RDA-L Aggregates and augmentations

Posting to RDA-L

On 08/12/2016 22:10, Gene Fieg wrote:
I agree. Reminds me of Gormans comment about great,but how does it work in theory. I am seeing the patron recede, recede, recede….

I also agree, but I must confess that lots of the discussions of RDA/FRBR/Linked data tend to be heavily focused on theory and precious little attention is paid to the needs of the users.

After saying this, it must be admitted that there are major parts of cataloging that are not focused on the users but serve other needs. For instance, a cataloger needs to know and understand the different types of titles that might appear, and to enter those titles into the record, so that the records can be found in different ways. The overwhelming majority of users don’t understand or care about the different titles: spine titles, titles from the half title page, alternative titles and all kinds of “other” titles. These are mostly used by catalogers for identification of an item and catalogers refer to these titles in their own jargon.

Users are not interested in our jargon. In fact, they aren’t really interested in our records and do not sit reading them, absorbed in trying to divine their slightest nuances. They are primarily interested in the items in the collection that interest them, and forget our records the moment their get the materials they want.

And yet, there are some titles that are, or would be, very useful for users to know and understand, but few of them do. Lots of non-cataloging librarians don’t understand them either. Some people know and understand series titles and how useful they can be, many fewer understand uniform titles, but there is one type of title that is of absolute importance for a user. When someone is looking at a parent-child record, (for instance a separate chapter) the user absolutely has to know the title of the parent, otherwise they can never find the item they want. It can get outrageously complicated and makes no difference with online items. I gave an example of the difficulties of finding titles of articles in a podcast (https://blog.jweinheimer.net/2014/10/cataloging-matters-podcast-20-a-renaissance-discovery.html) where I discovered that something really was online but only after great effort.

It shouldn’t be that difficult. Personally, I have little against adding many of these different kinds of titles so long as the record does not overwhelm the user. I think current practice is heading in exactly that direction now, for instance, when someone sees something like “Contains (work)” or “Contains (expression)” what goes through their minds? I cannot believe that most of our users know the FRBR entities! If we add “Aggregator” or “Augmentation” plus all of the other relator information, the public will be left completely bewildered.

That shouldn’t be the purpose of the library’s catalog.