Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Re: Revolution in our Minds: Seeing the World Anew

Posting to RDA-L

On 20/02/2012 21:44, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
In your paper: "but the public even prefers Amazon"

One aspect that works well in Amazon is that it has a more FRBR-like result display when showing a record for a book. The different related formats are predominantly displayed: regular print versions, large print versions, e-book versions, paperback versions.
Compare that to user tasks as outline in RDA Chapter 17-- the user tasks that are most related to the hierarchical WEMI model:
"RDA 17.2 The data recorded to reflect the primary relationships should enable the user to:
a) Find all resources that embody a particular work or a particular expression
b) Find all items that exemplify a particular manifestation."
...
</snip>
Not everyone is capable of, or willing to, look at the world anew. Some seem to be fated to see things "...according to informational structures that are totally and literally outdated." If libraries are to survive as vital organizations for our communities, I think it is absolutely critical for as many librarians as possible to look at the world anew with as few preconceived notions as possible. If we insist on our traditional structures and "user needs", we make ourselves almost tragicomical in relation to other information agencies and professionals who are not in thrall to such notions.

It is very difficult to get people on different sides of such a basic issue on the same page. Different people seem destined to play different roles.

Unfortunately, the RDA/FRBR debate is not only academic. If it were only academic, it would be one matter, but the costs of RDA implementation, plus further costs of FRBR, will undoubtedly take a human toll as people are laid off (i.e. sacrificed) for what some believe to be  the "greater good" of an unproven theory. And it is, very definitely, an unproven theory, at least in reference to its validity to the public. Let there be no mistake about that.

Some may believe they are immune to such pressures and they may be. For a time.

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