"Better to teach catalogers to adhere to the standard, which rightfully recognizes that cm is an internationally agreed upon metric symbol which does not include a period. The standard spells out the content of the data to be included. To record the value cm with a period is wrong. RDA does not require ISBD punctuation, which is really the issue here. In my mind it is better to forget to input a period after cm when there is a 490 present than to always input an incorrect period after the metric symbol."
While I enthusiastically agree with Adam about the relative merits of forgetting "to input a period after cm when there is a 490 present" as opposed to always inputting "an incorrect period after the metric symbol," I find myself wondering what other issues of bibliographic control the body that made that "internationally agreed upon" designation of metric symbols has been consulted on or deferred to on. The point of my bringing up the issue of USPS state codes (not abbreviations)on various lists has been to point out that there is an arbitrary distinction at work here since we--or RDA--seem to be saying that the same patrons who are befuddled by abbreviations like "p.", "col.", "ill.", etc. (and including "etc." for that matter) do understand that "cm" with or without a period means centimeters or even centimetres. It seems to me that this distinction in what we assume patrons know or understand is unlikely to be true. And if this tidbit of RDA is nothing but an arbitrary choice, what else in RDA is merely an arbitrary choice?
All that being said, autofill in cataloging software would pretty much take care of the specific issue/non-issue while leaving aside the question of arbitrariness in RDA.
Still waiting for my inbox to be flooded with leads on cataloging software with autofill...
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