Monday, August 8, 2011

Re: Completeness of records

Posting to RDA-L

On 06/08/2011 17:05, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
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But smaller libraries don't *have* expressions in other languages to "bring together* with the English or French version they have. I wonder how many larger libraries have multple translations for very many works? We are creating an elaborage structure for a minority of library holdings, in a minority of libraries.
</snip>
Exactly so. This is why I question the validity of the FRBR user tasks: that people want works, expressions, manifestations, and items. That has not been demonstrated, and in fact, from some research I am doing now, it appears that it has never been demonstrated. It is becoming clear to me that our catalogs were actually created on fundamentally different assumptions than what--at least I--had always thought.

Some few people do want this kind of access, I fully agree, and there has always been a relatively few number of people who have wanted it, but we should definitely *not* be making the assumption that these tasks apply to the average/general user, and therefore rebuild all of our systems, redo our rules, retrain everybody and so on and so on, to create a tool that fulfills these bogus FRBR user tasks. These are among  the reasons why I say that the FRBR *user* tasks are actually the FRBR *librarian* tasks. To create an entirely new system, as contemplated by FRBR et al. based on those assumptions makes no sense and is the wrong way to go.

For those few people who want to do those tasks, the catalog fulfills the FRBR tasks *right now* but you have to learn a few things and do a little more work. For those people, we can use systems in much more  clever ways to help those who need the FRBR user tasks, to be able to do them more easily than ever before.

Librarians themselves however, need other tools than those the public needs. I think that once we recognize that fact and embrace it, the future will take on a more meaningful, more coherent and perhaps even more hopeful, appearance.

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