One Comment

  1. Cindy Wolff said:

    Hi James,
    I took Michael Gorman’s quote to mean that the push to further automate the catalog, without any discussion of things we might miss if they are given up, is going on over catalogers’ heads and in some cases, right past them. Powers that be look to computer science (mostly male-dominated) without consulting library science (mostly female), and assume the librarian approach is all wrong and outmoded. “Metadata Specialist” sounds supposedly more modern, more authoritative, more legitimate than a mere cataloger who may be doing the same thing.
    There are people on the different cataloging discussion lists who talk over and past anyone who wants to have discussions about possible unintended consequences of unfettered automation. This is done by ignoring a post that would prompt such a discussion or by just changing the topic outright. With some they even respond dismissively or derisively to anyone who tries; or, in the example of the Roy Tennant response, pity. He painted Michael Gorman as a technophobe who hated change of any kind, which is pretty dismissive and derisive.
    I don’t know if any else notices that when someone unsubscribes from RDA or the BIBFRAME lists, the name is overwhelmingly female.
    That is what I felt to be the issue when they mentioned inclusiveness. My first thought of the Gorman quote was that there is this vibe among an increasing number of people doing this kind of work that comes across as “ Young men manage metadata, cataloging is for women or “people of a certain age.”
    How weird would it be if in about 15 years from now, some young male programmer will become the darling of the cataloging profession by introducing numbers as field codes, without ever knowing Henriette Avram ever existed.

    July 17, 2014

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