Posting to RDA-L
On 04/29/2011 09:40 PM, Vosmek, John J. wrote:
> The condescension from RDA advocates toward RDA skeptics (implying – or sometimes stating outright – that the skeptics are just too closed-minded and thinking too “inside-the-box” to grasp the revolution in thinking that is RDA) probably doesn’t actually help the case. If the majority of the people who are going to have to implement it don’t understand why it’s so great, that probably isn’t their fault.
You are absolutely right. There is no reason why anyone has to accept something on faith–people have every right to remain skeptical until things have been demonstrated to their own satisfaction. One thing I have noticed in much modern discourse is an apparent assumption that if people have similar understandings on a certain point, they will (must) necessarily agree on the conclusions. Therefore, if there is a disagreement over the conclusions, there must be a lack of understanding somewhere. Therefore, if you are to solve the dispute, someone must be “educated”. I have found that some people “educate” others by talking louder and calling names! 🙂
I reject this line of reasoning (although I confess I have been guilty of it myself and have had it pointed out to me). People may easily have equivalent understanding of a point, but each person has his or her own individual experiences, beliefs, likes and dislikes of all kinds, so it does not at all follow that they will agree on the conclusions as to the desirability or undesirability of a disputed point. Socrates demonstrated this to devastating effect in the Dialogues, where he showed that nobody had all that great of an understanding. For him, the only way to reach the truth was through genuine dialogue, so that all could hopefully take some tentative steps to the truth.
Concerning MARC coding, as far as I am concerned, the changes toward FRBR started from the wrong point. (For the moment, I will assume that FRBR would be a good thing to implement) Changes started with the data (RDA) and not with the format. The first step in changes should have been the communications format (MARC, or–I have to bring it up again at risk of having virtual tomatoes thrown at my virtual head–at least its ISO2709 incarnation) into something more modern, more flexible and more useful to the general metadata community. It would make no sense to try to exchange true FRBR types of records using MARC/ISO2709, so the changes should have started there. By now, something could probably be demonstrated and people, including the general public, could all begin to determine the worth of the final product (FRBR). Then whatever changes were needed to the data would have probably been clearer, and matters could have gone on from there.
But since they started with data instead of format and still, nothing can be demonstrated to the skeptics, so it all remains an argument between the believers vs. the unbelievers.