Tuesday, December 21, 2010

RE: New "Cataloging Matters" podcast

Posting to NGC4LIB

Todd Puccio wrote:
<snip>
Plain and simple, if our services as librarians are not helpful to our users so that they can be successful, then they don't need us. We should not have to convince them that we help them become successful. If it's not obvious to them - then maybe they really don't need us.
Or maybe we should just do a better job ?
</snip>
and
<snip>
Perhaps FRBR & RDA will become the best Librarian tools out there. And what's wrong with that ?
</snip>
I agree with much of this, but I think a lot of it is still unknown because everything is changing so much and so fast: for example, while I want to do "a better job", I honestly don't know what that means today. With so many different excellent, new, wild, bizarre, etc. tools out there, it is hard to know what to learn first and what the public expects from us today.

One thing I know we need though, are new tools. I think many librarians are finally seeing the many deficiencies of their tools and much of this is focused in the library's catalog. I try to picture it to myself using various scenarios of mechanics standing around a car, scratching their heads:
  1. the mechanics are modern and competent, have state-of-the-art tools, but the car is a Model T
  2. the mechanics are from the time of the Model T, and they are looking at a Ferrari racer
  3. the mechanics are up-to-date and competent, the car itself may be OK, but all they have are stone tools
  4. ...
I can go on with variations of this image for quite awhile, but I'm sure others can devise their own if they wish. Anyway, all the mechanics are always scratching their heads in bafflement.

Concerning RDA and FRBR, even though they don't really change anything substantial, it's true that they may turn out to be the best librarian tools out there.

Unfortunately, I find that a really depressing thought. There's absolutely *got* to be something better!

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