Saturday, March 17, 2012

Re: [RDA-L] Card catalogue lessons

Posting to RDA-L

On 16/03/2012 15:42, Kevin M Randall wrote:
<snip>
James Weinheimer wrote:
Of course, I don't agree with this reasoning. I don't think it is essential. Adding the relator information is additional labor for no tangible gains. While I agree that the public has terrible problems with our catalog records, this would be ranked near the very bottom. Working on this distracts our efforts from the real problems with our catalogs.
Sorry, but contrary to being "near the very bottom", I believe that the lack of relators is one of the major problems with out catalog data. Maybe some users are happy to have to slog through statements of responsibility and notes in order to find out how a particular person relates to the resource being described, but why should they have to? Why should we expect the user, wanting to find things where Person X is acting as writer, or as editor, or as illustrator, or as publisher, or as performer, or as producer, or as director, or as composer, or as librettist, have to get a result list that includes many things where Person X is *not* involved in the role being searched? How happy would we be with Internet Movie Database if we weren't able to have searches limited to a person's particular role? I know that *I* wouldn't be.
</snip>
That's fine. You can have your beliefs and I can have mine. But if relators are to be added, it will result in diverting resources from other things catalogers could be doing, such as raising productivity, adding more headings with the cap off of the rule of three, doing better subject analysis...

I only hope that nobody ever searches our catalogs for someone as an editor because they *will never* and *can never* get results they can rely upon. How much would it cost to add all of those relators for all of those millions of records? What an incredibly ironic waste that would be!

It would be much better to try to cooperate with projects such as IMDB in some way, or better yet: let people know that you don't search a library catalog for this kind of information, just as you don't search catalogs for lots of things, like journal articles, datasets, or most websites. Nothing wrong with that. It's just the wrong tool. I think people could understand, just like they seem to know that you don't search IMDB for the latest information on gall stones. Still, I have had people who want the latest news on a some current political issue say that they should search JSTOR!

But if somebody can show that lack of relators is really important, and so important that it rises above all of these other possibilities, AND that our current records can be updated in some kind of way that will allow for at least semi-reliable results for the users, OK. It seems to me that sooner or later somebody should ask the patrons what they would prefer.

But we shouldn't just accept all these things without question as RDA would have us do, especially in the climate we have today. They still cannot show that it makes good business sense. It seems as if they don't care about the consequences to the people involved.

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