Re: [ACAT] Critique of RDA: RDA and AACR2 as languages

Posting to Autocat

On 10/07/2012 22:17, Aaron Kuperman wrote:

The differences aren’t that traumatic. They are mere dialects of “Cataloging-ese” in which we are all fluent, but almost no one else is. The WEMI system involves no real changes. The other changes are minor and will be easy to adjust to. The fact that so much is left to “catalogers’ judgement” may be the biggest change, but it isn’t the end of the world.

I agree with this but a rather obvious question follows. If there are so few changes, and those that will happen are so minor, then it is only natural to ask: why do it? As I have mentioned so many times (ad nauseum, I am sure many would add, but I consider the silence just as telling), this involves making an actual business case: that is, to lay out what libraries will gain after all of the expense and hassle, so that people can decide whether the efforts are actually worth it all.

Concerning WEMI, several have asked (including me) if such a theoretical structure really applies to digital materials that tend to be dynamically created or “mashed up” into brand new types of resources that have never really existed before. It is my own opinion that WEMI applies to the printed environment and is not really suited to digital items. No one has demonstrated that a WEMI environment applies to online materials better, or will have any practical advantages over what exists now. I have a certain amount of experience with online materials and I have not been able to see how WEMI will improve matters for the public or for catalogers, while it adds a layer of complexity that we have not needed before, and may very well may turn out to be far more difficult than we imagine now.