RE: OCLC response to SkyRiver lawsuit

Posting to NGC4LIB

Daniel CannCasciato wrote:

> But if everyone is engaged in a furious race of fixing everyone else’s mistakes, we will be like a dog chasing its own tail.

I disagree. If we fix mistakes, we make the data more usable, predictable and retrievable. (I include as mistakes omissions of data that should be in a record.) Something mis-coded is similar to something mislabeled and then filed or shelved – – it’s more or less lost. Something poorly described and poorly analyzed is less often found and viewed for possible selection by users. So, let’s obsessively and furiously fix those errors!

I guess I wasn’t clear. I agree that we must fix the mistakes for precisely the reasons you say. The problem is: too many elementary mistakes occur that everyone in each library has to fix over and over again, because the corrections can’t be shared easily.

But making the corrections easier to share is only working on the symptom and not on the cause, in my opinion. The number of elementary errors, especially in subject analysis, is growing, at least in my own perception of it, and I don’t know why. I can imagine a few causes:
1) inadequate training
2) adequate training, but inadequate time to do a decent job
3) adequate training, perhaps with adequate time, but low morale to do a good job
4) one that I wonder about: are the current standards simply set too high?

The cause could relate to any or all of these possibilities, or none of them. I still say that if you want people to follow standards, there must be some kind of punishment for not following the standards, and while we see it in the food and drug industry (where you can’t put out garbage because you will be sued and perhaps go to jail) or in the car industry (“we don’t *really* need to do that good of a job on this guy’s brakes”), we just don’t see this level of standards in the library and information world where people don’t think it’s so important.

It seems to me that it is that important, and one of the many reasons why I am so concerned about implementing RDA. If the current standards are followed so poorly, why will they do better with a standard that is at least as complicated, if not more so?