03.12.2013 21:58, Cindy Wolff:

"Really? Has anyone out there in the industry even noticed? What
*might* get noticed is a change in communication formats, but not in

This is what I have been thinking about for a
while as I read these discussions:
What if we gave a standard and
nobody came, but some other powerful, oblivious standard came for us?

A reality check is overdue. What evidence can we find that the
ambitions pursued with RDA have fallen on fertile ground outside our walls? Is there any?

Speaking of walls, it now seems an ageing vision that we should be
building libraries without them. But was Darnton not right when he
wrote, "... but the danger of restricting access to knowledge is as
great today as it was two hundred years ago."
(see http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/oct/04/library-without-walls/ )

Big issue indeed.
What concerns us here is only a very small corollary of the big
issue: access to the knowledge of cataloging. That access used
to be easy: you bought an affordable book, or borrowed it from
a library, and then maybe a textbook explaining what it all meant.
These times are over. To get the whole story, you need to pay
an annual fee or buy a not very affordable stack of paper giving
less than the whole story and obsolescing rapidly. Certainly,
textbooks are in the making or have already appeared on the scene.
Partly, these may be collectiong knowledge that has been discussed
and openly contributed to this list or AUTOCAT. Laudable endeavors,
but by now, sooo 19th century, or not? And then, actually supporting
a monopoly that should not exist in the first place, and a standard
that hasn't proved to match a business case yet.

Technically, better solutions exist to collect knowledge, discuss it,
refine it, and make it widely and easily accessible. Mac has done
a superb job of condensing time-tested knowledge in his freely
accessible cheat sheets, and together with Michael Gorman, in the
MRI's they have authored:
The LC used to make AACR Rule Interpretations
freely available but recenty changed the title and the mode
of issuing: "Current Library of Congress-Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Statements (LC-PCC PSs) are freely available as part of the RDA Toolkit". Great, but of little help for those with no
access to the rules. And don't forget Jim Weinheimer's attempt
at creating the open "Cooperative Cataloging Rules":
which could be a great service contributed to by all those who
now contribute to discussions here and elsewhere, creating lots
of useful but volatile knowledge.

So, cataloging knowledge is now quite unevenly dispersed and quite some
of it harder to come by than it used to be. Should libraries not be
doing better? Should we not be tearing down these walls?


Reply via email to