ACAT Authority control in the age of vendor processing

Posting to Autocat

On 30/12/2014 07:05, Hal Cain wrote:

Unless and until library managers threaten not to lease or buy without reasonable authority control, I fear the situation will not improve. And I see little possibility of that happening; therefore, I expect no improvement. Sadly. The only hope is that the kind of name matching processes applied in the VIAF file may be put to work; but very likely OCLC would charge a royalty, which would raise the cost to the purchasers or lessees (and after all that work was mostly done by OCLC anyway).

Unfortunately, I think you are correct. Now that Google serves as the “gold standard” for everyone’s information needs, and “it doesn’t need authority control” then demonstrating how authority control actually is necessary becomes far more complex. In many cases, those in charge long ago have already made up their minds about authority control and to break through those walls is tough. Administrators are much more interested in creating things such as “the single search box” which will completely destroy any benefits of our authority control.

Libraries need to make prototypes of tools that demonstrate clearly how powerful authority control can be and make them appealing to the general public–not to just a few people expert in ontology or the Semantic Web crowd. We need to create tools that appeal to the widest swaths of the people, because if we did that, things might then have a chance to change; that is, if the public liked what they saw then the move for changes would come from the public and not from us. If that would happen, those in control would perhaps look at the situation completely differently, because even though they might hear exactly the same arguments that they hear from us, it would take on added significance if it came from different groups.

Unfortunately, it seems as if cataloging remains focused in other areas.