Posting to Autocat
On 12/03/2012 03:35 PM, William.Anderson@ct.gov wrote:
The user certainly ultimately wants an item in hand, on screen, in ear to draw forth the sensations, informational, aesthetic, inspirational and what have you that he or she desires.
I agree with most of what you have said, but there is an additional point that I think we needs questioning: is it true that people want items? Or do they want something else, such as bits and pieces from items that they can then put together for themselves?
Many times of course, people really do want an entire item: I want to read somebody’s novel and not only a part of it, although if I would be writing or teaching something about that novel, I probably don’t need the whole thing. When instructors teach film, I discovered that 90% of the time the clips from Youtube serve their needs for class, because they don’t watch entire films in class. When we are looking at materials for use, as opposed to entertainment or relaxation, we seem to want much more specific sections of the whole.
There is nothing new or wrong about this–tables of contents, indexes in the backs of books, running heads, and other tools have been around for a long time. When we see those huge bibliographies at the back of weighty tomes, do we really believe that the author has read each one in its entirety? Of course not, the authors use the indexes and tables of contents and references they find in articles and word of mouth….
So, it may be that the “item” is not what someone actually wants, but rather, the item is what people have been forced to receive. Just like when everything was printed, I remember I would want a single article from a journal but it would be bound with an entire year that I had to lug around.
Today, there are many other options. I remember one time, there was a book assigned for a class but the only reading from it was for the introduction. I discovered you could read the entire introduction for free on the Amazon “look inside” feature! The students liked that a lot.
I think that as new possibilities are understood, people will want to use those new possibilities, just like that blog by the Google guy http://searchresearch1.blogspot.it/ where he shows the wild searches that can be done. I cannot forget the example he gave: it was a photo out of a window somewhere that showed a tall building. I expected the question to be something like “what is the name of this building” but it was: what is the phone number of the office where this photo was taken. (!!!!) It can be answered today.
I think one reason that people have never asked these kinds of questions before is that it has never been possible to answer them.
True innovation needs these kinds of new examples to help us shed the blinders of the past. Do people really and truly want items or is that the way we have all been led to think and are we suffering from a type of mental inertia? Of course, I think that is what most of FRBR and RDA illustrate.