On 30/05/2013 15:28, Flynn, Emily wrote:
As far as RDA, BIBFRAME, and FRBR are concerned, it makes sense that the library community and especially catalogers (soon to be metadata librarians if the trend continues), still want a specialized system and standards of their own since it is specialized work. Folksonomies and social tagging just haven’t caught on in the way many had hoped. I’ve known libraries who added the capability to their webpages and had very few, if anyone, actually tag the pages and items. While conforming more to W3C standards, an extension to schema.org or something, is useful, having our own control of cataloging standards is probably the way to go. Just as we don’t want to push IT or programmers out of job because librarians have enough skills to do that work on our own, catalogers and metadata librarians don’t want to have anyone else decide that machines or metadata technology specialists can do our jobs either.
I think we are pretty much in agreement.
There are legitimate reasons that librarians need special information so that they can manage their collections efficiently, not so much that it is specialized work. For instance, it would be nice to be able to prove to researchers and other members of the public that search results from a library catalog are “better” than what you can find with modern methods, full-text, related searches, and so on. But since our catalogs work so badly, you just can’t do it. Our current catalogs just don’t work. While you still need catalog records for materials that are offline, that thinking is becoming “soooo twentieth-century!”
The public doesn’t need a lot of the information librarians need. In fact, it remains to be seen that when considering online resources that are accessible immediately, it is unclear exactly what will be the role of the metadata record, especially if some other agency is managing it (Ebsco, Proquest, etc.). Plus, if the item is in a type of XML format, much of the description could literally come from *the item itself*. A strange idea that would be inconceivable to Panizzi, Cutter, and Dewey, and would make them reconsider the purpose of catalog records completely.
I believe there is a role for catalog records for online materials that are accessible immediately, but that role is still unclear. And while librarians want “their own standards” I don’t think it will succeed in the current economic situation, which threatens to become permanent for libraries even when the general economic situation improves (eventually!).
And when you mention, “Just as we don’t want to push IT or programmers out of job because librarians have enough skills to do that work on our own, catalogers and metadata librarians don’t want to have anyone else decide that machines or metadata technology specialists can do our jobs either.” while I agree, I think many, many, many administrators would not. While failure is obvious when you have untrained people do IT work because the systems just break down, when you have untrained catalogers/metadata experts messing up everything, it is far more difficult to understand how a catalog breaks down. A catalog can be “broken” but still seem to function. For instance, I have argued for quite some time that one aspect of our catalogs is completely broken (that is, the dictionary aspect of our catalogs) http://blog.jweinheimer.net/2013/02/catalog-matters-podcast-no-18-problems-with-library-catalogs.html. To me, it’s a no-brainer and should be a call-to-action, but instead some catalogers become “parental” and get very angry when you criticize it seriously.
So, while libraries may want to keep their own standards, and so on, while I understand, I am afraid that many outsiders will see it as just another example of ” cataloger navel gazing”.