On Wed, 4 Apr 2012, Benjamin A Abrahamse wrote:
> I honestly could not determine your tone.
Guess I wouldn't make a good politician ... :)
> "Well, everyone else is getting on this train..."
Guess you'd make a good voter ... :)
> But with respect to undifferentiated NARs in particular, or even NARs in
> general, while I would love to see some empirical evidence regarding
> their usefulness (or lack thereof) I'm honestly not sure how one would
> go about measuring it.
Would there be any acceptability for cataloging practices being
"demand-driven"? We already have to *re*act to administrators, so why not
use our direct customers to validate our observations of what is
> The value of authorities practice is primarily to provide an
> infrastructure that users don't necessarily see, or interact with
Is that counter to the belief that authority records should do more than
simply validate headings (e.g. be an information source for patrons)? If
they did more, would catalogers have higher value, relative to the effort
of making them do more (our institutions have become "profit-driven" after
> Like real-world infrastructure, authorities are only apparent to users
> when they're not there, or not functioning properly.
Their *effect* is either apparent or unapparent, but that doesn't mean
they are perceived as entities or not.
[PS: When I wake up every morning, I find that generally accepted
"real-word" paradigm rather questionable]
> We naturally notice the bridge that collapses, not the thousands that don't.
That's why they collapse-- our society is being made too cheap to perform
continuous monitoring. The difference is that bridge collapses are a much
bigger inconvenience than less-than-perfect authority records, yet we are
willing to spend more money on perfecting cataloging than on monitoring
> How does one measure that in an empirical fashion?
Compare the volume of complaints received to the cost and value of
perfecting all authority records and/or protecting the
John G. Marr
Univ. of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
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