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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


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Ok, I'm not an expert on RDA or FRBR, by any means...and I haven't read either one thoroughly. But, reading Gorman's article...I can't help thinking that he misses much of the point of RDA. He seems so blinded by his disgust with a break with tradition that he won't look at the reality of the document.

"It's hard to believe that the world's libraries have taken metadata seriously."? What? Apparently, he doesn't know that ALL cataloging IS metadata. Just arranged in ways he understands instead of in XML or Dublin Core or whatever.

He complains at length about the order of things in RDA - as I understand it (and I may be off here, as I said, I'm no expert) - RDA is meant to be used as an online, hyperlinked reference...not to be read straight through.

He also has a large section on ISBD punctuation and order. ISBD punctuation and order, in my opinion, do NOT need to be a part of cataloging in an online world. If a library wants their records to display with ISBD punctuation and order, that can easily be written into the OPAC display.

Gorman comes across to me as being too emotionally connected to his beloved tradition (as I've seen a number of catalogers lately) to take a dispassionate view of RDA.

I'm not saying RDA is perfect, or that some of his criticisms aren't warranted. He's certainly right that metadata in most cases shouldn't be left to be solely produced by creators (that is a common thing to do in institutional repositories, but not appropriate for library catalogs, I believe), and that keyword searching isn't sufficient for good discovery. But, he conflates these with the metadata "community" as a whole, which I think is ill-informed and unfair.

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    Future of Cataloging: Key Resources (to May 2008)

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