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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


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David Miller

Hi Christine --

Yes, puzzling phenomena, both. I haven't read the document you mention (so many documents, so little time), so I'm not responding to that at the moment.

Regarding 1), it seems like we have a set of convictions, based in card catalog days, in collision with the reality of more recently developed systems capabilities. The interesting thing is that for a very long time we've been saying that we're building for the future, that we're creating not-used catalog data now because it will possibly or probably be used sometime later on. That's often been a difficult sell. But in recent years, we've seen that this conviction is increasingly justified. One question is, will the -view- of cataloging based in the card era (not the practices, that's different) prevail? The attitude that metadata which is not of immediate value to the enduser (or immediately understood by same) is therefore a professional self-indulgence, is an attitude which really refers to the limitations of card catalogs, seems to me. I tend to think this view will not prevail, but surely in some local situations it will.

About 2), well -- we often berate ourselves for not describing or explaining what we do sufficiently to our colleagues. But communication is not a one-way process. Our colleagues have to be willing to listen and understand. Many do, many others refuse. It's a perpetual challenge.

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    Future of Cataloging: Key Resources (to May 2008)

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