Posting to RDA-L. Concerning the term “access point”
My own opinion is that the term “access point” should be relegated to the same oblivion as we have placed the terms “library hand” and “librarian’s knot”. With keyword capability, each word in each field is now effectively a “point of access”. The idea of “access point” is based on the limitations of physical catalogs from the distant past (“distant past” at least in Internet terms). The traditional “access point” has evolved into “controlled vocabulary” which functions differently from free text, but both are equally accessible. This has been the case for at least 20 years or so? And if we add to the concept of “controlled vocabulary” certain types of standard numbers, matters simplify (or at least I think they do).
There are different kinds of these standard numbers however. There is a standardized number that is assigned by outside agencies, and then there are numbers that relate only to internal database structures, such as 773$w. So theoretically, if a single (let’s say) physical item is analysed into 10 separate articles, the number that could bring all the analytics together could be either the 773$w or a 020 if it existed. So long as the 020 would be unique (which is not always the case, but let’s assume for the moment that they are) the 020 would be universally applicable–and therefore sharable–while the 773$w could not.
I feel like an anachronism! It’s time we had some new vocabulary.