On 7/28/2015 10:20 AM, Hal Cain wrote:
> There are times I think we may be supposing users will benefit, when they > really don’t notice, and don’t use it for searching or selecting. How much > does inconsistency matter (i.e. we capture all the data presented, and > shunt the pieces into their categories, but when it’s not presented we just > move on…)?
Agreed. But if we want to ask sincerely the question of “what benefits the users” (something very important to do in my opinion) that really opens up a can of worms, and it is something that RDA/FRBR/Bibframe haven’t really addressed: what do the users really need? You can find this out only by asking people.
If we did ask, I think we would find out that the public *would like* lots of things, *wants* other things, *needs* still other things, and would love to have other things but they don’t know they are possible. The number of catalogers does not seem to be going up, so we cannot offer everything to everyone. What would members of the public prefer? Here is an example. We could ask people what would they prefer to have:
1) to have the country placed in the publication information (e.g. Oxford University Press in the US vs UK)
2) to have authorities more useful. i.e. so that people can easily know that if they want items authored by IBM they must search in specific ways (“International Business Machines Corporation” but its subbodies, conferences sponsored by IBM, and so on, may have other forms) and that IBM itself had earlier names
3) that if you want a book or movie or music, you may not have to do much at all. There are zillions of excellent free materials, so if someone wants to watch “My Man Godfrey” with William Powell and Carole Lombard (a great movie that I recently watched), you don’t have to spend any money; you don’t have to drive to a library to borrow a VCR or DVD. You don’t have to sign on with Overdrive or some paid service. You can simply search either https://www.google.it/search?q=my+man+godfrey&num=100&newwindow=1&safe=off&biw=1525&bih=672&tbm=vid&source=lnt&tbs=dur:l or https://archive.org/search.php?query=my%20man%20godfrey%20AND%20mediatype%3Amovies. These copies are completely legal. There are lots of these types of materials.
If the choice were offered to the public in this way, I think option 1 would be seen as much less important than the others.
I agree that we should focus on the needs of the users, but we need to find out what they are and what the public would prioritize them. Then I think we could be assured of creating something that the public wants and needs.
James Weinheimer firstname.lastname@example.org
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