Friday, August 3, 2012

Re: [RANT] : on cataloguers and IT people : [was] : RDA questions from librarians at small libraries

Posting to Autocat

On 02/08/2012 16:02, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
<snip>
 An excellent example of co-operation was the 2007 joint meeting over RDA by the JSC, IEEE/LOM, Dublin Core, and Semantic Web communities:
http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/meeting.html
and the 5 Years On seminar...
http://dcevents.dublincore.org/index.php/BibData/fyo
and its final report in
http://catalogingandclassificationquarterly.com/ccq50nr5-7.html </snip>

But where are the user studies in all of this? That's what I've been talking about: this has all been done by the designers and there have never been any studies on whether the users really want the system the experts have designed, and how much they want it, and that they want the RDA/FRBR capabilities more than others. Point to the user studies that demonstrate that the public wants abbreviations typed out more than they want other options, such as links to free online materials. Or that cutting the rule of three to the rule of "however many I feel like so long as there is one", is what the public wants. The second one, I know they don't want and when people find out that second and third authors do not have to be traced, or editors, or lots of corporate bodies, many will begin to howl, especially scholars. It's happened before.

I will don my soothsayer's cape and predict that this will be the first RDA rule to be reversed--because of public outcry.

So, libraries are supposed to spend all this money and effort retraining the catalogers to create a tools that nobody knows whether the public wants or not. The public may indeed want it, I have pointed this out very often, but as of right now--nobody knows because there have been no user studies--and if it succeeds it will be a matter of blind luck. In light of understanding that it is a system built by and for designers without any substantial input from the users, it all makes perfect sense. After all, the designers are the experts and we all realize that they just know what everybody wants and needs.

But pointing out these kinds of facts is just uncomfortable. Better to just go along with the flow and keep your fingers crossed.

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