Thursday, June 7, 2012

Re: [RDA-L] "Work manifested" in new RDA examples

Posting to RDA-L

On 06/06/2012 22:16, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
The FRBR user tasks are like breathing and eating, and, no, a user doesn't have to have a full understanding of the bibliographic universe for them to pertain.
</snip>
I believe that this may be the most amazing statement I have read in all of my studies on cataloging and of all the messages on all the lists I have read. The FRBR user tasks are like eating and breathing?! I confess that I have seen people stop breathing, and they have died. I have not personally seen anyone stop eating and die (although I recently saw the movie "Hunger"), but I believe it has been firmly demonstrated that if someone did stop eating they would die.

Maintaining that the FRBR user tasks are as natural as eating and breathing of course, flies in the experience of each person each and every time they use a full text search engine. Search "call me ishmael" in Google and see what you get. Search "the book about the russian who killed an old pawn broker". The examples are endless.

The fact is: the FRBR user tasks describe how to work a specific tool designed in the 19th century, that is, the library catalog. This should not be extended to saying that these are the tasks (most) users want to do. There is no evidence for that at all, and in fact, there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

So long as the fiction is adhered to that FRBR provides what the majority of the users want, it will be very difficult for libraries to move ahead. We must approach matters in a much less dogmatic way, and be more scientific in our reasoning.

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