Posting to Autocat
Marian Veld wrote:
On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM, James Weinheimer wrote:
>I repeat, the changes we institute should have practical goals, not abstract, theoretical goals. We no longer have the luxury for theory.
I couldn’t disagree more. Without theory we find ourselves adrift on a sea of changes with no idea of how to respond to them. We find ourselves with a cobbled-together system based on reactions to problems or perceived problems, but no concept of how things fit together. We end up with conflicts in our data collection and recording practices because we don’t have a rigorous conceptual basis for making decisions. In short, we end up with the catalogs that we now have. I personally like FRBR, but I will accept that other conceptual bases are possible and could even be better than FRBR. But to try to build a complex structure like a library catalog without theory is like trying to build a computer without understanding electronics.
The emphasis in that sentence, as in my entire posting, was on the goals. Thanks for pointing this out this lapse–I need to tighten up my writing. The goals of RDA and FRBR, along with its business model, are still wholly abstract and theoretical. As a result, I was trying to point out that it does not make sense to risk so many of our ever-[sharply!]-diminishing resources on retraining and retooling for the sake of vague, abstract, theoretical goals. Especially today, our goals should be practical, just as when everything changed from AACR1 to AACR2, it was for the very practical purpose of getting additional cataloging copy, and this was because the entire Anglo-American world could begin to cooperate not only in the area of bibliographic description, but in the headings as well. The risks of change were certainly there, but there were definite and tangible rewards offered.
I can see the risks today with RDA very clearly, but I still haven’t seen what the rewards are yet, except we are supposed to have faith that it is “the wave of the future”. I have lost the faith.