Posting to RDA-L discussing what determines a work

There is a similar thread going on in Autocat under the thread “FRBR’s Expression Entity”.

My own opinion on this is totally pragmatic. It reminds me of a discussion among several very well-experienced catalogers over an LC decision about the change to Russia/Soviet Union/Former Soviet republics. I was having serious problems understanding it and we had gone round and round in our discussions. Finally one of the catalogers said, “We’ve got over 100 years worth of cataloging experience in this room. If we can’t figure this out, there’s something wrong. Certainly, the public won’t stand a chance.”

This reminds me of that moment: how many hundreds of years worth of experience is on this list? And there is no agreement on something like *what is a work*?! How can we ever hope for any kind of consistency? Of course it goes without saying that with no consistency, everyone will be fated to stay on that merry-go-round of “fixing” everybody else’s records.

And finally, how is this supposed to *help* our public? How are they supposed to benefit? Is it all really worth it?