RE: “Business case” for RDA changes (was: RDA “draft”)

Posting to RDA-L

Mac wrote:

But this could have been accomplished by an AACR2 revision page, and treaties make up a very small part of the collections of most libraries.

Mac is right and this idea of course, goes beyond treaties to include the whole of RDA. While we can all agree that some rules can and should be changed, it does not add up to a *business case* to justify junking our old rules and spending our quickly diminishing budgets for an entirely new set of rules that everybody must be retrained in, especially when the final product will be practically the same as what we make now.

Another point is that perhaps we can use the computerized tools available to us much more wisely. While *perhaps* there is a problem with people understanding abbreviations (many of which they read in newspapers and books all the time, but for the sake of argument, for the moment I’ll accept that abbreviations are indeed a problem, and so much of a problem that we must focus our resources on “correcting” abbreviations over other problems), it still doesn’t follow that the best solution is to type out everything in full by hand. For instance, if we do so, it can be argued that we are not solving anything at all for our users since all records we have made up to now will have abbreviations. Unless we embark on a huge retrospective project, every user until the end of time, will be looking and dealing with abbreviations. That is an absolute fact that we *cannot ignore* because if we do so, we *will be ignoring* the needs of our users and only give non-catalogers yet another reason to say how little catalogers care about the users. At the same time, the techies are always complaining that we use text instead of codes. Here are the abbreviations, more or less: Can there be automated solutions to solve this problem? My answer: of course there are! I’ll bet a perl programmer could devise a preliminary solution in a few minutes.

In answer to Karen, I will point out that protestations that we cannot make a business case will fall on very deaf ears and be fatally counterproductive. There is absolutely no choice except to make a valid business case and one that will be convincing to non-librarians, people who are not librarians. Still, the final point is right on target and needs a lot more discussion:
“It could very well be that changing from AACR2 to RDA has a small return on investment, but that a much larger return on investment could come from other changes — ones that we aren’t even contemplating.”