Re: [ACAT] Must article to read

Posting to Autocat

On 21/07/2012 16:15, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:

If a library, such as the Library of Congress, has established practices which it deems justified to be its business, such as the organization of intellectual or creative works, and resulting expressions and manifestations, supported by records for other entities of interest, then the burden of creating a business case has largely been made.

Even the Library of Congress said that they could not make a valid business case p. 4. So, I think it is quite a stretch to conclude that the business case has been made. It is much more logical to conclude that RDA will be implemented without a business case. Certainly there was no public testing or any prototypes of anything. I am just pointing out that that would *never* be allowed in a normal business environment.

In addition, the underlying model for FRBR, the entity-relationship model, has a proven track record in creating practical solutions for complex data needs. To not acknowledge such practices and realities seems colossally irresponsible. Assigning a mentality such as

“Today’s believers in the superiority of their own creations, like the theologians of yesterday, are sure to blame Adam and Eve—and catalogers—for any and all problems that follow on the implementation of the Next Generation Catalog. That much is entirely predictable.”

to practical, reliable, sensible people who have worked through the well-travelled data modeling exercises for bibliographic data is such a mindboggling stretch of thinking. It’s absurd. One can easily assign this mentality to any group, such as catalog traditionalists who frown on those who fumble through their well-manicured card catalog creations. Kudos to those who work hard in the trenches to improve library data and systems and user experiences with what they have to work with, and who work hard keeping the historical and human side of the equation in mind when developing new models or tools, and have to endure such relentless maligning from on high.

This is the problem with criticizing a project and why I mentioned that when I worked in grocery stores, if the designers had tested those checkstands with real clerks, those clerks were obviously too afraid to tell them the truth, or (I am adding now) their comments were just ignored because they said things the designers did not want to hear. So, in this case, we have “practical, reliable, sensible people who have worked through the well-travelled data modeling exercises for bibliographic data” and therefore, questioning them is just absurd.

Of course, in his article David pointed out how errors of the cockpit designers led to crashes, so what he is saying is not absurd but is based on sad experience. In my career, I have lived through some disaster library projects in catalogs, and not only in catalogs. (I refuse to discuss them) Designers of systems are only human; they often get very attached to their projects and immediately go into “parental protection mode” when someone criticises them. They can also be guilty of hubris, of believing that their researches and theories have covered every possible contingency, and if people do not like what they have created, it has to be a problem with the people, who are stupid, inept and ungrateful. Consequently, the very purpose of the project changes from creating a service that fulfills the needs of the users of the system into one that makes the designers happy and proud. That is when it becomes a disaster for the organization that is building the project.

Therefore, there are project systems such as the PRINCE2 system I mentioned and why it places so much authority with the Senior User.