You don’t seem to be aware that AACR2 has two parts.Part 1: describe the resource (which could include data about any FRBR entity in the resource– work, expression, manifestation, item)Part 2: provide access to the *WORK*. Catalogers have never had a choice about deciding what the work is in a manifestation because that’s what determines the main entry heading. RDA takes the existing practice and labels it more concisely as a process of identifying the work in the manifestation rather than as something that creates a file order for a catalog. RDA also makes it a CORE element for the same reason that AACR2 doesn’t let catalogers be lazy and not make a decision about main entry (aka identifying the work in a manifestation). In addition, RDA takes the **** pragmatic **** step of acknowledging other data scenarios in which authorized access points may not be the only method used to identify entities.Or, as AACR2 20.1 puts it (and I hope this issue is laid to rest once and for all):“The rules in part II apply to works and not to physical manifestations of those works, though the characteristics of an individual item are taken into account in some instances.”Cataloging has always posited the “philosophical” idea that every manifestation has a work, and every record has that decision embedded within it. It’s only a question about being implicit or explicit about it in terms of encoding and processing of bibliographic information.
Really? There is a part 2 to AACR2? I never got that far into the book! 😉
In my opinion, laziness has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Catalogers were always supposed to check to see if there were other editions of the work and relate those editions using a uniform title when appropriate. If it is not appropriate, such as when there is only a single edition, they can stop and go on to the next item. I call this efficiency and not laziness. The final product will be exactly the same for the users. It isn’t that people will be able to find anything more than they can now.
The catalog always was a tool for practical use, primarily by non-librarians, but also by librarians. It was not supposed to be the product of a philosophical and academical exercise, and in fact, there have been periods when the catalog and the cataloging process have been purged of inefficiencies and information deemed superfluous. The reason these reconsiderations have occurred is because the catalog is supposed to be a tool designed to help people find the items they need. As far as people finding WEMI, that can be done now. Technology has made FRBR unnecessary if the purpose is to “find, identify, …” but nobody seems to care about that. From my own researches into the history of the catalog, I suspect that people never did want those tasks so badly and there were other reasons why the catalog was built in the way it was, but that is a completely different topic.
Adding the FRBR relationships (director, editor, sequel, and so on) is fraught with it own problems, but I have already discussed that at length.