Posting to Autocat

On 23/07/2013 15:17, Kuperman, Aaron wrote:

I believe that the authors of RDA, while having a very modest “core”, assumed that most library catalogers (and remember RDA is designed for a broader range of materials than library books) would be intelligent enough to implement “best practices” that go way beyond “core.” Given that (in the US) most library catalogers have at least one graduate degree, it might not have been unreasonable of themn to make such an assumption. The fact that it isn’t required to make 7xx headings in most cases, and it isn’t required to justify them in a note does NOT mean one shouldn’t make 7xx headings nor that one shouldn’t make explanatory notes.

This is only more evidence (as if we need more) that those who designed RDA live in their own little world that has almost nothing to do with reality.

So, people are supposed to do more than is expected of them? People who do that, and for no rewards, are labeled “suckers”. Perhaps in a world where everything is wonderful, everyone is trustworthy and no one takes advantage of anyone else, such a mentality would be pertinent. But we live where, for example, real, live catalogers must follow policies set by their respective catalog departments. The catalog departments must keep the materials flowing through and therefore spend too much time. Any clogs in the flow must be dealt with and eliminated. This is one reason why cataloger’s outputs are measured by statistics: the number of materials you put through, and the more you do, the better. So, someone else’s shelves are moving, yours are stuck. Who gets praised? Who gets the bonuses? Who is held up as an example for others to follow, gets promoted and sets policies for others, blah, blah, blah? Anybody could know the answers if they had worked even the shortest amount of time in any type of realistic environment, not just in libraries.

None of this is new. It may come as just as much of a “shock” as discovering that lots of libraries cannot upgrade the updates to the headings demanded by RDA. Obviously, those designers didn’t understand reality, or, they just didn’t care at all. It is much easier to just ignore what libraries are facing every day.

For those who are interested, I discussed these matters at length in my podcast “Cataloging Matters Podcast no. 9: Standards, Perfection, and Good Enough”