Posting to alcts-eforum
Maxine Sherman wrote:
There have been many spirited discussions on OCLC-Cat about these [i.e. B&T] records, but I agree that libraries that just input a completely new record without upgrading the level 3 record, just create more duplicate records. What I also find “amusing” are the number of B&T order records with input dates later than full records. Come on, B&T, can’t you just add whatever you need to someone else’s complete record rather than contributing to the duplicate record problem? Oh, and why can’t the order records come with the appropriate type code? Doesn’t the person who is ordering the item know in what it is being ordered? Sigh. I, too, have a link to the duplicate records notification web page in my browser. A prominent one.
This illustrates one of the major problems with metadata quality as we begin to share with new partners. Probably B&T saw no problems with the quality of their local database before, but now they are expected to change what they do to suit our needs. While that would suit me just fine, it means that B&T would have to change what they have always done, which means training. Additionally, with RDA, what does that mean? Subscribing to the online RDA, and a much higher level of complexity. (While people may debate whether RDA is a step forward or a step backward, I don’t think anybody can seriously argue that RDA is any simpler than what we have now)
I can imagine that if I were at B&T, while I might agree to share the data I have, I don’t think I could justify a great expense in the sense of increased training and online subscriptions. Perhaps I could justify it if it were demonstrated that it would increase sales. Although I may be wrong, I don’t see that putting a record in a local catalog or Worldcat is going to make that much of a difference in sales, although a record in Amazon, Alibris, or even in Google Books may make a difference.
Now multiply this by the number of other book publishers and related metadata creators, each facing similar situations and we see the scope of the problem.
I am a very firm believer in high-quality records, but I think it is obvious that the definition of “high-quality” must be reconsidered today. The world has changed and quality cannot be defined in the same way as it was 25 years ago.