On 06/03/2013 14:57, Alison Hitchens wrote:
What I’m struggling with is whether we need to show the cross-references or just take people directly to the bibliographic results.
Why are those the only options? Do people really understand the list of bibliographic results? Maybe a list of results is all they have ever had, but is it really want they want and need? It used to be that the result list was ordered by only alphabet and main-entry. Sure, today people can re-sort the records by latest date of publication, latest date of acquisition, by author, title, subject. Some catalogs even supply the facets, but I suspect most people still don’t understand what they are looking at when they see the search result list.
Sorry to toot my own horn (yet again!) but I gave a virtual talk at ALA last year where I discussed this and suggested something new. “Reality Check: What is it that the Public Wants today?” http://blog.jweinheimer.net/2012/06/reality-check-what-is-it-that-the-public-wants-today.html. There are new, cool options out there and the only limit is our imaginations. Saying to “use your imagination” is much easier to say than to do.
What is needed is research on the public to find out what they want. It’s hard to build a tool when everybody is working in the dark.
My own opinion is that people can learn from the cross-reference. The example I have used is the name of “Nicolai Lenin” who was the Russian revolutionary and later head of the Soviet Union. The problem is: he didn’t exist(!). His revolutionary name was “Vladimir Ilich Lenin” (real name Vladimir Ilich Ulianov) and never used the name of “Nicolai Lenin”. And yet, the name “Nicolai Lenin” is how he was often referred to in the US press. I don’t know why–probably those tough, hard-drinking newsmen of the time thinking: “All those Russians are named Nicolai!”
Lenin’s heading is correct in the NAF, and there is a nice 4xx cross-reference from “Lenin, Nicolai” so someone learns.
So, I think it’s important to know why you are looking at a record. Otherwise I may wind up thoroughly confused and remain so. Often I see no reason why I am looking at something that comes up in a Google Search. If nothing else, a catalog should be clear–in that respect, anyway.