Friday, June 17, 2011

Re: Suggested RDA improvements

Posting to Autocat

On 16/06/2011 23:42, MULLEN Allen wrote
<snip>
Whatever the shortcomings of RDA, it does not assume business as usual in the future. If RDA actually is implemented and works, it could be more cost effective in several ways:

1. more effective streaming of publisher and outside metadata into the catalog process, decreasing the amount of time that original and copy catalogers spend creating records

2. inheritance of expression and manifestation metadata from work level records, decreasing the rekeying of significant portions of data for these records once the work record has been created. The same should be true for inheritance among expressions and manifestations

 3. potentially, a significant enough increase in the value of non-silo discovery systems that libraries will find alternatives more cost-effective than local record by record editing

4. more effective input of data through use of established element sets and other linked data potentials, lessening the amount of keyed input
</snip>
I really don't see it in the same way. I think RDA actually does assume business as usual in the future; that RDA represents no substantial change from what we are doing now. This is one of its major problems. In the points you make:
1. streaming of publisher/outside metadata

- There has been no indication that I know of that publishers/outside metadata creators will be more willing to supply us with RDA metadata than with AACR2. In this regard, I think that the ISBD/XML Study Group of IFLA would be much more effective, but I don't know of the current state of their work http://www.ifla.org/node/1795. (If anybody knows, could you let me/us know?) If there were an accepted, truly international standard that could be implemented using modern formats (XML), with the standard being open and more or less simple (principally transcription), I think it would be possible that a suitable business case could be made for it that would convince the business mind.

Maybe.

2. inheritance of work/etc. allows for less rekeying

- I think this would have to be demonstrated, since it is difficult for me to imagine how separate W/E records would make anything faster than a simple derie from a copy record, which also needs almost no rekeying. Perhaps there could be some novel types of derives that take only specific kinds of information and therefore you would not have to e.g.  delete a note for your version or something similar. Any time saving here however, seems miniscule, especially as people would have to fight to create the work and expression records, which I personally think will be far more difficult conceptually than currently appears.

3 and 4

- These have much more to do with changing the format than with cataloging rules.

I am a stalwart believer in standards, and in both maintaining and enforcing those standards so that they rise to a level of genuine "trust" rather than "hope". "Trusting" that the water coming out of your pipes is safe is substantively different from merely "hoping" that it is. Trust is built on some kind of solid foundation of experience, while hope is.... well, it's just hope. It's just like pulling the lever on the one-armed bandit! In fact, that's often the way it's seemed to me when I've been looking for copy!

Still, it seems to me that instead of changing rules within individual catalog records, we should be focusing on how to change the catalog itself. I am beginning to think that it will take non-catalogers to   solve this problem. The fact is, the public always had trouble with our catalogs and now they are searching in ways that were unheard of before. Search is changing everything, and in this sense, library catalogs are not even as far advanced as dinosaurs, they are the equivalent of trilobites!

In fact, it occurs to me how people in the future may end up viewing library catalogs (adapted from the Wikipedia entry for Trilobite http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilobite):
"Library catalog or Library catalogue (\ˈka-tə-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\) is a well-known fossil of a class of extinct bibliographic and searching tools that formed how people found information in more primitive information times. The first appearance of a real library catalog in the fossil record was in the Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt...  Library catalogs finally disappeared in the mass extinction at the beginning of the Age of the Internet x-number of years ago. Library catalogs were among the most successful of all primitive attempts of  search and retrieval, roaming almost completely unchallenged over the bibliographic landscape for millennia, but they steadfastly refused to adapt to the new harsher conditions until they finally collapsed, exhausted and shivering, to allow themselves to be eaten by more intelligent and larger predators."

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