RE: Displaying Work/Expression/Manifestation records

Posting to Autocat
On Wed, 27 Oct 2010 10:59:49 -0500, Joel Hahn wrote:

>Thus, while it most certainly *can* be done, doing it *right* with existing records has some difficult hurdles to overcome, and is much more difficult than simply using existing title or name/title authority records as “Work” records (generating new records where needed from the 1XX, 240, & 245) and existing bibliographic records as “Manifestation plus” records, and letting the Expression level be empty–an approach which also has issues.
>However, if records as they are now would be beefed up with more linking fields, better tagging of what are now headache-inducing complex cases, and similar improvements (none of which requires adoption of RDA to accomplish, for the record), that would make the process significantly easier and more accurate.

Absolutely correct. Reconsidering our records as they stand now could make significant differences for our patrons in how they interact with our catalogs–differences they could really see and perhaps, even appreciate. Certainly cracking our brains to force everything into this 19th century view of the world of information called FRBR is a lot like forcing a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn’t fit. So, instead of whittling the peg down, or boring out the hole, we should open our minds to new horizons because it’s a big world out there.

As a result, doing it “right” in an absolute sense is a goal that will most probably never be reached. The achievable goal should simply be to make our catalogs better than they are now. This is what Google and the other tools do: just make it better, perhaps in tiny, little ways, but do it constantly. The public has come to expect constant “improvements” in these types of tools and it would be wise for us to think in these ways as well.

There is a thought-provoking and chilling article in the latest issue of Illuminea from Oxford University Press which is an excerpt from an article by Rick Anderson, “If I Were a Scholarly Publisher” EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 4 (July/August 2010): 10-11 The Illuminea version has some comments from a publisher and librarian. (How do these versions fit into FRBR? Why do we have to force it in there? There will doubtlessly be several more “versions/variants/discussions/LordKnowsWhat” placed on the web and elsewhere concerning Mr. Anderson’s article, and people will need to be aware of them. Is FRBR the only solution? The best solution? Is it a solution at all?)

He discusses the future of libraries in very real terms and the impacts this will have on scholarly publishers, who rely very, very heavily on sales to libraries, sales which are most probably drying up for an indefinite amount of time. Therefore, what are scholarly publishers to do? His suggestions are, simply put, chilling. Everyone should read this. It represents some of the enormities and seriousness of the challenges we face.