Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Re: Justification of added entries

Posting to RDA-L

On 22/08/2011 17:29, Casey A Mullin wrote:
<snip>
As Karen Coyle has often pointed out, it's extremely inefficient to input things twice, as data and text. RDA is actually an attempt to lead us away from this inefficiency, by downplaying free-text elements as not part of "core". The example I cited in my original post was intended to show a straightforward example of redundant entry.
</snip>
If this is the example of redundancy:
"24510 $c ... ; [commentary by Joe Smith].
or
500__Commentary by Joe Smith.
plus
7001_Smith, Joe, $e writer of added commentary.
"

I will state that it is not redundant. The 245$c has a completely different purpose from the 700. The 245$c is for correct identification of the item since, for those following the ISBD standards, it will be input exactly that way no matter who catalogs it. The 700 allows for controlled access. In Cutter's Objectives terminology, the importance of the 245$c is that it "assists in the choice of a book as to its edition (bibliographically)" (Third objective) while the 7xx allows the searcher to "find what the library has by a specific author" (Second objective). For instance, the 245$c may have Dostoyevsky's name in Russian, which helps to identify the item, while in the 7xx, his form is in English, which helps to find all works by Dostoyevsky. So, the information is not redundant at all, except for the information added in the 7xx$e, which restates the information in the 245$c.

Considering how a user will view the $e was pointed out very clearly by Mac. So, perhaps you have the same Smith, Joe who has authored another book, edited another book and was a compiler of another one. In the multiple author display, if the $e is displayed, this one fellow will look like four people: one is an editor, one a compiler, one an author, one is a writer of an added commentary. Even with URIs, I think it will still look like different people and trying to show different bibliographic functions will be terribly complex for unproven benefits to the patrons. I still do not see how this would help anyone find anything, while this would be confusing for everyone concerned, from casual user to master cataloger.

When discussing practical issues, it's not out of place to mention that latest research reveals that user knowledge and abilities are very low. This article was just announced "What Students Don't Know" http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/22/erial_study_of_student_research_habits_at_illinois_university_libraries_reveals_alarmingly_poor_information_literacy_and_skills (referred to on another list, but there have been other similar research projects with very similar results), catalogs are already overly complex, and therefore, the display of the $e will be *only within the individual record*, and the records do that now more accurately with the 245$c.

Demonstrating the practical usefulness of adding this kind of information should not be too much to ask. It's only a part of coming up with a valid business plan, especially comparing it to research similar to the article "What Students Don't Know". After all, if we are supposed to be worried about "redundant" information, shouldn't we be at least as concerned about information that goes unused?

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