Friday, June 8, 2012

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

Posting to RDA-L

On 07/06/2012 14:51, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
It shouldn't be that hard to understand. And it shouldn't be "amazing" as it was fully explained to you previously.

John F. Myers, in an earlier post, explained the elementary nature of the FRBR user tasks:

"No matter what tool or platform is used, there has to be sufficient hooks associated with the resources it is describing in order for it to return a set of results for the FIND task. There has to be sufficient ancillary data, hook-like or otherwise, provided in those results for the user accomplish the IDENTIFY and SELECT task. And lastly, there has to be some further aspect of the record for the user to complete the OBTAIN task.

In Google, the hooks are the data compiled and indexed by its spiders, the ancillary data is the brief description below the link, the obtain aspect is the actual link. Similar pieces of data arise from the other web services.

One may argue about the elements one designates for accomplishing these tasks, one may argue about the validity of a given element for a certain population's accomplishment of these tasks, and one may argue about the elements appropriate to specific kinds of resources, but in the end we still need to have a mechanism that returns something whenever a user casts his/her net into the information universe, lets them discriminate amongst the fish captured, and then haul one out."
</snip>
As I have tried to point out, this is not how it works today for modern information search and retrieval. FISO WEMI by ATS describes in idealistic terms what it was to use a library in the old days. Many never did manage to learn it, or didn't want to and preferred to just go in the stacks to browse randomly, or they would return to their "favorite shelves". But all is different now. For instance, today with full-text, you can identify and select something only *after* you have obtained it. That has to have a consequence on something.

Find is morphing into something that is really entirely new and never seen before. And with the resources themselves that get more mashed up and vivisected both manually and automatically, it's increasingly difficult to even say what an "item" is, which has major repercussions on what is a work, expression or manifestation, which I still say are all based on physical materials. And finally, focusing on the traditional access points of author, title, and subject is almost forgotten by the public. Certainly they do it, but they do it through natural language searches which goes far beyond ATS in the expectation that the system will sort it all out. And very often, it does.

Anybody can see this the moment they do a Google search. Certainly the public does.

I don't enjoy bringing these matters up, but somebody has to talk about them. As a result, what is the purpose of library metadata? What is the purpose of the local catalog? These are logical enough questions. I think there are major purposes to library metadata and local catalogs since they could potentially provide the public with useful tools found nowhere else. But we must get away from thinking that FRBR tasks are what the users want. Librarians want them and need them, of this I have no doubt, but the users haven't done them ever since keyword was introduced into our catalogs.  Judging by how quickly people abandoned the traditional methods in favor of keyword, I don't think the users cared much for the so-called FRBR "user" tasks anyway. Nobody complained and they moved on. They want something different today.

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