Re: [ACAT] Use of $4 versus $e

Posting to Autocat

On 08/02/2013 03:07, Dan Scott wrote:

Every once in a while I browse through some random threads in this list and inevitably come across statements like “we librarians are losing control to the systems people”… But it’s not a war. Evergreen and Koha have librarians and developers (and some people like myself who wear both hats) who want to make the best possible library systems. And you could work with us to help make that happen! But you need to work with us. I’ll be honest, the negativity in this mailing list is pretty overwhelming– and the main reason why I rarely pop my head in. Why not get Evergreen or Koha running, see what it does today, and help us make it better by joining one of our mailing lists? You might be surprised at what can happen if you give us clear use cases and sample records!

The idea of an open-source catalog is very new among catalogers. Since I have experience with proprietary and open-source catalogs (primarily Koha), I can say each produces on the catalogers a completely different mind-set: in proprietary systems the cataloger asks: “How do I …” or “How does the catalog display …” while in open-source catalogs, you can say, “I want to do … in this way” or “I want to display … in this way.” With open source, you can say and do these things, and then think better of it, try and fail, and try again. With proprietary catalogs, you can’t. If you haven’t experienced the freedom of open source, it is difficult to imagine it. After you do experience and appreciate open source, you just get angry going back to a proprietary catalog.

But I would also like to explain myself, who has said that librarians are losing control to systems people. Librarians focus on the people, while systems people focus on the systems. This is exemplified in RDA that above all, wants to make the data friendly for machines, with the assumption that somebody else down the road will then make it friendly for people. That is what I say RDA reflects an IT attitude, not a librarian attitude.