I'd like to add that as a person who frequently creates NACO records for old or obscure materials, having more information in existing authority records is helpful and makes my job more efficient. Many of the identities I need to make headings for don't have Wikipedia entries or are not included in common databases or reference sources. I try to provide as much information as I can in the authority records I create with the hope that it will help others in the future. I understand if some institutions can't afford to be this thorough; my institution values this contribution to the global database and considers it time well spent. 


On Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM, Kevin M Randall <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
John Marr wrote:

>   First, is the creation of such data a cataloging task (providing access
> to cataloged books, etc.) or an entirely new task (creating an
> encyclopedia comprised of data unnecessary to cataloging)?
>
>   2nd, if the latter, isn't the task redundant in comparison to other more
> complete databases already available (e.g. Wikipedia, and the Internet in
> general)?
>
>   While RDA may be seen to save cataloging jobs if administrators agree
> to
> fund the encyclopedia-creation process (in addition to cataloging?), it
> may also eliminate them as a result of chopped budgets, increased costs
> (cataloging time), and perceived redundancy.
>
>   Perhaps some of these issues were not thoroughly evaluated by the
> developers of RDA. It would be interesting to discuss possible reasons why
> this may have been the case.

The data serve the purpose of identification and differentiation.  RDA requires the data *only* when it is needed for one of those purposes, and allows the cataloger (or cataloging agency) to decide where to record the data (either as a separate element, or in the access point, or both).  If there are negative consequences based on the decision of a cataloging agency to apply an "encylopedia creation" policy, those consequences are fully the responsibility of that cataloging agency; the developers of RDA have no part in that at all.

Every single element in RDA arises from a genuine "real life" need for such data in some context.  That doesn't mean *all* contexts must also include the data.  RDA defines elements so they're available when we need them.  If we end up shooting ourselves in the foot by supplying them more than we need to, that's our own fault, not RDA's.  RDA is very conservative in regard to core elements!

In defense of those who opt for more data instead of less, the point isn't "encyclopedia creation"; it's supplying data that--as time goes by--helps to further identify and differentiate the entity and to enable/refine automated data linkages.

Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
[log in to unmask]
(847) 491-2939

Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!



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Christine DeZelar-Tiedman
Manager, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Unit
University of Minnesota Libraries
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