It's unfortunate that David Bade, the first presenter at the second meeting of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, did not get a fair hearing on the LITA Blog via Diane Hillmann. While I'm sure this was not the intention, it comes across as a personal attack.
"Currently in bibliographic control the pressures of production mean that errors in bibliographic records are rampant and are allowed to remain. Errors in metadata supplied from other sources, particularly that which is automatically generated must be carefully evaluated by humans and not blindly drawn into the bibliographic universe. It is the obligation of library managers to provide appropriate levels of metadata generation for their own users."
"Automatically generated metadata is not higher quality metadata. Good metadata, especially high levels of subject analysis is not without cost. Today there is much copy cataloging, many shared bibliographic databases, and there are fewer catalogers. The kinds of formats, and the complexity of tasks has increased. Many errors are due to unfamiliarity with these formats, tasks and many catalogers lack knowledge sufficient to provide access to materials from a given subject."
"[It is] cooperation between professionals that defines the technologies and their reliability; these being not any preexisting reality but a provisional achievement [citation not specified]."
"In our libraries today there is almost always a split between those actively involved in a particular field (e.g. bibliographers) and those creating the metadata. For the most part” music, map and law often being the exceptions” catalogers are hired to catalog whatever comes in the library and no subject knowledge or activity in any field of endeavor is required, expected, or encouraged. Catalogers are hired to be metadata specialists without knowing anything in particular about anything at all. Therefore, when they catalog any particular item they have no stake in the result, no users in mind, no knowledge of how or why anyone might be looking for that item (10-11)."
As I read through Mark's summary, I clearly didn't agree with everything that David had to say [last quote above]. However, he raises some points about quality control and metadata that are extremely important if we are going to continue in a shared record environment (i.e., OCLC). I assume that the issue of sharing metadata will be central to the third meeting of the WGFBC, since it will look at the economic question.
For more of David Bade's thought on the future of cataloging, I suggest you read his letter posted on the Music Library Association (MLA) Clearinghouse website.
I hope that David's paper, "Structures, standards, and the people who make them meaningful" will be available online soon. I was disappointed with the skimpiness of the background paper for this meeting and would appreciate something with a little more substance for the third and last one. Especially since the LC WGFBC is looking for comments on their website. It's hard to comment when you don't have a sense of where things are going. (I'm holding any thoughts I have on these issues for the draft paper from the WGFBC that is supposed to be available for public comment on September 1, 2007.)