On Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:42:22 -0800, Tennant,Roy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Yes, a field must be used before anyone will pay any attention to it.
>A cautionary tale: Nine years ago, almost to the day, MARBI voted 7-0 to
>pass the proposal for a new field: 258 Philatelic Issue Data. Now in
>2013 I find exactly 8 records that have a 258 in the nearly 300 million
>record WorldCat aggregation. Eight.
>Now how was MARBI to know that nine years later no one would care about the
>258? They couldnąt, really, they just had to judge the proposal in front of
>them. But if we are going to chart a way forward it must be with full
>knowledge of where we may have gone astray in the past.
With reference to the cautionary tale, I wonder how many records have been
created, in those nine years, in which 258 would have been appropriate? (In
45 years involvement in cataloguing and with cataloguers, I have never
created such a record).
On the other hand, current experience of mine, reviewing possible WorldCat
records against book in hand, shows that the level of duplication among
records for pre-AACR2 materials (and sometimes for later ones) is high, let
alone the results of wholesale loading of non-AACR2 foreign records from
around the globe, many of which have to stand because of the language-of-
cataloguing rule. Perhaps the base number calls for discounting? If a
good, unique record requires an uncommon field in order to create a record
which fully reflects a resource's attributes, perhaps the true conclusion
may be that WorldCat was judged not to be the correct repository for that
metadata to reveal the resource to its likely seekers?
MARC systems have, after all, been used time and again for
nonbibliographical materials -- even institutional furniture and equipment
records -- because a library has a local database with good control and
indexing features; I have myself entered a set of patron locker keys so that
they could be controlled through the system checkout/checkin functions (I
admit I cheated by bypassing many fields altogether). We have probably
passed that stage now, seeing as pretty well everyone has access to a
spreadsheet program, but if a mistake had been made in selecting records for
export, those key records might have ended up in Libraries Australia and
thence even been copied into WorldCat. And then turned up in some kind of
By all means look where we have been. Uncommon data categories might not be
inappropriate. Uncommonness is a reason to prompt reflection and inquiry,
not necessarily to exclude. I wonder about some of the provisions and
distinctions in RDA.
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