On 02/04/2013 14:26, Patricia Raveau Alvayay wrote:
But on to the more interesting part of your e-mail, I don’t think there is a generational split. Most seasoned librarians that I know who dislike RDA, it has more to do with issues involving the ILS and how it is not always RDA compatible. Also, many feel that RDA did not take it “far enough,” granted I don’t think that I have been cataloging long enough to say if that is true it is something I have heard around quite often.
Also, being new librarian this just my view of RDA, that RDA and FRBR are stepping stones. The process of metadata and cataloging is a long evolution not something that suddenly happens. Just read the history of the card catalog to now and you’ll see what I mean. Of course RDA isn’t exactly what we want but neither was AACR which why AACR2 was created. Sometimes little steps are better than standing still.
I believe that the main problem with RDA and FRBR has to do with the inconsistencies they create–at least, for me that is the main problem. When you change a rule, you make an inconsistency, which means that–at the very least–you make the catalog more complex for people to use and understand; sometimes it can become much more complex. This does not mean that changes should never be made, but you absolutely must address the inconsistencies those changes create, because if you ignore the consequences of the inconsistencies, you will be guilty of ignoring your patrons. Unfortunately, neither RDA nor FRBR have addressed the consequences of the inconsistencies. One example is with the “relator codes” that are not on the older records. If those relator codes are used for searching (not just display), so that people can search for Clint Eastwood as a film director, that search cannot work on the older records where his heading does not have that relator code. Therefore, the catalog will, in essence, lie to the searcher. I illustrated this in my podcast “Cataloging Matters No. 16: Catalogs, Consistency and the Future” https://blog.jweinheimer.net/2012/09/cataloging-matters-no-16-catalogs-consistency-and-the-future.html. This is far from the only place where inconsistencies are introduced. RDA introduces inconsistencies in lots of places and the consequences have not been addressed.
So, after RDA implementation, and a library decides to use the relator codes for searching, if the catalog is to tell the truth, the older records must be updated. Some believe computers can do this rather simply but in my experience, when I look at the long, long list of relator codes, with new ones apparently being added constantly, it is simply too mind-boggling to even contemplate. To believe otherwise must involve at least demonstrating that it is a viable solution, otherwise it is just crossing your fingers and praying for a deus ex machina. In any case, this is such a huge concern that it must be addressed in a serious way, solutions found and budgeted for, instead of what seems to be the silent alternative: expecting overworked catalogers to update all of the headings manually, which is an impossible task and can lead only to failure. Or, the other solution is to forget it, and say that you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs, that nothing is perfect, that we must begin to move forward and people will just have to deal with it. Of course in reality, when people discover that the tool gives false information, we will be lucky if they complain to us, because most will just go someplace else for their information discovery, concluding that the library catalog is no good. If you ignore your patrons today, they can easily ignore you. And no matter what, it will be the catalogers who will get the blame.
So, in my opinion, the impact of RDA is actually huge and not at all a little step.
By the way, AACR and AACR2 were introduced for practical reasons. Primarily, to promote sharing of records (increase the amount of cataloging copy) with the consequences of greater efficiencies and higher productivity.