RE: Amazon’s ONIX to MARC converter

Posting to Autocat

Brian Briscoe wrote:

While author and title are common search terms, the secretary input of such in any manner of uncontrolled syntax and a lack of subject and other biliographical analysis shows that catalogers will be left with the lion’s share of the work. Indeed, we already get the bare basics from LC via CIP. I suppose publishers might replace that division at LC, but it seems a relatively small thing when compared with the work that catalogers do.

This is correct, although it is *conceivable* that if our name authority files were fully accessible and “easy” to use, there might be possibilities to get a lot of the name headings too. The tool at even works with the VIAF, which could be monumentally important and is certainly headed in the right direction. I also agree 100% that this is “a relatively small thing compared with the work that catalogers do”.

Where we may be in disagreement is that in my opinion, the very fact that it is such a “small thing” is a huge point in our favor because it allows us to demonstrate our own importance in the entire matter, and may be the key to our own–and I will even go out on a limb and say our patrons’–salvation. Taking us out of the equation would be a definite loss for everyone. The key is to get the “decision makers” to agree to the importance of library-type cataloging and understand what we can add–as efficiently, and as ethically as possible (as I have pointed out in other posts).

How can we demonstrate this convincingly to non-specialists? I think this is one of the most important points that the cataloging community needs to make, and more importantly, to prove, even if it may make some people angry. After all, that is no less than what Panizzi did all those years ago.

In ending, I confess I feel more and more like Cato the Elder, who spoke so long ago in the Roman Senate (not that far away from where I live), and who always ended his speeches with, “Carthago delenda est” (Carthage must be destroyed). I repeat once again that RDA does not address the real problems we face.