Posting to Autocat
On 12/10/2015 9:16 PM, MULLEN Allen wrote:
… the alphabet soup of Richard’s message, while contributing well to brevity, is confounding to those of us lacking similar positions in the cataloging world. For what it’s worth, knowing 4 out of 6 acronyms ain’t too ignorant. Thank goodness for searchable online library resources.
After reading Elizabeth Ankersen and William Anderson’s relayed prognostications of the impending use of BIBFRAME by catalogers in 5-7 years (!), I’m really leaning toward the “cart before the horse” school of RDA criticism. I don’t believe things have gotten worse, for users or for catalogers, with RDA adoption, but it’s still a pretty lame approach to development of a new discovery tool paradigm, as much as I respect the work that has been and is being done.
Effective use of technologies by the library community falls further and further behind as we invest significant resources in what is, thus far, much ado. I’d love to be convinced otherwise.
Yes. I would like to add that the fundamental changes from mobile computing have taken place only within the last seven or eight years. (Steve Jobs showed the first iPhone in 2007) Google itself feels threatened and is reworking everything for mobile–and the changes have consequences for everyone from coders to systems to data structures to “information architecture”.
Why is this important? No one can know what technological changes the next 5 to 7 years will bring. No one. And if anybody claims that they know, well if you believe them, then let me tell you that I own a fantastic bridge in Brooklyn that I am willing to sell at a GREAT PRICE!
How much farther behind will we be 5 to 7 years from now? By that time, virtual reality and AI may be advanced so far that things will once again change in fundamental ways. How far behind are we now? Well, some still believe that FRBR and its structures are forever true–that people want “works, expressions, manifestations and items” but others think those are holdovers from a different time.
Much of this has to do with faith: faith that the current library trajectory will ultimately give the public what it wants. If you have that faith, you can rest assured; if you don’t, then …. I actually would like to have that faith, but I want to see something tangible. Somewhere, somebody has to show that people genuinely want what the “library catalog futurists” have in mind. In my experience, people want something else. So far, the “library catalog futurists” haven’t had to demonstrate much of anything and we are left with having faith in the general direction … or not.
Not everybody has that faith, as Jonathan Rochkind discussed so well in “Linked Data Caution” on his blog “Bibliographic Wilderness” https://bibwild.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/linked-data-caution/. I just saw that he has left libraries. That is a real loss to the entire library community.
Catalogs must change–of that there is no doubt. The problem is, RDA and FRBR–although they demand changes–have not demonstrated that they are the kinds of changes that will make a positive difference to the public. This comes from focusing on machines and coding and technology instead of focusing on people. First, find out what people want–not such an easy thing–and then build the systems that allow as much of it as is possible. Not the other way around.