Posting to RDA-L
On 25/08/2011 17:04, Kevin M Randall wrote:
Do you actually have any kind of an idea of what solutions are the correct ones, then? Continually saying that every solution being offered is the wrong one, but never hinting at the right one, isn’t really helping.
I have offered several suggestions, in fact, in the posting you quoted from. At the bottom, I wrote:
How can we solve the matters of relators for our users? *Not* by proclaiming, “From this date onward, we shall add relator information to records we create originally” since our users obviously will see much more than that. Still, cooperation with other databases that already have that information, e.g. IMDB, may be possible. Why redo the work that someone else has already done?
Again, why redo the work that someone else has already done? Especially if we acknowledge that anything we make will take many years to equal IMDB’s access, if it ever will. This is what is possible on the web today. What we have to understand and accept is that we are not alone, and there are both positive and negative consequences to this fact.
Kevin M. Randall continued:
Some changes will be able to be done en masse, some will take meticulous record-by-record work, most likely distributed across libraries throughout the world. Nobody knows how much will be easy, how much will be difficult, or how long it will take. But we are keenly aware that the data cannot be transformed magically, in an instant, and that is why we realize that *nothing* will happen if we *do* nothing.
This is an example of the old thinking, as I mentioned. Before the web, the solution you mention was pretty much the only answer but today, instead of rolling up our shirtsleeves and putting our noses to the grindstone, there are other options. We are *not* alone and we should utilize that possibility. We should try as hard as possible to *cooperate* with related metadata creators. IMDB is only one such project that could provide a lot of help and we should not ignore it. Broadening our horizons in this way is far from *doing nothing*, but it is substantively different from what we could do say, only 20 years ago. Nevertheless, these kinds of efforts should be undertaken only after the implementation of a sound business plan: to ensure that we are giving the public what they really want and need instead of basing everything on personal assumptions of what they need, and also, any decision will necessarily come at the expense of other possible services.
Another possibility is to simply declare that a normal library catalog does not allow that kind of access–it never has and probably never will. People need to be directed to other tools, just as they do not look for journal articles in the catalog (although many people have never understood this either). For people who want this kind of relator information for films, the library catalog is clearly not the correct tool and has never been. It cannot be the correct tool for a very long time, if ever, and to make it so would come at a cost. There is nothing wrong with such an acknowledgment of fact, just as stating clearly that JSTOR is not the best tool for the latest information on the current financial crisis.
Yet the situation is not so bad for people: IMDB allows access for relator information for films if someone wants it; Wikipedia may offer various solutions as well, but instead of insisting on redoing the same work over and over and over again as in the old days, we should be concentrating on: what are the value-added services that the library can realistically supply? There is, after all, quite a bit of expertise in lots of the areas of the library that could be very useful to everyone concerned.