Posting on RDA-L
On 07/06/2011 17:07, Kevin M. Randall wrote:
The only way to make progress is to do things that are progressive.
Having a discrete element defined for a piece of data is *much* more efficient and useful than having to parse a catch-all element that requires the data being “consistently input.”
While the statement “The only way to make progress is to do things that are progressive” can’t be disputed in general terms, figuring out what constitutes real progress can be very tricky. For example, if someone does lots of work and goes way out of his way simply to wind up where he would have been without all of that work and pain, can that be labeled “progress”? So, if we can end up in the same place with automated queries of the current contents of 260$c because the information has been consistently input, where is the advantage of breaking that very consistency? (I agree that this assertion still needs to be proven, but I believe it can be)
Just as inputting abbreviations is not “progressive” because it refuses to acknowledge the reality of what the patrons see, pretending that copyright dates can be manipulated by modern computers only after placing them in separate subfields, is also not progressive. Of course, attached to these considerations there should also be some evidence that somebody, somewhere, actually needs these capabilities–something I have yet to see. Otherwise, the changes remain only academic and theoretical.
I agree: we need to be progressive, but finding out what that means entails a lot of work and experimentation. Progress always did require work and experimentation, but especially so today.