Re: [ACAT] New Bibliographic Framework: Update with Eric Miller

Posting to Autocat

On 10/10/2012 17:45, Mitchell, Michael wrote:

Our cross-references and subject access in our Horizon system work just fine. This is apparently vendor specific if yours doesn’t work or perhaps it is a matter of allocation of resources. It just astounds me when you keep repeating in such a broad fashion that cross references and subject browsing don’t work. It just isn’t true for all of us.

Do they work with keyword or do they only work in a left-anchored browse search? The only things I have seen work with left-anchored browses, but if they work with keyword, that would be great. The fact is people just don’t browse headings alphabetically anymore. This is why everybody is supposed to be “trained” to use the catalog: they must be trained to search the catalog in ways that have become alien to modern people. This way, we can pretend that the catalogs don’t have to change, everybody rather has to change everything they do. And that is the road to extinction.

Back in Panizzi’s and Cutter’s day, people were used to browsing alphabetical lists and that’s how we got the “dictionary catalog”, so that people could look up the topics just like they look up words in the dictionary. It was natural to them. But today, people don’t even search dictionaries that way anymore since people type in the words they want. If they want “love” in a dictionary, they don’t put their thumb in the “L” index in the huge book, open it up (it always went to the wrong place for me), and then start leafing their way through everything, looking at the words at the top of the page. They just type in the word and they get it. So, when someone thinks of a “dictionary catalog” it meant something different to Cutter than what it is slowly coming to mean to people today.

Concerning subjects, I discussed this in one of my “open replies” to Thomas Mann Our subjects are coherent only in a browsing environment. That environment has changed so therefore we must find other ways to make our subjects coherent.