FW: [NGC4LIB] At Univ. of South Carolina, the Card Catalog’s Graceful Departure

On Mon, 2 Nov 2009 12:00:44 -0500, McGrath, Kelley C. wrote:

>1. Our data is still designed for printing cards, rather than providing machine-manipulable data for today’s environment. The MARC format, despite some visionary elements, was designed for the practical task of printing cards. Our data is overly focused on text strings and not designed for easy extraction and manipulation of parts of the record. We retain practices that
were designed to save space on cards. A lot of things don’t work well in the OPAC because they were designed to produce data to be interpreted and filed by a human being. We need to modernize what data we record and how we record it. As it is, the form of the date often is an obstacle to developing the systems we need.

This is the entire point, and I think it colors the thinking of catalogers to a very large extent. For an example prototype of what RDA is aiming for, i.e. FRBR displays, take a look at FictionFinder. It has a nice tag cloud, and the whole site works pretty well, but look at an FRBR record, e.g. The Secret Garden, http://tiny.cc/F1kwx. [Actually, this doesn’t work. Go to http://fictionfinder.oclc.org/index.html, click on “Orphans” and then “The Secret Garden”]

With this display, most of the “work” information is at the top (although the summary goes to expression–in any case, works seem to be culture based), and everything is then placed into a table that the user can sort by language or format (expressions) and by dates (manifestations) and finally, they can find which libraries have which items.

I think everybody has done a great job here–it works very well. But is this the goal we should be aiming for? Is this what people really want in this new information universe?

Or do they want these things? Here are free versions in the Internet Archive:

Here are links to articles about The Secret Garden in Google Scholar, several of which are available to everyone

I am sure they would like a better human display of http://dbpedia.org/page/The_Secret_Garden, but the information is great.

The Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Garden

and the LibraryThing page, http://www.librarything.com/search_works.php?q=secret%20garden%20burnett

To me, there is absolutely no contest about what will appeal to our patrons and be the most useful to them. People want choices, *real* choices, and I think somebody, somewhere, will provide them with these choices.

I would like it to be the library community. This is part of the new world.



One Comment

  1. Anonymous said:

    me too!!!! i am so terrified that our library community is going to sit by and let someone else do it because they have more money and it's just too hard to convince people that *this* is what we should be doing…thanks for posting this!

    November 6, 2009

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