Re: Library data: why bother? by Eric Hellman

Posting to Autocat

On 08/07/2011 17:07, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

Brian Briscoe said:

… catalogers understand very well that our catalogs need to become more web-compatible and need to be more user-friendly. There has been much movement toward that area.

Exactly. And that means ILS development, creating a whole new structure, not fiddling with the building blocks as does RDA.

SLC can walk from MARC to any “web friendly” format you want, and has done so (usually for non OPAC use). But the ILSs to utilize these formats do not exist.

The more I consider these matters, the more I become convinced that the very premise of the catalog needs to be changed. On the one side are the needs of the users, comprising many, many different types of communities, and on the other side there are the needs of the librarians. And yet, everybody is supposed to use “the catalog”. Why?

The only reason that everyone is expected to use the same system is because that is the way it has always been–catalogers always used the same catalog as the patrons. Actually, it would probably be more correct to say that “patrons have always had to use the same catalog as the catalogers” (not counting the old “official catalogs” which were essentially duplicates of the public catalog, the official catalog being off limits to the users, who could mess up the public one and it would not be that big of a disaster, at least not for the catalogers!). The need for everyone to consult the same catalog has always led to an uneasy peace, dating back at least to Panizzi. Today, there is *absolutely no reason* why everybody has to use the same catalog.

The records and updates could easily be ported into a Drupal application and/or other places, and searchers could go crazy with those. But the librarians: selection, reference, and cataloging, and the rest have specific needs to manage the collection. These functions must be fulfilled if they are to have any chance to manage the collection, but the users don’t need most of them.

So, we could consider the ILMS as the modern idea of the “official catalog”, while wherever the records were ported out to could be considered the “public catalog(s)”. This would be so much easier, cheaper and forward looking than changing our cataloging rules! The implementation of which will not actually change much for anyone at all!



One Comment

  1. K. Peters said:

    This is exactly what the fairly new &quot;discovery platforms&quot; are – not the traditional, classic OPAC but software and user interface that should provide a merging of data content from a variety of sources and extended/modified search capabilities. My library has the Encore discovery platform, running on a separate server from the ILS, that contains a copy of the data from the classic

    July 8, 2011

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