Posting to Autocat

On 24/07/2013 14:47, Moore, Richard wrote:


Before RDA implementation, I honestly do not recall any discussion of consequences of RDA on library budgets, any discussion of various options and so on

Do you mean discussion on an internet mailing list, or discussion among the American Library Association, CILIP, the participants in the Australian and Canadian Committees on Cataloguing, and the national libraries? Not to mention the European RDA Interest Group and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.

And RDA can continue to develop without concern for its practical consequences.

Libraries and professional associations that have spent the past six years reviewing it and the past two implementing it, in practice, probably have a reasonable idea of its practical consequences. At least, it might be nice to believe that.

I agree with you: that would be nice, but the very fact is: RDA was implemented without a viable business case. That was readily admitted and by no less than the US national libraries. It was implemented for reasons other than “practical” reasons, but apparently, because of “some vision thing”. Such a decision would not have been allowed in any other type of organization that I know of, but perhaps there are some.

As an example, to get the funding to update the headings, I am sure that somebody, somewhere is going to have to go before a meeting of directors who are very touchy on the topic of money–especially right now. Everybody wants money and they have very little of it to go around. Almost everyplace has suffered loss of staff–sometimes serious losses. Those directors will ask: what are these changes? Show us. And the librarian would have to show how d. changes to hyphen, fl. changes to active, and so on.

After the initial laughter died down, the serious questions would begin:
Is this worth it? Why?

Are there other options? What are they and why aren’t you exploring those? Bring in IT and see what they can do. (A dangerous road to go down)

Do people need these kinds of changes so badly? What makes you think that? Show us your evidence. The changes look pretty silly to me.

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? (Oooppss! Change topic quickly!)

And so on. I think it would be a terrible experience for the librarian. It would be much wiser to simply wait and put off any need for decisions.