On 28/03/2012 17:50, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
<snip>Absolutely. The main point in these matters is consistency. If we can say that wherever there is "[beginning of field or a space]ca[period][space] " in 100/400/600/700/800$d, display as "somewhere around this time, give or take a few years" there is no problem. Computers do this all the time and what they are designed to do.
If we used the power of the systems to change abbreviations automatically based on simple find and replace focused on specific fields/subfields, how much labor and how many costs could everyone avoid!Would this not be simpler to program if both legacy and RDA records had "ca.", "fl.", "S.l.", "s.n.". etc. as opposed to words and phrases in a variety of languages?
And sure, there will be the occasional "s.1." instead of "s.l." or spaces or caps or whatnot, but fixing those errors are trivial compared with changing everything manually(!! Still can't get over that one!). Once we get away from the consistency, e.g. changing to "approximately" with all of the possible misspellings, then it will be much more difficult. Multiply this by all of the abbreviations that are to be changed and programming difficulties increase enormously.
As I said before, RDA should be renamed to "Retype Designated Abbreviations." As if typed-out abbreviations are going to make a difference to the public! Yeah, they'll just come running back! I think I read some research somewhere that they discovered this is why the science, technology, engineering and mathematical sciences (STEM) don't use libraries anymore: our cataloging abbreviations.
Of course, unless there is a huge and brain-consuming retrospective conversion project of typing out the abbreviations in the old records, everybody will still be stuck looking at the abbreviations anyway. Whoops! I guess we lost the STEM people again!
Sorry for my lack of seriousness, but you have to find laughs somewhere. :-)
Why not make the highly valuable and unique syndetic structures of our authority files actually *function* once again in our current information environment and maybe even the environment of the future?
That just might make a difference to the public!