Friday, January 6, 2012

Re: Some comments on the Final Report of the FRBR Working Group on Aggregates

Posting to RDA0L

On 06/01/2012 15:41, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
The entities exist whether they're brought out in the cataloging as significant or not. In RDA, many such entities and their relationships are captured in unstructured descriptions or transcribed elements, without any mechanism for identifiers (separate records, authorized access points, URIs, control numbers, etc.).
</snip>

I beg to differ about "existence" of the entities. What FRBR did was to take out of the catalog an *arrangement* of the cards, which had been transferred into the computer, and then to transform this arrangement into an "entity" with all of those attributes. In this sense, saying that a "work" exists is just like proclaiming that a royal flush "exists" in poker, and therefore the royal flush has various attributes.

The royal flush does not exist as such, it comes about only through a specified arrangement of the playing cards which in fact, *do* exist.

The reason for the arrangement of cards in the catalog was for retrieval. That's all. Over many centuries, librarians discovered through trial and error that people wanted to find the books in their collections in specific ways and they used the arrangements of the cards to provide that. A library would get another version/copy/edition of the Bible and would need to include it intelligently into the catalog. (Compare this to the lack of any intellectual arrangement in that catalog of the Rev. Prince I mentioned in my previous post) It wasn't philosophical, it was totally pragmatic. The philosophical view grew out of the pragmatic basis. But the pragmatic basis should always take precedence over theory.

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