Posting to RDA-L
Nerissa Lindsey wrote:
It is interesting to hear that RDA isn’t being taught yet at many of these programs. I personally think that this is unfortunate, because even if RDA is not adopted I think all cataloging students should at least be learning the fundamentals so they know why it is even being considered as a replacement for AACR2. I can understand why people who have worked in the field for many years are ‘tired’ as Mr. Weinheimer has mentioned. However, graduates from MLS/MLIS programs are going to be shaping the futures of cataloging/metadata departments of all kinds, and I think that educating them in RDA is just as important as teaching AACR2. I just finished my MLIS in June ’10 from the University of Washington, and last spring they offered a course called RDA and Metadata taught by Diane Hillman. I gained a lot of insight from auditing this course that I wouldn’t have otherwise if I stuck with just the regular cataloging courses. I see a trend across libraries at least in the US where cataloging departments are changing their names to things like cataloging and metadata department or just metadata services. I even applied for a position with the title: Resource Description and Access manager after I had graduated. I have heard stories about libraries who are hiring metadata librarians and not planning on replacing their catalogers when they retire. I do not feel qualified to state whether I think RDA is the best option or not, but I do know that any student hoping to make it in this field after they graduate better have at least a solid educational foundation about RDA.
Thanks for your input. I very rarely get to hear the voice of the “younger generation”, so I really appreciate it. But let me mention, as one of those old codgers, that the world of metadata is a huge one with practices you (and I) cannot imagine, much less agree with. The voice of experience suggests that underestimating the complexity of the task facing us will lead straight to failure and ignominy. The people who come after us (and I hope, many of us who are still around–including myself!) absolutely *must* find some kind of ways to bring these disparate methods into something approaching harmony. The old methods are shot–I completely agree. The workflows, the methods, the *almost* everything, must change radically. (OK, some things can stay!) One thing I am certain about: if librarians/catalogers don’t do it, somebody else will, perhaps Google or Yahoo (both for-profit corporations), perhaps an agency from some government (US, UK, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian?), perhaps an international organization, perhaps some 12 year old kid in his basement. I don’t know which one, but I do know that sooner or later everybody’s work will interoperate in some way, even if that means that it is all mashed together semi-mindlessly, on the order of the Google Book metadata that we have now.
The assumption that the 19th century conceptual framework of RDA/FRBR encompasses this huge, changing universe is rather bewildering, and completely unwarranted, in my opinion. RDA/FRBR are representative of the old methods (again, in my opinion!). While I will admit that there is a remote possibility that this rather ancient world view of FRBR may actually describe what we are facing today, I remain *extremely skeptical*. In fact, it is my belief that if Panizzi, Jewett, Cutter, etc. were alive today, they would be the first to throw out the old ways to find what people *really* need and what our capabilities really are.
I prefer not to say bad things about RDA and FRBR on this list, so I apologize.