Karen, thank you for the blog post and clarifying this issue. I suspect that the heart of the matter is all too often libraries' and librarians' mindset is in terms of bibliographic records, where databases and RDF are about data. Contrastingly, where names are concerned, we have been focused on headings and heading construction rather than records composed of authority data.
The change from AACR2's heading focus to RDA's authority data focus was one of the more problematic transitions in drafting RDA. I am still not convinced that we have the results in the ballpark. I see heading construction as a means for constructing a blended alpha-numeric "control number" in a scenario 3 implementation. That is not quite the perspective that RDA conveys. And unfortunately, most of us are still in scenario 3 situations, which encompass not just card catalogs but also most ILSes lacking intrinsic links between the authority file and the headings in the bibliographic records. OCLC, with its controlled headings (when they are controlled), is an instance of scenario 2 but those linkages are typically lost when the record is downloaded into the local ILS. I don't see us moving as an industry to scenario 2 or 1 until a) such linkages are portable from utility to local ILS and b) suffrage in creating authority records is as distributed as it currently is for bibliographic records (and there I go again, falling into the "record" mindset). Until then, we are going to be stuck relying on the actual heading strings as the linkages.
We have more work to do (once we can decide what work it is we need to do). Thank you for highlighting some of the terrain we must navigate.
John F. Myers, Catalog Librarian
Schaffer Library, Union College
807 Union St.
Schenectady NY 12308
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Karen Coyle wrote:
After struggling for a long time with my frustration with the difficulties of dealing with MARC, FRBR and RDA concepts in the context of data management, I have done a blog post that explains some of my thinking on the topic:
The short summary is that RDA is not really suitable for storage and use in a relational database system, and therefore is even further from being suitable for RDF. I use headings ("access points" in RDA, I believe) as my example, but there are numerous other aspects of RDA that belie its intention to support "scenario one."
I have intended to write something much more in depth on this topic but as that has been in progress now for a considerable time, I felt that a short, albeit incomplete, explanation was needed.
I welcome all discussion on this topic.