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

Posting to Autocat

It is difficult to have a rational discussion with a true believer when you decide to take issue with some of their fundamental beliefs. They take things personally, call you dishonest, maintain that they understand everything while you understand nothing. To continue such a “discussion” becomes counter-productive.

I think everyone realizes that you will never change your opinions on RDA and FRBR. I like to think that I would change my opinion if I were presented with convincing evidence, but I have yet to see any except vague promises and telling me that my arguments constitute setting up straw men, and in general how little I understand.

I remind myself that these discussions are primarily for others on the lists, to help them make up their own minds. It’s just too bad that these kinds of discussions did not take place years ago before everything turned into dogma and certain forces were set into motion. (Yes, this is bringing up that dirty business case again!)

For instance, you believe that the changes have to be hardcoded by hand. I believe that computer systems have demonstrated themselves to be very powerful (Lucene is only one example which has proven itself), that there are other options to better utilize the information in the records now. If catalogers will be expected to change practically every record in the database to make FRBR “work” (such as I pointed out with the relator codes, but it goes for all of the other relationships as well, e.g. adding all the film adaptations to the Doctor Zhivago authority record, a potentially endless task when applied beyond film adaptations to all the other relationships), it is hopelessly unrealistic because of the amount of manual labor it demands. It only sets up the field of cataloging to failure because those kinds of resources to change all of those records simply do not exist. And those resources never will exist. That is an absolute fact–unless others are privy to information that library catalogers will receive major increases in funding in the future. If not, as I wrote: it is hopelessly unrealistic.

The practical solution catalogers will take will be to not change the older records and ignore them, and this will have highly negative consequences to the public. The public will find out sooner or later. And it is the average cataloger who will get the blame.

I maintain there are much smarter ways of arriving at the goals of FRBR, that is, if those goals are what the public wants. But that has yet to be shown either. It seems to me that this is the essence of what Eric Miller was saying in his talk (the purpose of this thread).

I confess I have grown tired of the attitude shown by some RDA advocates.