Thanks for sending us that. Another great statement by Mann.
Personally, I see the bottom line as two points:
1. We currently have close to a perfectly balanced system: access to
online and print resources, via both controlled and uncontrolled
vocabulary searches, and allowing full browsing of print shelves. It
will be unfortunate if we have to give up part of our system. It will
mean an impoverishment, UNLESS somehow the uncontrolled searches and
digitized materials can truly replace the access we have now, which
leads to point 2:
2. Belief that they will is really based on hope rather than solid
evidence. If the military were told "you should eliminate the infantry
because you'll have robot fighters before you know it," they'd laugh at
that. Why are librarians so ready to give up principles they've
developed over the last several centuries based on hope? Based on the
assumption that another profession, that of computer and software
developers, will solve all the problems?
Now, I believe miracles happen now and then, and if in five years, we do
have search engines that replace controlled vocabularies and little
e-book readers that are as good as print books--like something out of
Star Trek, "holographic" books--I'll eat my words. I'm ready to be
proven wrong. But why not wait at least those five years before we make
choices, especially about subject headings, that are rash?
I just ran into a short article by Herbert White in the Mar. 15 issue of
Library Journal (p. 53) that is really worth reading. He suggests
librarians are underselling their own profession.
--Ted Gemberling, UAB Lister Hill Library
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2006 8:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] More on LC from Thomas Mann
This e-mail was also posted on the OCLC-CAT list.
This update is a stunning report on the current developments at the LC
other American research libraries.
Some of the discussions here have erroneously focused on the LC series
authority treatment. This is just a tip of the iceberg. It is clear from
Mr. Mann's update that conscious decisions have been made at the LC,
and some of the research libraries to simply dissolve what has been
as a research library. Catalogers and cataloging services, which have
under attack for a number of years now, will be simply liquidated or
transformed into what is fancifully called now "metadata creation" units
order to satisfy this blind drive towards Googleization of libraries.
The serial authority control is just a first step in the process of
the entire cataloging structure such as subject headings (Subject
File - SAF together with the LCSH), name authority (Name Authority File
NAF), and finally MARC record. As I previously noted, the Cornell
University cataloging unit has been flooding OCLC with substandard
bibliographical records with keyword subject local access points
the entire OCLC bibliographical database. EastView and other vendors
supplying broad keyword access points useless for any subject access are
dumping similar records into OCLC.
This state of cataloging reality will not be sustained for much longer
without LC structural involvement. I do not think that other American
foreign research libraries will be able to maintain all cooperative
cataloging programs without the LC leadership role in them.
The update is available at:
The New York Public Library
Slavic and Baltic Division
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788
tel.: (212) 930-0935
fax: (212) 930-0693
e-mail: [log in to unmask]