Posting to Autocat
The purpose of the Cooperative Cataloging Rules is to give libraries an option that otherwise they would not have. To link to the original post: http://coopcatwiki.blogspot.it/2009/07/about-cooperative-cataloging-wiki.html
Such projects definitely can work, as the open source movement has proven, but such projects are based on a different model than what many are used to.
My own concern is: the value of cataloging is being “dissed” in many quarters. Many libraries do not have and will not have the budgets to subscribe to RDA or the Desktop, and as budget cutting even leads to training being de-emphasized or tossed overboard in these restricted times. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that expert-made library metadata can never be “more” or “faster” or “cheaper” than metadata made by untrained creators or created automatically by machines, but expert-made library metadata does have the potential of being “better”–IF the records follow standards. If they don’t follow standards, it is almost impossible to argue that the records we make are any better than anything else out there.
As access to the standards becomes more and more difficult (for whatever reason, but in this case because of cost) the quality has to suffer. And we shouldn’t forget that cataloging really is a cooperative enterprise, so that even though a few single libraries here and there may valiantly try to maintain the standards, the relatively few records they make will sink under the masses of records that don’t follow the standards, and the result will be like trying to beat back the ocean.
There is a choice–but it will work only if it is truly cooperative.