On 5/1/2015 4:42 PM, Goldfarb, Kathie wrote:
> I do not believe adding a $e showing relationship (or $d for birth & death dates either) helps patrons find books or other works, but to select from a list of titles those that meet their needs. To identify those in which Orson Welles is the director as opposed to those in which he is an actor. >
> We need to be aware of how the information is used, which is more than ‘just’ how it is searched. >
> The information becomes useful in letting the patron know whether the name they searched is the author, as opposed to editor ; director or actor . >
> When we are making a case to library higher-ups on why we need to take this extra time, they need to understand that it is not ‘just’ the search, but also to evaluating results.
I can appreciate all of that, but several sticky questions remain, especially in today’s environment.
First, there is the complication of the “legacy data” where the vast majority of records in the database that the public will see do not have this kind of information. As a consequence, any searches, including anything that uses the relator code, e.g. “director”, *cannot* give a correct reply for the 90% of the records do not have the “director” code in the record. Results *can only* be incorrect and the public will discover this very quickly. Therefore, if the catalog is to provide information that is even semi-reliable, which I think is essential, the legacy data must be updated.
Who is supposed to do that? How much training do they need? How much will it all cost? If catalogers are supposed to do it with current resources (i.e. no additional staff–and I do not see that massive numbers of catalogers will be hired in the future) what is the tradeoff? Fewer records? Fewer headings in individual records? Or what, precisely?
At the same time, there is another inescapable fact: there is the popularity and actual implementation in many libraries of the single search box, i.e. a tool used by the public that searches multiple databases and returns all records in a single search result, and the library catalog is only one of many databases. Most of the time, the catalog records represent a tiny, and diminishing! minority of the records that people see, with the consequence that 99% of those records do not–and cannot–have any kind of relator information.
I realize people don’t want to discuss issues of legacy data or the consequences of the single search box where non-library metadata is merged with our data, but these are very much a reality that the public will see with every single search. The consequences of these developments must be discussed.
Certainly, these issues are not lost on either the administrators or on the linked data crowd.
James Weinheimer firstname.lastname@example.org
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