Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

R does not stand for Radical

Just read and would reccomend Karen Coyle and Diane Hillmann's article "Resource Description and Access (RDA) : Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century" at D-Lib Magazine.

This article provides a helpful history of cataloging standards in the US. It argues that those standards (including MARC) were driven by the need of physical card catalogs and that a radical revision in those standards is necessary if library catalogs (and by extension libraries) are going to have a place in the digital present. Unfortunately in the authors view RDA (the proposed name for the next edition of the rules) does not adequately address this problem. They suggest that even LC lacks confidence in RDA and thus has launched its new working group on the future of cataloging.

My take aways from the article are:
1. We need to understand our past, in part so we can understand how it limits us.

2. As catalogers we need a much better understanding of what computers can do with data and how to create computer friendly data.

3. We need to figure out why exactly we have a local catalog. We also need to do a better job of leveraging networked bibliographic data.

4. The article also speculates that the libraries (esp. catalogers) will do less with published material in the future and instead focus on local, unique, unpublished research material.

5. Finally it argues, and I tend to agree, that we don't have time for gradual change (and RDA is an example of gradual change). Rather if libraries have a future they have to act soon and decisively to carve out that future.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home