It is definitely true that, from the point of view of resource management, each manifestation has its own particular information that needs to be looked at separately.
But its also true--or at least so it seems to me from the feedback our users give us--that very few users care what provider they get their e-book or articles from. For example, we often get complaints from users about the intermediary menu our link-resolver shows when we have the same content from multiple providers, as it creates an extra step and occassionally some confusion about exactly what is going on. The users that have preferred provider, I would guess, get to their resources via the provider (or by other means, Google Scholar, etc.) and not through our catalog. (Then again, here at MIT we follow, whenever possible, a "single record approach" which might be understood in FRBR-terms as "expression-level cataloging". So maybe our users are already particularly finnicky about what they see in the catalog?) So while I think the concept of different electronic manifestations is important for catalogers, but I'm not sure the practice of generating records for each specific electronic manifestation is going to make our catalogs more appealing to end-users. My .02, b Benjamin Abrahamse Cataloging Coordinator Acquisitions, Metadata and Enterprise Systems MIT Libraries 617-253-7137 -----Original Message----- From: Resource Description and Access / Resource Description and Access [mailto:RDA-L@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca] On Behalf Of Kevin M Randall Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2012 12:52 PM To: RDA-L@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca Subject: Re: [RDA-L] The purpose of standards James Weinheimer wrote: > With online resources, everyone is looking at *exactly the same files* > so the utility of even considering an online resource in terms of a > manifestation may be far less useful. It seems to me that the concept of manifestation is no less important when considering online resources. And they are certainly not always "exactly the same files". For things such as electronic journals, there can be very significant differences between manifestations (the one found on the publisher's web site vs. Ebsco vs. Gale, etc.). And then there are also ebooks, where you have versions for Kindle, for Nook, etc. Sound files can be in various formats and at different bit rates. Graphic files can be in different formats and resolutions. Many books, films, sound recordings, etc. have been digitally converted and remastered multiple times, and there are very real differences between the versions--differences which can be significant, perhaps even critical, to the user. Compared to the print world, one could argue that we are dealing with a greater number of manifestations, and there will always be a need to distinguish between them, on both the managerial side (e.g. selection and acquisition) and the user side (obtaining files whose formats and features meet the user's needs). Kevin M. Randall Principal Serials Cataloger Northwestern University Library k...@northwestern.edu (847) 491-2939 Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!