Posting to RDA-L
Karen Coyle wrote:
This choice about attribute and entity needs to be made in the data design, not at the point of cataloging, IMO. I’m trying to think of an exception to that, and can’t come up with one… Where I think we *could* have choices, although it is not allowed within RDA, is in deciding on the attributes that are associated with an entity. As an example, some specialist communities would like to use attributes like “colour” in the Work entity, but RDA has it in Expression. Someone may want to add an attribute that RDA does not include. In terms of systems, this is not terribly difficult using registered elements and application profiles. Essentially, as long as the data elements are clearly defined they can be used in different relationships without losing their meaning. In the past, data was defined by the record; today we can define data that can be used in any number of different situations and different records. This gives us a freedom we didn’t have before.
Will the distinction between attribute vs. entity be solved in the data design? I don’t know but I am very skeptical. I personally think it is so complex that the data designers will leave it to the drudges to deal with.
But even beyond that, it seems to me as if we should be finding simpler means to stay where we are, and if it becomes more complex for us, there should be an associated gain both for us and for our users. But here we are adding complexity upon complexity to wind up in exactly the same place.
So, here I am, a middle-aged bearded librarian/scholarly-type feeling “breathless and giddy” like Alice in Wonderland! I can’t resist quoting:
“Now! Now!” cried the Queen. “Faster! Faster!” And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.
The Queen propped her against a tree, and said kindly, “You may rest a little, now.”
Alice looked round her in great surprise. “Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!”
“Of course it is,” said the Queen: “what would you have it?”
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else – if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
If we’re going to go through all of these mental contortions let’s at least end up someplace that is new!