Home > cataloging, frbr, marc, RDA, systems > RDA, AutoCat, FRBR and MARC

RDA, AutoCat, FRBR and MARC

This last week AutoCat has had a lovely discussion on “Displaying Work/Expression/Manifestation Records” (look for that subject in the archives for Week 2 & 3 October 2010).

The entire discussion is well worth reading but I am going to focus on a quote from Mike Tribby’s post on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 8:31 AM

“And I think that Karen Coyle is absolutely correct when she states that we need to develop a data format. That seems a much better goal than a restatement of rules for cataloging content with arbitrary rules that simply replace other arbitrary rules.”

Exactly. We’re putting the cart in front of the horse. 

I like rules. I am a cataloger, I like rules and organization and structure. It’s really a part of my nature (do you write lists? organize your closet? you too could be a cataloger…or an accountant). If RDA passes the USA National Library test come Spring 2011, I’ll move to using it.  Well, that is if my ILS allows it and if I can afford it.

However, I think that perhaps not having a new format (to replace the venerable MARC) first or in conjunction, we are setting up future problems and angst. MARC is cataloging. I’ve discussed this before, many times. MARC is the language of cataloging. MARC is not only the backbone but the entire fleshed out being of cataloging in today’s world.

As Karen Coyle, and many others, have pointed out MARC is not as flexible as it should be to allow true linking and re-use of data. I’ve discussed this too (when I had my epiphany). I was a hard sell on replacing MARC. If you look at my earlier posts I obviously do not get it but I do now and agree it needs to be brought into this century (you can still call it “MARC” if you want).

In order for the lovely linking that is desired with FRBR and RDA, we need to redesign how we record our data. I’m not talking about “should we abbreviate or spell it out” or “rule of three” but the actual nitty gritty of the input and code.  And don’t get me started on the whole thing about catalogers in 2010 having to know to put a “4” in the second indicator of the 245 when the title proper begins with “the”! I have raged against that machine previously.

So I repeat myself. We need to get Systems, Catalogers, and ILS vendors together. Lock’em in a room and don’t let them out until they Build It. Maybe we can continue with what Karen Coyle has already begun.

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Categories: cataloging, frbr, marc, RDA, systems Tags: , , ,

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