Thursday, May 19, 2011

Re: Authority records purge?

Posting on Autocat

On 05/18/2011 04:19 PM, Todd Grooten wrote:
<snip>
We were all set to send our database to Marcive for a clean-up, then we had a reorganization that lead to a new department head, who feels that authority control is a waste of time. (I'm not going to bother to try and change her mind on that one...)

We are reviewing our contract with our automation vendor and have decided to not pay for the authority control component. We currently have 51980 authority records loaded in our catalog. These haven't been updated since 1994. No one here cares about authority control. I'm wondering if we can just delete these authority records from the catalog.
</snip>
These are the sorts of decisions that management, along with regular people, will be faced with in our straitened times, no matter their own feelings. It could be that it's a matter of laying off staff or updating authority records. Every library will be facing *exactly the same type of tradeoffs* when and if they decide to implement RDA. These are not easy decisions and some rather wild suggestions come out occasionally.

For instance, I thought it was a joke but it was not, that in Maine and Missouri, lawmakers introduced bills to bring back child labor.... I never thought I would ever see something like that. Thankfully, I believe both bills were shot down. But this is the kind of world we are entering. How do libraries find their way?

Also, if our tools highlighted the power of authority control and made it easier to use instead of making it such a pain for everyone, there would be much more appreciation of it, but....

Concerning the authority maintenance, it's too bad that libraries still have to pay for it when these are the things that should be done locally. In my opinion, in the greater universe of the World Wide Web, blind references are not nearly so serious as they used to be, because while the local collection may not have anything by or about someone, there can be *lots* of valuable materials online, so perhaps there would be a way to turn them all around and instead of suppressing them, to make them useful.
Although I had no authorities module, this is how I designed my Extend Search to work, however inefficient it may be.

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