Re: [ACAT] Priorities

Posting to Autocat

On 09/07/2012 15:22, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:

You’ve answered your own question. If the user tasks are “generic” then it’s not a matter of finding out different ones, but rather elaborations on those generic tasks.

For example, people like the way Wikipedia disambiguates between entities, such as people. Disambiguating is the generic “identify” user task.

We obviously need the name elements (including variants used) to begin to identify and differentiate between people.

Databases need identifiers of some kind.Do we use add dates to help people “identify” (we certainly do for many research questions about authors)?

Do we use a select listing of titles to help people “identify” (great idea– something that can happen without the straightjacket of traditional catalog display constraints)?

Do we use occupation, language, or associated places to help people “identify”? Wikipedia has established its methodology to help people “identify”, and the choices are nearly identical to the “identifying” elements in RDA’s chapter on Identifying Persons (Chapter 9).

For all the time spent by people reading your posts they could have been picking up the basics of RDA, prepping their ILS systems, done a bit of training, and be fully operational (as some libraries already are). If you expect people to have the time to read your posts, why are you saying catalogers don’t have the time to pick up RDA?

For those who have had their time wasted, here’s a quick primer to get up to speed: RDA in 10 Easy Steps</snip>

I don’t believe that I ever mentioned that “catalogers don’t have the time to pick up RDA”. There are lots of other problems however. My basic argument has been that there is no value in RDA because it changes nothing for the public, although there will be many changes for catalogers, but those changes will not lead to greater simplicity, greater standardization or increased productivity. Certainly there needs to be change, but changes that help the public, tools that they can see and that they can use.

I realize that many catalogers believe that the public really wants the so-called FRBR user tasks, which exist mystically “always and forever”, even though the public may not be aware that they want them. No research has ever been done that demonstrates anything like this. In fact, in studies on information retrieval, some by Google who does a lot of research and some of which they share, FRBR doesn’t even enter the equation. Also, as I showed in my paper at ALA, there is quite a bit of discussion about problems of information retrieval going on among the public, but NOBODY is talking about anything even remotely resembling FRBR.

Therefore, maintaining that the public wants the FRBR user tasks is a statement of belief–and while such a statement can be truly sincere, that does not make it a statement of fact. I continually point out that those user tasks stopped functioning in library catalogs when keyword was introduced, and the public cannot do them in Google now, with the result that… people prefer Google over our tools! Nevertheless, I have pointed out that if it is so important to allow the public to do the FRBR user tasks, there is no need to change any cataloging rules at all. Just implement a catalog that has facets, such as everyone can see at Worldcat, where people can do the FRBR user tasks easily and simply, that is: so long as the cataloging is well done. Even several open source catalogs allow facets.

So, if the ultimate purpose of all of this is to allow the public to do the FRBR user tasks, then…. it’s too late! Technology got there first and no cataloging rules need to change at all. This should be something to celebrate! Celebrate and then move on to more important matters.

The fact is: RDA is a modern day Edsel, creating something that the public does not want, and with no business case. That is the waste.