Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Re: RDA as the collaboratively created way forward[?]; was Is RDA the Only Way? An Alternative Option Through International Cooperation

Posting to RDA-L

On 13/02/2012 18:09, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
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I do think it's worthwhile pointing out that status quo has no established business case.
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I do not understand this. Are you saying there are no justifiable reasons for libraries as they stand currently? I hope that librarians can make valid business cases for their libraries as they stand now, otherwise the situation is even worse that I thought. Of course, our current model must change but changing from that current, stable model must also be justified. This should not be too much to ask.
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Also this statement seems to echo a mistake James Weinheimer made: "We have to help users find what they are looking for when they don't already know an author or a title, and RDA doesn't help with this."
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I can't find where I stated this. If I did actually say it, I would be surprised because I would say that RDA could help since there would be subject access (subject headings/descriptors and perhaps classification), along with keyword access of various types. Of course, you don't need RDA for that but can do it right now with AACR2/LCSH/MARC21/ISO2709.
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The attributes and relationship elements are those other things. It appears that there is some confusion over "FRBRization"-- the hierarchical linking of the WEMI entities, versus the understanding that any attribute of an entity or relationship between entities needs to be evaluated (i.e., have a business case established for it) in terms of how they help users
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I think I understand what FRBR is and what it is meant to achieve, and that RDA is the so-called first step into the radiant future embraced by FRBR and linked data. The question is: are the results worth the effort and the costs, or in other words, what is the business case? In the future, people may want to make a business case for each attribute of an entity, that will be fine, but *irrelevant* at this point. We need a business case for RDA as a whole. Now. And it should have been done long ago. Now people are feeling helpless and that "There is no alternative" as I wrote in my paper. That is certainly not a business case because there is always an alternative.

Making a business case is a basic and elementary task and should never be ignored or discounted. I understand people do not want to make the business case since it is a very difficult thing to do, especially at such a late date, but it is something that absolutely *must* be done. Why? Because there are serious consequences. The implementation of RDA will cost money. Quite a bit of money when you add in the new systems libraries will need and other costs we can't see yet. Many, many libraries are barely holding on with their teeth right now. I realize many people do not want to see this simple fact, but nevertheless, it is a fact that many are living with.

How are libraries supposed to implement RDA with no extra money? I don't think too many of us believe that some sugar daddy will come strolling up at the last second who will pay for everything, so it will have to come out of the highly restricted budgets libraries have now. So, what does that mean?

The money will have to come out of staffing and from acquisitions. There is no other place it can come from. So, the ultimate question is: Is RDA worth the cost of jobs eliminated and/or materials not bought, thereby making our collections even *less* useful to our patrons than they are now?

I, and I believe a *lot* of others out there do not think so at all. Someone must make the case why RDA is worth all the pain and do so in very practical terms without reference to graphs that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, accompanied by vague promises that everything will turn out for the best. Somebody must do so sooner or later and stop ignoring it. Because when and if RDA is implemented, the consequences will become a painful reality for unlucky library staff out there and it should be for good reasons.

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