literature which in turn provided the stimulus for classification
research, automated abstracting, punchcard technology, etc. I would go so
far as to say this scenario has played itself over and over throughout
history. Perhaps we should say we didn’t study our history enough to
anticipate the “explosion”.
I must confess that I didn’t see it and I was rather deeply involved. As I remember, I thought libraries had already seen the big changes with computerization but I didn’t realize the significance of that little wire that linked everything together. I think I understood that everyone had a little printing press in their computer, but the concept of sharing through the billions of distribution points escaped me, which is the real change. So, I am not finding fault on this point.
>>the public likes the new tools and prefers them to ours in many, many ways.
>Which public? Show the data. Otherwise I feel it is just a broad
generalization based on the preferences of one group of users, those who are
online, as opposed to users across the board. Case in point, the OCLC study
on the perception of libraries—they only surveyed people who were online
but then generalized the findings as if it represented everyone.
There have been several studies with pretty much the same results. In addition to the OCLC study you mention, there are at least two from Ithaka, the one from U Minn that I mentioned in a recent post, and there was a very interesting project at U Rochester by Nancy Foster, a wonderful “library anthropologist” I met at a conference.
There are lots of studies out there that seem to be reinforcing one another, and they also make sense to me as a professional. I don’t have the time or resources to do (only online) definitive research from here, but may I ask if you have know of any recent research that shows that people prefer the library tools over the Google/Yahoo/Web2.0 varieties? Now THAT would be
>>We may be looking at a time, perhaps very soon, a time period measured in
>>months instead of decades, when someone can get a bachelor’s degree without
>>ever setting foot into a library. How much longer will it be before they can
>>get a master’s, or PhD?
>This is already happening. But, perhaps it is too soon to see if these
method of education provides high quality people. I’ve seen undergrads who
boast getting their degrees without ever having set foot in the library—I
bet some of them on are Wall Street right now. The creators of Google are of
the same cut—in researching their beginnings I finally had to conclude
they were the type of guys who hated going to the library and instead wanted
the information to come to them so they started downloading as much Web
content as they could, gave up on their PhD’s in computer science and got
financial backing. The rest is as we see it today. Brin’s recent op-ed in
NYT proves he has no clue what library’s can do, have done, and have done well.
Of course, this goes beyond the catalog and into the philosophy of education. I personally have concerns that students essentially want vocational education (to get a decent job–understandable enough!) and not being able to find one after getting a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD, (as some joke here, all of these graduates wind up selling underwear at Porta Portese, Rome’s big flea market). In particular, I am skeptical of the importance and ultimate usefulness to our students of information literacy (the non-library part of it, that is), which has assumed such a focus today. But this is really a separate topic.
These matters aside, as librarians, we simply help people find the information they ask for, ethically, objectively, without shoving it all down their throats, and let them make of it what they will. They can ask for something at a reference desk, through IM, or query our databases.
>It seems, as well, that there is a mixing of the construction of
bibliographic data and the DISPLAY of that data to the user. How do you
address this in your arguments?
I personally view display as an individual issue. Certainly, display of records in library catalogs right now varies a lot. I like the old ISBD card display since I find it elegant and readily comprehensible. and I have modified it for my catalog. Here’s an example:
http://www.galileo.aur.it/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?bib=22216, where you can see that I use ISBD punctuation for the body of the entry and throw notes to the bottom. I plan in the next version to let people see the notes in a tab display.
>Also, you speak of the “new world” but I ask, again, whose (sp?) new world?
Does it include all users of information or just a subset who happen to be
online more so than someone who doesn’t even own a computer?
I worked with this at FAO of the UN, where many of our users live in jungles with no access to anything. It turns out that internet access is still vital to them, but not for each individual. People may phone in, send letters, or walk to the library, where they find librarians to help them search, and then print out what they need at that end. FAO was putting all of their information online. But, if we are talking only about offline materials, AACR2 has more than proven itself highly adequate.
>Just playing devil’s advocate. 😉
That’s great! You pitch and I’ll do my best to bat them back! It is only through an honest sharing of ideas and opinions that we can reach understanding.