Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Re: RDA Implementation Date Set

Posting to Autocat

On 13/03/2012 01:06, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
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[J. Weinheimer wrote:]
... rules at the time they were created: AACR1, ALA, Dewey, and so on.
In my over 50 years of cataloguing, I've used the LC descriptive and ALA entries rules (green and red books), AACR1 (blue book), AACR2 (brown book), and AACR2R (1988 and 1998 revisions, pale and dark blue), as well as specialized rules for such things as rare books and films.
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Back at Princeton, there were lots of records in the card catalog created in the old Dewey rules, along with rules going back to the early 1870s. The public had to work with them every day. Frederick Vinton, the first professional librarian there, created its first card catalog, then made a printed catalog based on the cards in 1884 http://www.archive.org/details/subjectcatalogu00vintgoog. His preface is interesting.

I never figured out precisely which rules that first librarian followed, but I figured that it would have been the same as the rules used in the LC catalog of 1868 because he worked on that one before going to Princeton. http://www.archive.org/details/cataloguebooksa00goog. Later, Princeton switched to Dewey's rules for some time until they switched to ALA.

Of course, these records were converted and not always updated. I am sure there are other catalogs in the same situation.

I remember how great I thought it was when I found an actual cataloger's copy of the Dewey School Rules, complete with annotations on almost every page! Too bad I didn't scan it. I just discovered this one though, with someannotations. You need to zoom in quite a bit. http://www.archive.org/stream/libraryschoolru00dewegoog#page/n7/mode/1up

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What came before RDA was evolution. RDA is revolution.
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If only RDA were a genuine revolution. RDA will turn the practice of cataloging itself upside down, costing a still unknown amount of money, but will go unnoticed by the public. Hard to call that much of a revolution. Maybe it's more of a "palace coup" that shakes up everything behind the scenes but leaves the lives of the populace untouched.

I am sure that non-librarians who know about RDA will consider it as a "tempest in a teacup." If you are a human being looking at it, a tempest in a teacup is insignificant, but if you happen to be a mote floating in the liquid in the teacup, then it really *is* a tempest.

For catalogers, they will experience RDA as a tempestuous revolution, but their trials will go unnoticed by the public.

Too bad it's not the other way around!

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