I don't think of you as a doom and gloom person James. I understand your concern. I also think that the library catalog and the people who catalog in them play a part as defenders of truth and accuracy.
A few years ago, an actor sued IMDb because they printed her real date of birth as opposed to the "younger" one she distributes on resumes to casting directors. She felt when her real age was revealed, her opportunities dropped. The suit was dismissed, but IMDb had to spend the time and money to defend itself. What if IMDb just caved? This probably won't be the last time IMDb gets sued either. I think the important thing about the catalog (as it is used) is that it isn't a commercial enterprise. I also think there is a lot to be said for subject specialists who may debunk popular assumptions about information regarding popular media such as films. If something is repeated often enough, it will be regarded as truth, which will have been overwritten by popularity as opposed to accuracy. People don't seem to consult librarians anymore because others have convinced them librarians are not needed. I think it is our job as catalogers to take that argument back and defend the academic and educational value of the catalog. So, what should the catalog do today? Keep the bullshitters honest. Cindy Wolff > I hesitate to bring this up because most probably everybody already > thinks of me as a purveyor of doom and gloom, but I still believe that > we must consider these things in realistic terms. Although the attempt > is laudable, I still say that we must first of all see through the eyes > of the users who would be interested in this kind of information. For > instance, if I am a regular user and I wanted to know the movies > directed by John Huston, what would be the first thing I would think of? > > "Google it". I am sure almost everybody would. So I did a natural > language search: "what movies did john huston direct" and what happens? > https://www.google.it/search?q=what+movies+did+john+huston+direct (This > is linked data in action!) We find that down below in the links area (at > least in the results I get), #1 is a link to John Huston in Wikipedia, > #2 goes to "Category:Films directed by John Huston" also in Wikipedia, > and #3 goes into his page at the IMDB (which I personally prefer). All > have lists of the movies he directed. This is incredibly easy to do and > free to all. > > Putting aside for the moment the linked data result, the 3 links perform > exactly the same function as in the past when someone would ask a > reference librarian, "I need a list of the movies John Huston directed" > and the knowledgeable reference librarian would reply: "Here. You can > find the list in this book." and would hand the user the latest issue of > this title http://lccn.loc.gov/sn99044419 (or something similar) which > was very possibly shelved in the reference collection for quick and easy > access. > > Therefore, just as the reference librarian would take the user's > question and convert it into, "He needs to look in Film directors : a > complete guide", today a reference librarian would do the same thing but > answer/include, "He needs to look in the IMDB". Without any doubt, that > is the ethical answer for such a question and will remain so for a long, > long time in the future. > > The huge difference is that today, people rarely consult reference > librarians. The librarian would already know that if you want to find > the films of specific directors, the library catalog is currently not > the right place to look for this information and when viewed > realistically, it never will be the right place. There is nothing at all > wrong with that. Not every tool is good for every use, just as if you > want the latest business news or to find out why your XML won't > validate, the best place is not JSTOR, and it never will be. That > doesn't mean JSTOR is no good--it just means that you have to look in > other places for that kind of information. Today, the correct place to > look for the films people have directed is the IMDB or perhaps a few > other places on the web. We are *really lucky* that we have such options > for free today. The reference librarians would be able to help the > searcher in these directions *if* they were asked, but sadly, that is > happening less and less. > > So, adding the relator codes automatically will still demand manual > cleanup, perhaps (probably) on a massive scale, if it is ever to become > as good as IMDB is *right now*. I suggest that the correct method for a > library catalog is to lead the person to the *right resource* that he or > she wants and perhaps even do it *better* than Google. In this case of > film directors, I find it very difficult even to imagine how we could do > better than Google because the Google search works so incredibly well. > Perhaps a film librarian could discover that the IMDB and Wikipedia are > incorrect or incomplete. In that respect perhaps library efforts could > be better focused on improving IMDB and Wikipedia than adding relator > codes. > > There is also the option that the library catalog could interact with > the IMDB (and/or Wikipedia) using the APIs. > > This opens up a highly pertinent question for me: I don't even know what > a library catalog is supposed to provide in today's semi-total > information environment. This is a great example. We can't ignore these > wonderful sites. What should the catalog do today? > -- > James Weinheimer weinheimer.ji...@gmail.com > First Thus http://catalogingmatters.blogspot.com/ > First Thus Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus > Cooperative Cataloging Rules > http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/ > Cataloging Matters Podcasts > http://blog.jweinheimer.net/p/cataloging-matters-podcasts.html > > To unsubscribe from RDA-L send an e-mail to the following address from the > address you are subscribed under to: > lists...@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca > In the body of the message: > SIGNOFF RDA-L > To unsubscribe from RDA-L send an e-mail to the following address from the address you are subscribed under to: lists...@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca In the body of the message: SIGNOFF RDA-L