Tag Archives: Cooperative cataloging rules

Are User Tasks Outdated asks NGC4LIB

The whole question of the relevance of the user tasks set out in FRBR and adopted by RDA came up in several threads on the listserv NGC4Lib. The actually thread is rather short on the topic itself, which can be found on the NGC4Lib archives for the month of October.

This thread originated in another discussion, namely that on the Cooperative Cataloging begun by Jim Weinheimer. If you are not familiar with Jim, then go to his newly created website and project called the Cooperative Cataloging Rules. In a post to the NGC4Lib listerv, Jim explained that the user tasks from FRBR were outdated and do not reflect what his users want or do in his library. Remember that these user tasks are: Find, Identify, Select, Obtain.

As a separate thread, Shawne Miksa asked why these user tasks were outdated. This began a short but informative take on user tasks and how individuals search and use documents as well as information.

Here are some highlights:

  • Do users look for documents or information?
  • What do users do after finding a document or information?
    • Karen Coyle highlighted that it is not so much of interest how users find information but what they do with it afterward. How do users use information? If we have an idea how users use information or documents to gather information, then it will be easier to develop technologies that help them during this process. In response to this, the fact that libraries never worried about how users used information was brought forward. Yet, libraries say that they are in the information business. So, users do not want to only find a book on a subject. This is just the beginning. Determining how this book came about and how this subject relates to others is important. This is a process of making connections -links to other related sources of information. Of course, the discovery process cannot be done entirely by a third party. With the Semantic Web, there are ways to create links and transform the way we use information into new and exciting ways.
  • Why put so much effort into cataloging items if this data isn’t or can’t be used?
    • Library catalogs tend to have an enormous wealth of information. This data is stored in a format that is not web friendly. In many cases, much of the data is not even displayed to the user since this is a separate step to get to more details or more information. Though not all the information appeals to everyone, I think the effort put into cataloging should not go into systems that are not web friendly. We should be able to get our library data out there on the web where it can be used and re-used by others in ways librarians never thought of.
  • Do libraries have information or documents with information?
    • Libraries are much more than places with documents or even information. They have become community centers vibrant with events, support systems, documents, information, and opportunities. What I think libraries have not done well is to transform that vibrant community that is live and in person to the online world of the web. For a long time, many libraries have created a web presence based on their library catalog. Does the OPAC convey the richness of the services provided by the library? In this sense, users are seeking much more than just information and documents with information at libraries. Libraries need a web presence that responds to this need as well.

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Filed under cataloging, FRBR, Library Culture, RDA

NGC4Lib : More on Cooperative Cataloging

Not that long ago Jim Weinheimer announced a new project called the Cooperative Cataloging Rules. This is a website created along with a blog by Jim Weinheimer to be an alternative to RDA, scheduled for release in some near future.

From the website:

This is a cooperative site originally created by James Weinheimer [profile] as an alternative to accepting RDA. The basic idea is to have a site where the current rules can continue to be updated. There are also the related Google Groups site, and the Blog. For more information, see the Official Announcement on the Blog.

To better understand why this website was created, whether you believe in RDA or not, the recent thread called, Cooperative Cataloging on NGC4Lib is excellent. If you go to the NGC4Lib archives for October 20, you will see the discussions on this topic.

I found 2 things of interest in this discussion:

  • Jim Weinheimer goes into his reasons why he believes RDA to be the wrong direction.
    • In short, Jim sees RDA as too expensive, untested, based on wrong user tasks as well as an outdated conceptual model. Jim highlights the fears of many that the old rules will not be maintained thus forcing RDA’s hand. The purpose of the Cooperative Cataloging rules is to be a serious alternative to RDA. These rules are based on the years of experience and build on the richness of the LCRI’s or the Library of Congress Rule Interpretations.
  • The responses to Jim’s Cooperative Cataloging Rules
    • One of the most interesting comments I found was that RDA is not a clean slate but has inherited a lot of legacy instructions from AACR2. In this way, RDA does not do away with AACR2, years of cataloging experience, or even the richness of the LCRI’s. It is a different presentation with a different orientation which also happens to include a broader perspective than just AACR2. Another interesting point was how to interpret user tasks. Because the user tasks are a list: Find, Identify, Select, Obtain, does that mean that users must perform tasks in a linear fashion? This is an excellent question. Already, FRAD has more than these 4 user tasks adding Clarify and Understand to the list.

If time permits and you find yourself questioning RDA, this is a good thread to read through. It is not that long and is not filled with some of the technical jargon that appeared in other threads recently on NGC4Lib.

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Filed under cataloging, RDA

Rick J. Block and RDA

Rick J. Block has been speaking on RDA for some time now. I recently came across his website via William Denton’s FRBR Blog. The page is entitled, RDA: Victors or Victims. This is actually a presentation that Rick did for the New York Technical Services group. Last year, he presented, RDA: Boondoggle or Boon? at the New England Technical Services group.

At both links provided above, you will find not only Rick’s Powerpoint (in PPT or PDF format) but also a list of information on RDA ranging from articles to blogs and discussion lists. This is another great source to get information on RDA, FRBR, and FRAD.

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Filed under cataloging, FRBR, RDA