While I admittedly don't have the historical experience of Mr. Maxwell (I
was not cataloging when AACR was adopted), I imagine that changes were made
AFTER the system had been adopted, and not during a "testing period", when
its future was in question. I have also read Mr. Hearn's post, suggesting
that compatibility conventions, etc. were in place during the past shift,
and things weren't being done without oversight, or broader knowledge of
the cataloging community of what was being changed (many of us who are not
RDA testers don't fully understand its rules, so don't know the totality of
what is being altered in cataloging practice). Also, 70014s cannot
currently be searched in the authority file, to verify an RDA heading. We
just have to search for the authorized form, and find it that way--which is
time-consuming, and might perhaps result in multiple, different "RDA forms"
of a name appearing on different bibliographic records.
If/when RDA is implemented, THEN the time will come to alter authorities,
if necessary. Although frankly, I don't yet see the value of many of the
proposed authority changes, or how they will make materials more findable
by patrons. I have not seen studies where patrons definitively state a need
for change into specifically RDA ideas of how to make things accessible. If
Antoni Gasiorowski in my original example exists without a birth date in
the 1xx, but with clear identifying information in the 670s, what purpose
does it serve to suddenly insist on constructing his name differently, thus
splitting search recalls?
However, that is neither here nor there. My point throughout this
discussion has been, and remains, that we are doing our patrons and
international catalogers a disservice by willfully ignoring existent
authority records during a TEST PERIOD of an NON-ADOPTED SYSTEM, entering
records that will be largely accepted without oversight by cataloging units
worldwide, and creating authority control problems.
Deborah Tomaras, NACO Coordinator
Western European Languages Team
New York Public Library
Library Services Center
31-11 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101
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