BIBFRAME The Objects of Cataloguing and the objects of BIBFRAME (was Re: BIBFRAME Life after MARC?)

Posting to Bibframe

On 8/17/2016 05:58, Xu, Amanda wrote:

Under of influence of the five user tasks, e.g. Find, Identify, Select, Obtain, and Navigate as defined by the ICP principles, we are only capable to give people results, not the answers to their information inquiry.

Even this is theoretical, in my experience. For instance, I have seen that the overwhelming use among searchers of our catalogs is to serve as entry points into the collection where they can browse the materials themselves. Let’s imagine that someone wants “something” by Cicero. They go to the catalog where they find his main call number, so that they can walk to the shelves where they can browse and examine the materials themselves. This is what people want to do, and why they enjoy libraries so much. They don’t understand all they are missing when they do this, and often they only get angry when you point it out. But it is when they are standing in front of the shelves where the “identifying, selecting, and obtaining” takes place, all done at once and according to their own tastes which often have very little or nothing at all to do with any information that is in the catalog. One item may be harder to read or one may fit more easily in the hand. Another may be bound too tightly.

This is even clearer with online materials, where I do a full-text search and find something that may be interesting, but I don’t even know–and cannot know–what it is until I have already obtained it. It is only after I have obtained a resource that I discover that it is a political screed from a think tank or some crazy blog post. This is how I/S/O takes place in the real world. It is possible to obtain something but deselect it before identifying it.

I have written extensively that the task of “find” or “search” is changing in fundamental ways. Many believe that “find/search” should be–and is becoming–a push technology as our intellectual and emotional lives are being subjected to ever more intense algorithmic analysis, the goal of which is to present us with choices before we are even aware that we want them. It is important to note that lots of people want this.

My own opinion of “navigate”, i.e. “4.5. to navigate within a catalogue and beyond (that is, through the logical arrangement of bibliographic and authority data and presentation of clear ways to move about, including presentation of relationships among works, expressions, manifestations, items, persons, families, corporate bodies, concepts, objects, events, and places).” [See:]

is not unique but merely a variation on “find/search”.

But what you say is very true: the catalog is neither designed, nor capable of giving answers to an information inquiry. Very few people who come to the library are seeking the bibliographic information in the catalog. The information they want is inside the books, articles, maps and so on, that make up the collection.

Yet the bigger question is: are these the tasks that users really want to do? Although I have no doubt people want to do this once in awhile, are these tasks the primary ones wanted by users? I ask myself if this is what I have wanted. From my experience, people want something quite different.

This is not to say that there should be no changes to MARC. Of course MARC should change and should have been the very first thing to change 25 or so years ago. But it is a pity that Bibframe is becoming so complex that I fear very few web designers will use it. Again, what is the purpose of Bibframe and who is it for? I still don’t know.