RDA-L Re: RE: Editor of Compilation = editor??

On 4/30/2015 3:46 PM, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:
> On the one hand, we’re supposed to distinguish between “writer of > preface”, “writer of foreword” and “writer of introduction”. On the > other hand, once you’ve got a really useful distinction like that > between “editor” and “editor of compilation”, this is withdrawn…

This struck me: that distinguishing a writer of a preface vs. a foreward vs. an introduction etc. is “really useful”. I can imagine other terms being used, such as “interesting” or “novel” or even “cool” but “useful” seems to beg additional, rather specific questions, such as: Is there any evidence at all that someone, somewhere, will find these distinctions to be useful? Who are these people, precisely? How many of them are there and what are their purposes? How do most people understand these different terms anyway? I confess that I am a little fuzzy about how they differ.

While I can accept that people may want Albrecht Durer as a painter and not as an engraver, or Orson Welles as an actor instead of a director, maybe even Vladimir Nabokov as a translator instead of as a novelist, these are rather clear distinctions, and there are already methods and tools that people can use if they want them.

But we are faced with a general population raised on Googles; a population that doesn’t even understand the difference of searching author vs. title; they cannot imagine searching for specific authors or specific titles (name & title authority control), and where subject searching has been so badly broken for such a very long time, that the very concept of its usefulness has seemed to have faded from the majority of the librarians themselves, while among the general populace, it seems to have been forgotten completely.

In that scenario, the claim that miniscule differences of a writer of a foreward vs. of a preface vs. of an introduction and so on, is “useful” should be viewed with some skepticism, at least not without some kind of supporting evidence.

Although it is definitely more work for the cataloger.

James Weinheimer weinheimer.jim.l@gmail.com
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