On 12/10/2013 8:52 PM, Kyrios, Alex (akyr...@uidaho.edu) wrote:
James, would it be too cynical of me to summarize your position as
"Our data isn't good enough, so why bother improving it?" Is it wrong
to hope that a catalog can do more than help someone locate an item on
No, that is not at all my position and I have always been concerned that
this is how it may seem when I criticize something. I blame myself. That
is always the danger of criticism.
I believe that our catalogs--*if they worked correctly*--and they
haven't for many, many years now--would give the public something that
is unique today and something that the Googles and Yahoos and Bings will
not and cannot provide. And that is: reliable, consistent, and
confidential access to materials that have been specially selected and
organized by experts, all who work without any goals of personal
monetary gain, and who do not advance personal or organizational ideals
that are political or moral or religious. All methods of selection and
arrangement we use are open to anyone who is interested in examining them.
It seems to me that this represents the antithesis of what people
experience with the web today and also the antithesis of the future
direction the web promises to take. I think people are concerned about
that today. Perhaps 5 or 10 years ago, a person would have read
something like what I just wrote and would roll their eyes because they
would have thought it was too backward or just plain silly, but now I
believe that some may be beginning to think, "If only I could have
something like that!"
When you went to a library in the past where all the librarians had done
their jobs in a professional manner (and had high morale!), the public
saw what I described above, even though they were probably not aware of
it. The information the public got wasn't necessarily always the "best"
information or the "newest" or today's strange idea of the "most
relevant"--but the library always offered something different. What
people found in a library was also not the FRBR user tasks, which in the
past was only one type of a *method*--and LOTS of people complained
loudly about that method from the beginning and were happy when it
bothered them no more. With earlier technology however, there was little
room for flexibility and genuine cooperation. Today, there are *many*
methods in addition to the FRBR user tasks that lead to the same goals I
laid out above. With the power and flexibility of today's tools, and the
fact that cooperation among people of all levels is much simpler than
ever before, the possibility of employing multiple methods of access can
be considered very seriously. This was never possible before.
The public has actually been crying for a tool that does exactly what I
described. I say: let's give it to them! But in a form that means
something to the society of today.
Achieving this would take work and genuine cooperation, plus a sense of
humility. I have tried my best to illustrate the "unique" kind of access
made possible by catalogs along with the problems achieving that kind of
access today in my podcast "Cataloging Matters Podcast no. 18: Problems
with Library Catalogs"
So yes, I think there is a lot that the catalog can offer. As I keep
pointing out: the problem is the *catalog* and not the *catalog records*.
James Weinheimer weinheimer.ji...@gmail.com
First Thus http://catalogingmatters.blogspot.com/
First Thus Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus
Cooperative Cataloging Rules
Cataloging Matters Podcasts
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