Spelling out abbreviations

Posting to RDA-L

J. McRee Elrod wrote:

Programming to display lower case “p.” as “pages” in collation when following a number, will not display upper case “P.” in an entry or statement of responsibility as “Pages”. Better a one time fairly simple programming provision, than all that keying with increased probability of typos.

Matters which should be addressed by ILS development, rather than AACR2/MARC21 replacement, are being addressed by changing standards which have not yet been fully utilized.

Absolutely right. Also, it must be accepted and admitted that the old records can never be upgraded by hand (what a waste of resources that would be!) and every patron will see abbreviations in every single search they do until the end of time. Therefore, if we want to solve this “problem” of abbreviations from the point of view of the *patron*, it can only be done in some kind of automated way. These are simple facts.

Of course, resources will also be needed to automatically “correct” the abbreviations, and it is only natural to question if this the best use of our ever-diminishing resources. People certainly have problems with our catalogs, but are the problems with abbreviations really such a major impediment? In my experience, the idea of authority control is a mystery to most people and how our subject headings work is more or less incomprehensible to them.