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

Posting to RDA-L

On 26/09/2012 14:35, Brenndorfer, Thomas wrote:

James Weinheimer wrote:

I consider that *if* the rules were coded correctly (DocBook for example), stylesheets could merge them as you wished. So in theory, a cataloger who happened to >be working on a video of an Arabic scholar discussing the law, the cataloger could in essence, merge everything together that would give him everything he needed in >one nice place. A cataloging manual on videos of discussions of Arabic law. And it could be done on the fly. 

So basically we don’t do what you’re suggesting, but instead stick with RDA, which supports legacy data and doesn’t requires starting from scratch, and directs data into formats that can be modified by different communities and still interoperate, and is based on the simplest and most modular framework for data. The narrower issue of relationship designators seems like a trivial thing to accomplish compared with what you’ve just proposed and then rejected.

The point?

As I wrote in that message, I am talking about modularizing the cataloging rules themselves and not the records. This is not my idea and so far as I know, the idea comes from Michael Gorman in his talk at the rda@yourlibrary online conference where I heard it for the first time. He suggested what I mentioned above: very basic rules with modules for specific cataloging communities, all kinds of new things could happen. Perhaps someone could get his paper online…?

Returning to your message, I have gone to rather great pains to show that RDA does not support legacy data because of the inconsistency of coding information. [I need to clarify that I am discussing the relator codes here, not necessarily all of RDA–JW] Because we are discussing a catalog and catalogs rely on consistency, this lack of consistency must have consequences. Either everything will have to be redone manually or there will be the unavoidable consequences of decreased access, all as I laid out in my podcast.

Some consider this decreased access to be very important, while others figure that the public will just deal with it, apparently until the catalogers can update millions and millions of headings, which will probably take some time. And a little money.

Of course, we all know that a recon of such a magnitude will not take place and the records that exist now will just be less and less findable, resulting in less reliance on the catalogs by the public, and ultimately lead to less use of our collections.