Friday, June 22, 2007

Cataloging needs to change...

oh my goodness, what a concept! I actually wouldn't have ventured onto this thin ice myself, having struggled mightily to get a B+ in my Cataloging course. But I was struck by how well thought out this blog entry from ALA Techsource (posted yesterday) was - see

The teaser:

"Libraries have lost their place as primary information providers, surpassed by more agile (and in many cases wealthier) purveyors of digital information delivery services. Although libraries still manage materials that are not available elsewhere, the library's approach to user service and the user interface is not competing successfully against services like Amazon or Google."

-- Karen Coyle and Diane Hillman, "Resource Description and Access: Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century"

You may not think you care about AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules) or its successor, RDA (Resource Description and Access). That may seem like boring old-school stuff, not nearly as fun or glitzy as romping in Second Life or, as I am wont to do, posting the details of your afternoon snack on Twitter.

But the next time you complain about the limitations of library data—the gazillions of records we have created about the physical items in our libraries—and wonder why none of the cool new applications leverage the millions of library records shared worldwide, or why your expensive catalog can't integrate with a nifty new social software tool, or you wonder why there's no Google mashup to connect readers and books, consider this: to a large extent, it's because our data suck.

Not only that, it's our fault our data suck....

Now you just gotta read something like that, eh? And ponder it - deeply... but quickly. If the contention of this author is correct, librarians could be sidelined if they don't step up to the plate & redo their data... NOW! Catalogers, I'm talking to you...

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