03 December 2007

assorted cataloguing bits #1

just a few quick links:

First: Nicole quotes an AutoCat post from Mac Elrod which in turn points to a blog post by Chris which points to the URL for a lecture by Francis Miksa Brian Campbell (phew! long sentence!). It's titled "The Genius of Library Cataloging and its Possible Future." It's in Real Media format and goes for a good 90 minutes.

I haven't listened to it yet, but folk have been talking about it so I should.

Second: Check out this post by Rory over at Library Juice; I know what I'd be telling that particular student!

Third: A couple of weeks ago I saw this post over at Chris' Cataloging Futures blog, which included the question
How much interest is there from publishers and book vendors in the area of metadata creation?

Now there's this study bit of work done by Karen Coyle; Titles in retail and publisher data. It's not a study, as Karen herself says, and
the numbers should be considered valid only for this particular set of data,
but it's a measured, thoughtful look at how various 'bits' of data are handled by library folk and by retailers/publishers. I agree that we have to do a lot more study on how other people in the bibliographic world use/create/share their metadata, and how we as cataloguers can use/reuse/share that metadata. Unfortunately most evidence we have on the topic is anecdotal. And anectotal evidence depends on individual experiences. As one of my old teachers used to say,
one person's opinion is no damned good.

Which is why we have an armed camp of folk who say that we can only ever trust metadata we produce ourselves because only we understand the metadata structures we use, and another armed camp of folk who say that we can simply import our metadata from elsewhere, and that anyone in the first armed camp is simply
"wishing for the return of the golden age of cataloging,"
whenever and whatever that was.

Not good, people. As much as I hate the word "progress" (whenever I hear people invoke "Progress" it mostly seems to imply a White Male Utopian idea of what the future should hold) that is exactly what we need. It's no good burying our collective heads in the sand and saying "we control our metadata," but it is just as bad to say "you're just burying your heads in the sand" and leave it at that. Study. Investigate. Theorise all you want. But produce results. Don't rely on anecdote and opinion and theory itself. Test your theories. And don't denigrate folk who are simply trying to do the best they can with the metadata that's available now, not five years from now.

Okay. I've calmed down some now.

Four: Chris posts about
the seemingly contentious section 4.2, "Realization of FRBR."
She points to an article that quotes a JSC study on FRBR Group 1 entities (here).

Really, I don't see why this should be a contentious issue at all. I'm a big fan of FRBR, but it is far from perfect (how does it deal with serials? how does it deal with losely-grouped works such as Arthurian Romances, or the Dead Sea Scrolls?). Now, this may well be anal of me, but if we're building a standard that will suit our bibliographic metadata needs for the next (say) 20 years, shouldn't we get right as much as possible right at the outset? Or do we want major reviews every 2 years or so? I'm sure that would keep certain folk employed in the longish term, but how does that help the rest of us?

Measure twice cut once, I always say.

Finally, this one's from Chris again: She's posted about the LC Working Group.... report, with links to the text of the report and how to send in comments, but remember
The deadline for submitting comments is December 15th.

so be quick.


Anonymous said...

Francis Miksa gave the lecture, not Brian (actually Bryan) Campbell.

Bryan Campbell

carlos lopez librarian said...

Correction made; thanks Bryan.

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