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At one point in the process of developing PCC SCS comments on part 1 
of RDA, I was having trouble communicating my 
thoughts/feelings/vision on the big picture aspects of RDA to other 
committee members. I developed the analogy below as a way for me to 
clarify my thoughts and to communicate them more clearly and at a 
deeper level. I'm sending this out more broadly in case it might be 
helpful for, possibly even resonate with, some of you.

Let's view cataloging codes as technical/engineering plans. AACR1 
produced wagons that for the first time could really be mass-produced 
in the state of Libraria, and it allowed drivers to switch from one 
wagon to another without significant retraining. AACR2 was an 
improvement--it standardized even more pieces, so drivers switching 
wagons needed just a little retraining, but clearly showed where 
differences were appropriate and how to deal with them. AACR2 wagons 
were bright and shiny in their day, but their age is showing. AACR2 
wagons don't work as well on newfangled paved roads, they look 
old-fashioned, people have gotten used to comfy furniture and don't 
like the hard seats, and some of our sister states have been 
developing their own modes of transportation. AACR3 required our 
manufacturing plants to vastly retool even though it would have 
produced wagons that looked and worked much the same as before, 
although in some cases less well. This draft of RDA is a more 
cohesive, thought-out plan, which would produce generally 
well-designed wagons, with all of their different parts working even 
better together, that would be easier to train new drivers on. RDA 
wagons would probably work better than AACR2 wagons in the state of Libraria.

However, the intention is that RDA is designed so that people in 
other states will use it to design and build wagons very similarly to 
ours, so that wherever people go in the country of Informationland, 
the wagons will be compatible (interchangeable parts, no retraining 
needed for drivers, etc.) and usable (comfortable, fast, going where 
people want to go). Libraria used to be seen as the Swiss watchmaker 
of wagons throughout Informationland and beyond, but no longer. Some 
of our newer sister states don't really know much about us at all, 
let alone about our wagons. Even the ones who are familiar with our 
wagons don't see them as relevant to their states. Many of our sister 
states have been busy. In the past several years they have been 
frantically designing, building, and selling many other modes of 
transportation. Wagons have become only one of many modes, they are 
slow and expensive to produce, and they take a long time to ship to 
the people who need transportation. Wagons are just not that 
efficient or effective any more, and are becoming increasingly 
unpopular as people migrate to other modes of transportation. 
Citizens of most countries throughout the Union of Users will ignore 
RDA and will come to view its wagons as cute, but archaic, and will 
rarely want to use one. Libraria's reputation will suffer, and other 
states and countries won't look to us for leadership, not just in 
transportation, but in all of our areas of expertise. Which is a 
shame, because Librarians really do know a lot that can help others 
achieve their Information goals.

We need to change RDA to be a broader, integrated plan encompassing 
cars, airplanes, trains, ships, etc., and yes, even wagons. As we 
articulate and live up to our objectives and principles, and send 
emissaries to the other states, others will see how their modes of 
transportation can successfully integrate with other modes to achieve 
a cohesive and harmonious transportation system. Our neighboring 
states of Museumdom and Archivia will find the RDA model useful to 
them, and design their modes to interconnect with ours. There is a 
much better chance that states in the Digitalia region, such as 
DublinCore, the Republic of LOM, the GIS Kingdom, and new states that 
we may not even have heard of, will take notice of RDA and use it to 
meet some of their needs. We will likely produce fewer wagons, but we 
will trade modes with other states, and all of our states will flourish.

As the various states in Informationland work together to build this 
wondrous system, citizens from other countries will look forward to 
spending time in our country, knowing that they can get from one 
state to another easily and quickly. Peoples of the world will come 
to know Libraria anew, and no longer will some of them think of 
Libraria as a historical landmark, but as a thriving, useful, fun hotspot.

:-)

Onward Libraria!
Paul
Chair, PCC SCS

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Paul J. Weiss
Catalog Librarian and NACO Coordinator
Metadata Services Department
UCSD Libraries
858-534-3537
[log in to unmask]
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