Re: nice step toward what a catalog can become

Posting to Autocat

On 28/06/2011 17:12, Laurence Creider wrote:

Yes, a major flaw. One might even say that what the catalog becomes in such a case is no longer a catalog; this finding tool has ceased to fulfill one of the most basic functions stated by Cutter, the Paris Principles, and the Statement of International Cataloging Principles.

The look may be fine, the bells and whistles are nice, but the baby blunder means the project flunks, as do any managers who signed off on such a defective tool. Is there any reason in this day and age that collocation should be impossible?

Looking at a few headings, Napoleon, even United States, it looks to me as if they may have decided to display only the subfield a. This may be either a design error (the headings can get awfully long) or perhaps the designers didn’t really understand how bibliographic records work. It also could be that only a truncated record was brought over into this system.

Yet, the subject of this thread is “*nice step* forward” and I still think it is, although it can be improved. If, in this case, the full records are in there and the web designer was simply unaware of the additional information, that is the sort of problem that can be fixed in probably about 15 minutes but *designing* for the longer headings is obviously more difficult. Even Worldcat has similar displays to the ones at NYPL, e.g. for “napoleon emperor”, his entire heading is not displayed:

In Worldcat, the links in the left column are only to “Napoleon”. What we see with the 111 with Napoleon I Emperor, are all from OAIster where the internal coding has probably been lost in the various conversions.

So, I have sympathy for the web designer: how is he or she supposed to come up with a decent-looking display with headings like “International Conference “21st Century Slavery–the Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings” (2002 : Rome, Italy)” or “García y García, Julio Gabriel Salvador, 1928 or 9-“ or “Austur-Eyjafjallahreppur (Iceland)”? I’m not even mentioning the subject arrays! It seems as if a better cut-off would be not by a subfield a, but only display a certain number of letters, then the searcher could roll the mouse over it or click it to see the entire heading(s).

This is what development is: not to simply declare something a disaster, but to point out how it can be improved, try it, and see, through trial-and-error. Ideally, the designers should genuinely welcome this type of input.