Re: [NGC4LIB] The Return of Cards?

Posting to NGC4LIB

On 10/7/2013 3:25 AM, Alexander Johannesen wrote:

“James Weinheimer” <> wrote:

You could never get anything like the same result in a library catalog. Why? Because there are no recipes in the library catalog.

Just to be clear; I don’t want the same result in the catalog, and I’m quite aware the library don’t have full-text in their catalogs (as I’ve complained the lack of this for years 🙂 ).

I know you understand this, but many, many, many people do not. Most do not understand the difference between a library catalog that you search with a text box, or a full-text database that you search with a text box that looks exactly the same. When people understand the differences, then there remains a hope, but most do not and I think that fewer will understand in the future.

<plea> Dear catalogers; you are becoming extinct and irrelevant to the world. Please create a revolution within your midst in changing how, what and why you catalog. It’s not that your work wasn’t important, but it sure is *becoming* that way. Constraints of the past – of systems as well as people – is causing it, not you nor your expertize.
Please change! We need to now more than ever, but doing slightly different things. </plea>

Of course, you are absolutely right. The problem with catalogers is that the “decision makers” have convinced themselves that the solution to the entire problem is to institute the metaphysical goals of FRBR and linked data. In their opinion, you first must institute RDA (the newest rules, and that is too expensive in itself for many libraries) to reach FRBR (somewhere off in the future after unknown costs) and then you can reach linked data, which really is the highest stage. Once linked data is achieved, all will begin to correct itself.

A very strange belief, especially without any proof or demonstrations or prototypes or anything that shows that FRBR is what the public wants. It also ignores the fact that there are lots of agencies in the linked data universe right now who have never heard of FRBR and wouldn’t understand it if you tried to explain it to them. Of course, implementing linked data in and of itself is not such a bad goal, but there is no reason to believe it will change the fundamentals of the problem that people have with the catalog. Simply going into linked data will not make the catalog (no matter what form it may take then) much more–if any more–coherent to the untrained person than it does now. It could very well make it even less coherent.

I do think that the public would like a tool that provides reliable and unbiased access to materials selected by experts and tagged by experts, all of whom are not thinking about how to get you to open your wallet to them, or to violate your privacy for various purposes. Librarianship addresses each and every one of those concerns.

It doesn’t seem to be an exciting enough endeavor however.