Re: [RDA-L] Cataloging Matters No. 16

On 20/09/2012 11:01, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:

Yes, but it is one thing to create new rules and another to get those who are supposed to comply with them to actually do so. And as long as you need to shell out considerable sums to even read those rules, and get no glimpse of the pleasingly reworded text, what chance do they stand?

But maybe more important:

Practice is, I think, to a large extent ruled by pragmatic reasoning. Money issues aside, catalogers will be quite aware they’ll be doing a disservice if they break away from sensible legacy practice without being able to change (and upgrade!) legacy data accordingly. And they are aware of what and how much they can actually do and what they can ill afford.

All fine points you make. I only hope you are correct that catalogers will be away of the “legacy” practices. It is my fear that it will be too overwhelming, especially in these difficult economic times which show no sign of improvement, and will become forgotten. In this regard, it reminds me of a “moment of learning” when I was Slavic cataloger after the communist countries disintegrated. In an earlier post, I discussed how I myself refused to see legacy practices, and since I am so lazy, I’ll just copy and paste it!

“To be fair, I was guilty of exactly the same attitude back when the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe fell apart. I and my team at Princeton struggled mightily to fix all of the–who knows how many subject and corporate name headings in the catalog, but we did it. It was one of the tasks I took special pride in and the heading browses looked great!

But then came the retrospective conversion project of the cards, and the “beautiful” displays of the headings were utterly spoiled by being inundated with zillions of obsolete headings! I was so mad until… I realized that what I was looking at was only the reality that confronted our patrons every day. When the patrons used both the cards and the OPAC (which they did constantly of course), everything had always been split, but for me as a cataloger, I was concentrating only on the OPAC and the cards were somehow “outside”. I had been ignoring the complete reality of the situation. Suddenly, I was confronted with what the users saw every day. I didn’t like it, but it was a humbling moment.” 

The full post is here:

I don’t think I am unique, and perhaps others can learn from my misperceptions.