RDA-L Michael Gorman’s new essay on RDA

Posting to RDA-L

On 10/22/2015 7:47 PM, Kevin M Randall wrote:
I think that RDA proper (the guidelines) can’t help but be anything besides a “tool of transition”. That’s because we’re in a period of huge changes in the areas of recording, storing, searching, and displaying bibliographic data. I think what*will* endure for quite a while in some form (with expected and necessary updates over time) is the list of RDA elements. That is something that is worlds away from what AACR2 was. I believe it was at the midwinter CC:DA meeting in Boston 2015 that, during the enormous controversy over the AACR3 draft, someone asked: So, what you really want is a data dictionary? And there was an enthusiastic “yes” response. And that is what we have finally been given in the RDA elements. In time, some guidelines may go away because of lack of relevance, and some may become rewritten/reorganized to make them easier to use or more applicable to certain communities. Maybe the RDA guidelines themselves will go away completely. But the very essense–the set of RDA elements and their basic meanings–gets at the heart of bibliographic description and form the basic building blocks of library linked data.

This may be true, but it is fortune telling the future. Perhaps others are better at reading the tea leaves, or in Rome, while I have often watched fascinated at how the birds fly, it means nothing to me, although the ancient Etruscans claimed to be able to foretell the future by their formations. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EOlIv9dg4w The first time I saw them, I couldn’t believe they were birds)

To be honest, I have been very bad at predicting what the future holds. Even 10 years ago, I could never have predicted the changes we have all experienced with mobile computing, the issues concerning privacy, or how search is changing everything in ways that are fundamental and radical.

This analysis assumes a couple of points:
1) that changing to RDA was necessary for to create the “data dictionary” 2) that linked data is the way forward

I have seen nothing that proves that either of these are necessary steps toward the future. It is something that everyone is supposed to simply accept. I am not the only one who questions those assumptions.

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