Friday, June 25, 2010

ALA Session on MODS and MADS: Current implementations and future directions

Posting on NGC4LIB

Laval Hunsucker wrote:

Let's be frank about it, shall we ? Instead of "we must assume that fewer people will be visiting our world", wouldn't it be more complete and more accurate to say "we must assume that fewer people will be populating our world and visiting our world" ?

I.e., until it becomes so few people that we reach the point at which that world cannot but evaporate altogether. ( Or, just possibly, has morphed into quite another kind of world altogether. )

I can't argue against this, but I also don't see much of a difference. In essence my concern is: what will happen, and is happening now, is that people are beginning their searches for information in other places than the library (that should come as a surprise to no one) and people find so much in these other places that there is little time left for them to use our resources, or to even know about them in the first place. This is the world that we must plan for because it is happening right now, and there is no indication that people will be clamoring for the work of libraries and librarians. The way I look at it, we can either just give up and find jobs in other fields, or actually try to do something about it, and perhaps even look at the present situation as an opportunity.

In this respect, I am mulling over and playing with Alex's idea that (as I read it) one of the main problems is that of gaining a mutual understanding of the differing concepts. As a practical example, there is the bibliographical idea of "title proper" and "other title information" vs. the more popular idea of "title". The first step is briefly to lay out the differences in the concepts, but then the second step would be to actually make decisions, i.e. is it really worthwhile for us to continue the separate coding of 245$a"title proper" and $b"other title information" or is it so important that we should try to get others to code them separately?

Obviously, determining the answer to the second step would be more ominous and traumatic in many ways, not the least is: who will actually make the decision? But no matter what the decision, it will represent change for somebody, somewhere unless we just decide to let everybody do whatever they want.

Still, there is no reason to undertake step 2 until step 1 is made. Actually, this is the *purpose* I have had for the separate section in the Cooperative Cataloging Rules on the "Conceptual Outline" which attempts to bring the different ideas together. I agree that it is very poorly implemented, it is based entirely on ISBD, but it is something, anyway. http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/conceptual-outline

Of course, I am sure there are much better ways of handling this. It could all be deleted and start over again.

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