Thursday, July 19, 2012

Re: [ACAT] Lack(?) of research, or, Let's hear it for the nobodies

Posting to Autocat

On 18/07/2012 22:29, Kevin M Randall wrote:
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James Weinheimer wrote:
I am more than willing to admit that my ideas are wrong but please, demonstrate to me which of these papers performed research on the public to demonstrate that people wanted RDA and FRBR over and above other services.
Since I also mentioned the FRBR Bibliography quite a long time ago, I am disappointed that there is still a demand that someone else find the information you want in it but apparently do not want to look for yourself. Nevertheless, I'll point you to one: "Case Studies in Implementing FRBR: AustLit and MusicAustralia" http://www.nla.gov.au/lis/stndrds/grps/acoc/ayres2004.doc (the link for the HTML version in the bibliography doesn't work; try http://alia.org.au/publishing/alj/54.1/full.text/ayres.html ).

In addition, the eXtensible Catalog is a high profile project incorporating the FRBR model that unfortunately isn't in the FRBR Bibliography (since that bibliography isn't all that up-to-date). Information on XC can be found by starting out at: http://www.extensiblecatalog.org/ There really is stuff out there, if you actually want to find it. A rather old-fashioned, quaint method of starting to do that might be by Googling "frbr user research"...

By the way, I believe you asked for research into FRBR and users, not only those that "demonstrate that people wanted RDA and FRBR over and above other services." The latter doesn't sound like any of the research questions I would imagine having been studied. (I would imagine something more along the lines of "demonstrate that RDA and FRBR help guide the users to more successful catalog searches.")
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This is really a great example. Thanks for pointing it out. Again, whatever libraries create is not in a vacuum and absolutely must be compared with other tools out there. The reason comparison is so critical is because the public will immediately compare anything we create with what they already know. For instance, let's do a quick search for "waltzing matilda" (as in the paper you mention) in Worldcat: http://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_all&q=title%3A%22waltzing+matilda%22. We see the results with very nice facets. So, if the question is that people need FRBR (which seems to be taken for granted so I will too for the purposes of this argument), is this display satisfactory? The searcher can limit by author, by format, by dates, etc. Therefore, it seems as if the FRBR/RDA structure is not necessary, if the purpose is to allow people to navigate through the WEMI. Of course, the current Worldcat interface, and probably the search too, can be vastly improved.

Still, how else can it be improved even further? How about taking this into Google Videos: https://www.google.com/search?q=Waltzing+Matilda+cowan&tbm=vid, the results are interesting. Still, let's do something more advanced for a moment and limit it in various ways: https://www.google.com/search?q=intitle%3A"waltzing+matilda"+(mpg|mp3|mp4|avi|wmv). This limits the search to the terms "waltzing matilda" just in the title of the resource, plus limits to various audio files. This is just off the top of my head and I am sure can be improved.

This is what I mean by pointing out what can be done today. It's simply amazing, but not all that simple and beyond the abilities of a normal patron. So, the question becomes: can this kind of coding be done behind the scenes? I will venture a guess and reply: absolutely YES.

Can a catalog interface, such as Worldcat that has limited an item in various ways be able to extend that search into other databases in a way that a user would find useful? The answer is simply: YES. Could a lot more be done right now to improve all of this? Absolutely YES. Do we need FRBR or RDA for any of this? The answer is very simple: NO.

RDA and FRBR are past it. How much more demonstration is needed? Move on into the new environments along with everybody else.

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