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Monday, December 24, 2007

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K.G. Schneider

Thanks for your thoughtful comments in re RDA... makes for great reading.

The LC report appears to have multiple authors (as indeed it does). Some of these authors have held sway on the idea that we need to stop work on RDA, that no user studies exist demonstrating how users interact with bibliographic data (that's complete hooey, q.v. Karen Markey's 2-part series this past summer on user studies), and basically that we need to stop future movement.

Other voices have come in strongly with a vision of enhanced description and of excellent reforms such as Web authorities.

Perhaps the biggest problem of the report is that it thinks the future of cataloging rests in the occasional publication of monolithic guidance documents. This cannot do. Cataloging guidance must become more lithe -- more iterative, responsive, and nimble.

I agree with some of the OCLC report's findings with the caveat that Talis provides: OCLC needs to eat its own dog food. The OCLC report reads too much like an ad for WorldCat and doesn't fully face the question that if people are going to trust OCLC to be the One True Database they're going to have to change their practices. OCLC fears loss of control (look at its governance: the majority of its trustees are self-elected). I understand that... it's scary... but trust is a two-way street. OCLC is asking a lot of its members; it should consider meeting them at least halfway.

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