Re: Latin, the dead language

Posting to RDA-L

Concerning the standard catalog abbreviations, I wish that people would stop thinking of them as “Latin abbreviations” and instead, as “data that has been entered consistently” in our records over many, many years. Because it has been, and consequently, it is a very valuable commodity. Thinking in this way turns [s.l.], [s.n.], [et al.] and the others from “abbreviations” into “computer codes”. Once this idea is accepted, there is nothing to stop us from displaying those “codes” however we wish.

The moment we stop entering this information consistently, the complexity raises, and the information loses a lot of its value, most probably a lot. But if we continue current practices consistently, [s.l.] could be portrayed in any library catalog, in any way people want. Several catalogs allow the searcher to choose the interface language, English or German or Italian, etc. and when people choose  their language, the “abbreviations/catalog codes” could change too.

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