Saturday, February 25, 2012

Re: Revolution in our Minds: Seeing the World Anew

Posting to RDA-L

On 23/02/2012 15:55, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
[Jim Weinheimer wrote:]
These are vital materials, and the public clearly wants them. This has little to do immediately with bibliographic >metadata but with selection policies. However, if those materials get selected, then cataloging gets swamped. And >then how does reference deal with it?
Leaving it up to authors or publishers would be a bad idea. A service like LibraryThing can show the way for a middle ground-- dedicated users can contribute to the construction of effective systems (so effective that LibraryThing sells the content back to libraries).
</snip>

This much I can definitely agree with. By definition, authors and publishers are both interested in self-promotion and therefore leaving it up to them is a bad idea. There is nothing strange in this, but the fact must be stated simply and clearly. Those people can be included but must be monitored.

This is one point where librarianship as a whole can begin to make itself felt, not so much in the metadata, which is only one small part of librarianship, but where the field as a whole can offer different kinds of guidance. For the moment, let us leave aside the methods as beside the point and concentrate on the concept of "why" this is a bad idea. Not necessarily bad for us, but why it is bad for the patrons. It is absolutely critical to realize that most non-librarians do not at all understand this is a problem.

There has been a discussion on another list, alcts-forum on "Transforming Collections" and one of the topics has been PDA, or patron-driven acquisitions. PDA makes perfect sense to some people, but the librarian can understand how it *can* be a disaster for the *collection*. There have been several good thoughts there. We need to imagine how to solve these problems without considering the methods for the moment. Perhaps the FRBR tasks will be a part and perhaps not, but first the issues need to clarified, and then possible answers may make themselves known.

Nevertheless once again, I recognize that this list is probably not the correct forum for these sorts of questions. Yet, I think they need to be asked and tentative answers offered for discussion and refinement.

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