Thursday, October 4, 2012

Re: [ACAT] Word usage

Posting to Autocat

On 04/10/2012 01:21, john g marr wrote:
Aside from Mac's appropriate response, I think (as a librarian) I should point out that DSM-5 has replaced DSM-IV, and its workgroup recommends amending it to replace "mental retardation" with "intellectual developmental disorder" and recognizing it as "a neurodevelopmental disorder of brain development."
Concerning the catalog, I still believe this is overlooking matters from the patron's point of view. The public searches by keywords and rarely understand subjects. But anyway, from their point of view, they will be able to see and search all of the words that are not considered to be very nice today because they are in the catalog from older materials. People can search Worldcat themselves for any of those words and see what they get. Those words will always be there. Added into this mix will be the public's tags and reviews, plus everything dragged in from Linked Data--which is what we are all supposedly aiming for with RDA, FRBR and so on, to harness the so-called "wisdom"(!) of the crowd.

Catalogers and librarians like to believe they are above it all, but the fact is we work with materials produced by the real world, so we are a part of it. We have ethics to keep us from eliminating resources we don't like, or making them incredibly difficult to find by adding bogus metadata, or doing as Google has with certain words. I remember reading a post once that if you searched "jew" in Google, you would get a rather strange page before you could continue. That function doesn't seem to happen anymore, at least to me, but the page is still there. It's clear that Google has other "ethics" besides library ones since they indulge in some types of actions that could be called bordering on censorship:

How is all of this going to work in the catalog of the future, especially in an international environment? I certainly don't know. It could turn out that the major role of the cataloger in the future will be to muck out the records, like cleaning out a horse's stall.

Maybe we need Lenny Bruce to come back.

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