" Patrons may never much think about questioning the 'cataloging record'
when they see they see the description of a book, etc., on a visit to
their reference librarian, but I'm very sure they'll never inquire about a
'manifestation' when they do."
Actually, patrons inquire about manifestations all the time. Even if they
don't call them that. The structure proposed by FRBR of works,
manifestations, etc., has the potential to solve many real-life reference
Any patron who wants the latest edition of something, any patron who wants
Don Quixote but not in Spanish, any patron who wants a copy of Hamlet but
doesn't care which one... They are all asking about manifestations, works,
expressions. And none of them want to wade through page after page of
index displays trying to figure out which Hamlet or whatever to choose. (I
base my comments on my own experience at the reference desk, traffic on
our QuestionPoint service, and user testing.)
FRBR is another way to collocate and differentiate, very traditional
Diana Brooking (206) 685-0389
Cataloging Librarian (206) 685-8782 fax
Suzzallo Library [log in to unmask]
University of Washington
Seattle WA 98195-2900
On Mon, 6 Dec 2010, Walter, Michael L wrote:
> Dear Mr. Schiff,
> As one of the contributors on BIBCO, NACO and other matters whose opinion I
> most respect, I feel I must toss in my two cents on the ongoing RDA testing
> and the comments of Mr. Siemaszkiewicz.
> In essence, I must agree with his assessment both of the nature of RDA and
> the method in which it is being "tested".
> Many catalogers whose comments have been expressed in email postings on this
> subject, as well as nearly all I have spoken with, have much the same
> evaluation of RDA and its test period, with the implied inevitability of its
> implementation in anything like its present form.
> Being so into greyness that I well remember when AACR2 was introduced, I can
> say that the process then was equally, if not more, autocratic than has been
> the formulation of RDA. However, the difference then was that, with few
> exceptions, we as catalogers could see the benefit from the greater precision
> and analysis offered by the more specialized topics and greater detail
> provided for description, etc. Also, there was no great rush to justify the
> changes it contained as being the be-all and end-all of improvements which
> would benefit greatly the public-end user, i.e., non-librarian types. The
> library world then seems to have had a more balanced attitude toward the
> necessary separation between what must benefit us in our work and thus
> *should* benefit the patron, most of the time. Library work has always been
> an uneasy balance of these interests, with librarians often beating
> themselves about the head when anything they do seems not to be of immediate
> benefit to the patrons, or grasped with ease by them.
> So far, what we have seen with RDA is less detail and much silliness,
> usually aimed at the decision of a few about what would be of benefit to a
> largely hypothetical user of an RDA record, otherwise known as a patron. It
> would seem hyperbolic to use phrases such as "change for its own sake", but
> I've yet to understand how the majority of changes proposed in RDA will
> really improve things, or, for example, how using terms such as 'unmediated'
> are friendly to anyone's comprehension, user or librarian. In many cases, one
> can see tinkering with details in bibliographic description more the result
> of a
> desire to be trendy than to accomplish anything of equal or greater value.
> When people become prescriptive about "cm." vs. "cm" we can see at work the
> hands of those more interested in controlling the cataloging process than in
> communicating with, or trusting, catalogers in the process of cataloging. In
> this regard, I really find the entire spirit of RDA to be an empty, elitist
> enterprise. Patrons may never much think about questioning the 'cataloging
> record' when they see they see the description of a book, etc., on a visit to
> their reference librarian, but I'm very sure they'll never inquire about a
> 'manifestation' when they do.
> All of this is to suggest that the vague guidelines of a remote aristocracy
> and an almost laughable meta-language is all many of see in RDA at this
> Michael Walter
> Area Studies
> Indiana University Libraries
> Bloomington, IN
> Quoting "Adam L. Schiff" <[log in to unmask]>:
>>> The RDA campaign is the best example of such inability to represent
>>> real world catalogers.
>>> Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz
>> I've stayed pretty quiet in this discussion up until now, but this
>> particular comment I find very insulting. All of people that I know
>> within ALA/ALCTS that worked on the development of RDA are "real
>> world catalogers." We work in all kinds of libraries, large and
>> small, public, special, etc. The RDA testers are real world
>> catalogers working with real world resources to catalog. While there
>> are legitimate concerns about RDA and the test and how it impacts our
>> work, comments like this are disrespectful and just plain wrong.
>> Adam Schiff
>> * Adam L. Schiff * * Principal Cataloger
>> * University of Washington Libraries *
>> * Box 352900 *
>> * Seattle, WA 98195-2900 *
>> * (206) 543-8409 * * (206) 685-8782 fax
>> * [log in to unmask] *