Monday, May 7, 2012

Re: [ACAT] Who actually needs to understand FRBR principles?

Posting to Autocat

On 01/05/2012 15:40, Kathleen Lamantia wrote:
<snip>
I have heard several experienced presenters opine that a wide percentage of library staff need to be made familiar with FRBR principles, at a minimum the WEMI concepts. I am extremely hesitant to do this. I understand WEMI; I do not find it helpful in any way, and I don't think my staff or patrons will either.

I work in a public library. Our OPAC has icons which show material type (derived from Field 30 Mat Type in III). Patrons use these to select which format they desire.

Our staff uses the gmd field when they are assisting patrons in searching. We plan to continue to use this. 336, 337 and 338 may or may not be suppressed, we haven't decided yet.

 I understand that RDA is related to the wider world, and that its mission is to make our data not only useful to our own patrons, but to enable searching of it by the entire online community. However, neither my staff nor my patrons are aware of this, and if I do not serve them effectively, my OPAC won't last long anyway.

 So, my question is: Which staff members/departments do you believe should be taught FRBR/WEMI - and why?
</snip>
I think everyone needs to have a profound understanding of the changes RDA mandates concerning abbreviations. As an added attraction, I would suggest that cataloging departments organize a lively debate concerning precisely why "cm" is considered a symbol and not an abbreviation. This debate could be based on the point-counterpoint method.

Just kidding....  :-)

But to be serious, in a meeting with the staff, it will be important for everyone to have an idea of what changes they will see with RDA. These will be very small changes and will raise the inevitable question, "If this is all there is, why is this happening?" These questions could be highly pointed because the costs for implementation will probably mean that at least some of it will be coming out of the budgets of other departments. The only way that it makes any sense is to say: it is on the road to FRBR. And then *that* opens up the can of worms.

Once again, this is one of the unavoidable costs of refusing to come up with a valid business case. Every library will have to come up with one on their own, but somebody, sooner or later, has to come up with decent reasons other than visions of a wonderful new future.

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