Re: appoximate dates in personal authority records in RDA

Posting to Autocat concerning changing “ca.” to “approximately” in authorized forms of names

On 28/03/2012 02:06, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

Brian Brisco posted:

But, Stephen, I think his point is that not everyone speaks English. If we really want to move toward making our description more open to our remote users who reside all over th world, then we should be doing a little more than making our catalog records even more Anglo-centric. This is a major step backward.

I’m so pleased to not be the only one shouting this in the wilderness. So much of RDA puts us in an Anglo silo. Why the Canadians involved went along with this I don’t know. With our Quebec and European clients, we simply can’t go that route. LAC may can afford duplicate records, but SLC can not. We will stick with “ca.” and “fl.” in access points. If non English libraries are supposed to change “approximately” etc. to their language, why can not English ones change “ca.” to whatever they want, ‘approximately’ or ‘about’? Seems to me the Latin abbrevations could be treated as codes, which would make the display for legacy records the same as for RDA records.

And of course, this is all based on the assumption that text in a database is exactly the same as text on a card: that it can only be changed manually, and that some great gurus will decide what will, and what will not, be entered and how it will look, while everyone simply must accept their decisions.

Today, there is no longer a reason for thinking any of that. One person may like ca. another prefers “approximately” another likes “more or less” and another likes “around the year”. If we used the power of the systems to change abbreviations automatically based on simple find and replace focused on specific fields/subfields, how much labor and how many costs could everyone avoid! [This is poorly worded. What I mean is that the computer can now display text however we want, so long as it is input consistently. Therefore, the computer can be set to look for “ca.” it finds in a 100/700/800$d subfield, and display it however someone wants. –JW]

People should throw away their feather pens and typewriters and enter the 21st century. *Far* more complex tools are being made now. The idea of spending precious, and ever-decreasing library resources changing abbreviations such as “ca.” to “approximately”, and doing it manually(!!!!) is just another bit of evidence that there is absolutely no rational business case for RDA.

There are *real* problems with the library catalog and cataloging itself, but these issues keep being ignored for trivialities such as these that will make no difference to anybody. That is, except to the catalogers who have to spend their time on such drudgery.