Re: [ACAT] Inscrutability versus overkill in new authorities

Posting to Autocat

On 10/04/2013 12:47, Moore, Richard wrote:

It is a ridiculous discussion, but it’s about facts, not opinions. Which of the following symbols would you add a full stop to? 

cm? μm? g/cm3? 
“cm” is an internationally recognised symbol, that was designed to be used in that form, and is used by the rest of the world in that form, whatever the language or script of the context. It has its own Unicode value. It has nothing to do with dogma and there is no reason for anyone to waste their time wondering whether to add anything to it. 
It’s not a judgement on the part of the cataloger whether cm. is an abbreviation or a symbol. Either the cataloguer knows that it is a symbol, rather than an abbreviation, or the cataloguer does not. I agree it would make no difference if a cataloguer was wrong, other than making the record look wrong, if that matters to anyone.
The only reason I mention it at all is that you use it as a criticism of RDA, but it’s simply nothing to do with RDA. There are valid criticisms to made of RDA; we’ve made plenty ourselves, and successfully proposed changes to improve it. Which seems to me to be the positive thing to do.

The question is about adding a period to the end of what I maintain is an abbreviation, just as much as in. or Prof. or anything else. You can maintain that it is a symbol. That is fine. But I (and I think others) will not believe that cm is a symbol simply because some powerful persons have said it is. To maintain that it is a symbol without any evidence other than pointing to decisions made by others in authority can be done but should arouse some skepticism from someone, somewhere.

While an individual can agree with these pronouncements, to then go on and say that everyone else is supposed to believe that it is a symbol and anyone who does not believe that is wrong, rises to a different level, as I said. It becomes dogma. By definition. This is my argument with RDA and why these sorts of matters are best left to cataloger’s judgment, especially when far more important and substantive matters have been give over to cataloger’s judgment. And these without any research or business cases.

Those who say that it is an abbreviation are not wrong. They just don’t agree. But I have been in that situation for awhile now.

All this over a period!