Yes, people do complain, and maybe catalogers most of all! :-)

Note that for the MARC21rdf vocabulary, we used the MARC fields with a simple scheme for indicators and subfields--essentially in cataloger's secret language, opaque to everyone else. (


On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 10:58 AM, Trail, Nate <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I am beginning to see a common thread: People complain. :)

-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:32 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Consistency

On 5/30/13 6:34 AM, Trail, Nate wrote:
> I'm not so worried about RDA rules on using terms instead of codes. If a cataloger chooses a text term from a picklist, she may think she's recorded the term, but behind the scenes, a uri is recorded. Both sides are happy.
> Nate

Nate, you are right, but there's a catch. Let me tell a story. When we were creating the RDF for RDA we decided to use the RDA name for the term in the RDF property. In part this was so that JSC could look at the RDF in the Metadata Registry and see the correlation with their work.
This, however, resulted in teratologies like:

People complained.

In creating the RDF for FRBRer, Gordon Dunsire decided to use codes instead. At some point, codes will be displayed to humans as friendly language terms, but early developers end up seeing the URIs with the codes themselves. So what they see is:

People complained.

The upshot is that it doesn't matter whether it's a code, a language term, or a randomly generated set of characters. What matters is whether YOU understand it. MARC terms have become a language because people understand the codes directly, without any translation to natural language. We know that in the future cataloging interfaces will show catalogers something that they, presumably, understand. We also need to help early developers and reviewers get a grip on what they are looking at. I find it interesting/odd that so many RDF or OWL ontologies do not display natural language labels in the place of URIs. Even though the mantra is that URIs are for machines, we keep showing them to people.

p.s. The BIBFRAME vocabulary pages are very nice, and in fact COULD mask URIs that don't use terms. But I bet someone would complain about how hard it is to remember the URL for the page. :-)

> -------------------------------------------
> Nate Trail
> -------------------------------------------
> Library of Congress
> 202-707-2193
> [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bernhard Eversberg
> Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:21 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Consistency
>    29.05.2013 18:59, Diane Hillmann:
>> I found the same kinds of things when aggregating NSDL data about a
>> decade ago, though of course on a smaller scale! (Defaults with
>> various misspellings of 'unknown' were my particular trigger). I think
>> that what would help us avoid having to cope with crappy text into our
>> dotage is to build tools that help us serve up standardized text when
>> we think we still need it, while not actually creating or storing it
>> as text. We know humans will continue to make these kinds of errors if
>> we ask them to enter text during the cataloging process, but if users
>> need to see these kinds of notes, we need to build smarter tools to make it happen.
> Exactly. I cannot understand why RDA does not, wherever possible, advocate the use of codes instead of English text. And all MARC specimens of RDA data abound with verbiage although codes do exist, as for example in the 33X's. One important aspect  is international exchange and multilingual catalog interfaces, the other is most certainly consistency. As you point out, software should of course be able to catalogers with comfortably inputting codes with not having to know the numbers or acronyms literally, and OPAC software can display whatever text is found suitable for the situation at hand. Imstead, English language verbosity and loquatiousness abound in the data, with excessively long labels in XML designs to make your head spin and at the same time increasing the probability of errors, i.e.
> inconsistencies.
> The front end for catalogers will likely be the most important aspect of RDA cataloging if it is ever to become a success story.
> It will have to be much more efficient than MARC.
> With BIBFRAME, I see little hope of this happening, more to the contrary.
> (Furthermore, it doesn't help that the RDA scripture is under lock and key of a global monopoly.)
> B.Eversberg

Karen Coyle
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