Re: [RDA-L] When will RDA truly arrive? Will it truly arrive?

Posting to RDA-L

On 23/01/2013 17:36, Benjamin A Abrahamse wrote:

Since these situations cannot be predicted by rules-makers, it makes sense to leave the decision in the hands of cataloging agencies and individual catalogers. I think RDA threads this needle in an appropriate manner by setting out the rule, “Record a statement of responsibility naming more than one person, etc., as a single statement”, and then making the option to omit (“If a single statement of responsibility names more than three persons … [etc.] … performing the same function, or with the same degree of responsibility, omit all but the first of each group”). The “rule of three” is now the “option of three”.

The responsibility for determining when a cataloging agency should be producing records as “full as possible”, or as “fast as possible”, or somewhere on a spectrum between these two poles, rests in the agency itself. They are the ones who should be talking to their users about what works best for them.

I agree to a point. The consequence is that the standards have decreased. That can only be considered a fact, although it is possible that the standards might, maybe, sometimes, perhaps, increase when a cataloger feels it is warranted and their supervisors allow it. I am just really glad that other professions don’t do the same thing, but I have discussed standards in other professions at length.

This has consequences for the public, who use the records. It also has consequences for reference and selection and ILL. If something with three authors and only the first is traced, of course it will be more difficult to find. The person for whom it has the fewest consequences is probably the cataloger who will mostly have the item in hand or will already be looking at the record, but it will be more difficult for anybody else.

If such a decision had been run by the so-called “customers”, that is the people who will be using our records to find the materials they need, and a significant portion of them said that all they needed was one author, I wouldn’t be criticising, but I have never heard of any such studies. This was one more of those unilateral decisions that will make our catalogs even less useful for the public and make even justifying the costs of catalogers even more difficult.

The possible bright spot is that if people find out and complain very loudly (as has happened in the past, by the way) it would show that people are at least interested, and there may be some renewed interest in our catalog records.