Posting to RDA-L
Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:
What is the economic advantage to actually recording the data, but not using it in a more modern way? The effort is already spent in recording, by someone, somewhere, but not necessarily in linking. If the only display option in the past was the card catalogue, it’s not much of a leap in understanding why some fields weren’t used, but yet the data was still recorded.
Or, to put it another way, as institutions cast an eye on other systems, such as IMDB, that seem to be doing a fantastic job, how can one argue that libraries can’t be doing the same level of quality work– cost-effectively!–, especially in a collaborative environment, where better tools and mechanisms (and standards!) are regularly appearing?
There is still another way of looking at it, today in a modern way, and that is to actually *cooperate* with other communities such as IMDB. In the broad scheme of things, if we were going to add relator information for materials that are already in IMDB, which you say is so great and I am sure you are correct, this is duplicated effort. That makes no sense today. So, instead of looking at it as a “competition” we should be looking at opportunities for real and genuine cooperation–in fact, we absolutely *must* be looking at such opportunities. There are a myriad of such possibilities today, and it will mean genuine change for us, as well as for others.
In the current information/economic/budgetary environment, I still believe that for a general cataloger to spend substantially more time cataloging each item is impracticable. Productivity must increase; and increase a lot. For specific communities, it may be a different matter.
I certainly hope that Michael Gorman’s talk from the RDA@yourlibrary conference is made generally available: The Path Not Taken: A Descriptive Cataloging “might have been” where he discusses some of these matters. We spoke at the same time, and I only heard him after the fact, but his thoughts are very important and all need to consider them.