Thursday, January 12, 2012

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

Posting to RDA-L

On 12/01/2012 12:12, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:
<snip>
No matter, however, how excellent Ms Oliver's product will turn out, the major roadblock on RDA's way to success will remain its closedness as a subscription product. So, under the circumstances given, how big is the chance of RDA succeeding anyway? I think the MRI business of Mac and Michal Gorman, together with the Open Cataloging Rules approach of Jim Weinheimer, have all the potential to lead into a future for cataloging that is both affordable and sustainable, open for more,  inviting for collaboration across borders, and down to earth. The "circumstances given" will not change significantly, I think, before there is a new data model plus codification in a manageable, learnable, implementable, and efficient MARC replacement. Under the present circumstances, RDA implementation - if not going way beyond the test data! - could hardly justify the expense.
</snip>
And this expense comes at a highly critical time. I am still in a state of shock about the finding of poverty in the United States! http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57343397/census-data-half-of-u.s-poor-or-low-income/ In such a climate, I think we can all safely assume that finding additional money for libraries will probably take a back seat to more vital concerns for quite a long time.

There is currently a very interesting email discussion going on, on the alcts-eforum list, talking about "The Incredible Shrinking Cataloging Department," where people are talking about how they are dealing with less staff for more work. On the bright side, there does appear to be some hiring, and replacement of cataloging staff is going on, but the major trend seems to be outsourcing through shelf-ready copy. One interesting observation was that when a cataloger leaves or retires, in many libraries there is not the previous automatic response to replace the position, but to reconsider what are the needs of the library as a whole. Also, there appears to be an increase in the use of students, when possible.

Naturally, the new data models and methods and rules should be tested (should have been long ago) to discover if they meet the needs of the *public* better than what we have now. Still haven't seen it, but I won't bore everyone with going over that ground again.

1 comment:

  1. I think libraries should hesitate to think of of students as a given. The use of students, many of which receive Federal Work Study (FWS) money, hinges on the US Government's continued commitment to fund FWS and the parent institution's continued willingness to match. Given the current political volatility in DC, in which Education funding is always an issue, I would be cautious. Imagine what would happen if the appropriation tanks or the Feds require a greater match from the parent institution. What then?

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