Re: Spelling of cm. in RDA records

Posting to Autocat

On 24/08/2011 16:21, Mark Ehlert wrote:

James Weinheimer wrote:

At the same time, we are supposed to become extremely lax in matters of more import to the catalog: access points (rule of three changed to rule of one, and more based on “cataloger’s judgement”, oh wait! Except for illustrators of children’s books and translators, again for some unknown, incomprehensible reasons that I prefer not to know about)

I’ll tell you anyway: that’s LC’s thing. RDA doesn’t say squat on the matter. If I had a large music collection to take care of, I’d raise hell about always including access points for performers and score editors. To each community their own preferred, expanded practice, tailored for their users–obviously.

That’s right. RDA itself mandates only a single access point, while LC has decided to throw in the other two. I *guess* that’s better. 🙂 If we are aiming for “each community” to have its own expanded/diminished practices, that would be fine with me so long as we all understand how all of this variability will fit into shared standards. In this case, there would be a highly restricted set of rules followed by everyone, while different communities, e.g. science, or theology, or graphic arts, or whatever, could decide how to expand upon these restricted rules in the best ways for their communities. Such a direction would be very positive, I think, and goes into the directions suggested by Michael Gorman at the rda@yourlibrary conference, but that is a different topic.


… but at the same time they mandate meaningless punctuation rules!

There are a lot fewer punctuation rules in the body of RDA compared to AACR2. The most I’ve seen appear in the “make a heading” chapters, which pretty much mirror AACR2. Then there’s the appendix on ISBD. And if you want to continue using metric abbreviations, you can–RDA allows for that.

Again, if we’re going bitch about RDA, let’s get our facts straight before doing so.

I’m not defending AACR2. Never did. Of course it needs to change in all kinds of ways. I am questioning the mindset that continues to have catalogers focus on these types of tiny matters of no importance to anyone. Those days should (I hope!) be dying. Not only do they waste our time, it diverts us from important matters, and not least important, it makes us seem strange and anachronistic to non-catalogers, and as a result they have a tendency to discount what we say and create. With RDA, there is still this type of focus while at the same time, it is more relaxed on the points that really do matter.

True, we need to try to figure out what really is of no importance to anyone because no one really knows. (I won’t repeat my rant about the FRBR user tasks) We need to discover what is important to the different communities of patrons (science, business, art, undergraduates, children, “men in haste” to use an older term, and so on and so on). What is important to the different communities of librarians (selectors, reference etc.)?

These questions have always been ripe with personal suppositions, but at least there does seem to be some research on patrons now with some of the “library anthropologists”, e.g. a project of Illinois Libraries mentioned on NGC4LIB. See the article at Inside Higher Ed:

If it turned out that a project such as this discovered that people need extremely detailed punctuation all through the record, and they wanted it in the place of lots of other services we could provide, fine. I would be all for it.