Re: [ACAT] RDA: “Just zap the fields you don’t like” (WAS: [ACAT] Creating new authority records : macro = rda)

Posting to Autocat

On 06/11/2012 23:19, Brian Briscoe wrote:

While I have no problem with the added intellectual requirement provided by RDA, there is also a need for predictability on the part of the records for our users. If too many catalogers create too many records exercising a variety of options, then we are going to end up with a lack of congruency between records and that will not impress users of our data. We have spent so many years trying to achieve a consistency between our records. I don’t know why that suddenly shouldn’t matter.

I also have no problem with an added intellectual requirement so long as it is worth the effort, which is something RDA has never proven. RDA has never shown any concern for breaking consistency with our current data, even when it is demonstrated that there will be major consequences to the patrons, much less to the cataloging staff. In the switch to AACR2, there was a lot of concern over breaking the consistency. Our current catalogs are relegated to sad, inferior “legacy data”.

But it is clear that the implementation of RDA is not concerned so much about improving access for the patrons, or much of anything else for the patrons. It has theoretical aims, focused on other goals. The stated ones could otherwise be achieved through cheaper, easier, and less disruptive means.

It is important to note that when I mention “disruption”, I do not have in mind some image of ancient catalogers, sitting in half-lit silent rooms on chairs that creak as loudly as their own joints, everything covered in dust, who have never moved beyond what happened 30 or 40 years ago, who are behind on technological improvement and still living in the 1970s, who then completely FREAK OUT whenever the word “Change!” is mentioned. I believe that some out there have this image of catalogers.

No. I am talking about experts who no longer know what to do because of the new guidelines, or rules, or best practices, or whatever we want to call them. Since solving these questions cannot be done because it takes too much time (pressure of keeping up statistics because of decreased staffs and lowered budgets) and/or access to the new guidelines is too expensive, they will just do whatever they want (or “zap it!”). Already the rule of three is the rule of one. Does anybody out there really believe that this will lead to increased access? Ha! Ha! What else will be tossed overboard?

Catalogs need to change but neither FRBR nor RDA do it. They are still stuck in the past. The real legacy of them will be loss in consistency, but to be honest I don’t know how many really understand how important consistency is anymore.