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It does not necessarily reflect the views of D-Lib Magazine, its publisher, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, or its sponsor. Abstract There is evidence that many individuals and organizations in the library world do not support the work taking place to develop a next generation of the library cataloging rules.
The authors describe the tensions existing between those advocating an incremental change to cataloging process and others who desire a bolder library entry into the digital era. Introduction Libraries have lost their place as primary information providers, surpassed by more agile and in many cases wealthier purveyors of digital information delivery services.
Although libraries still manage materials that are not available elsewhere, the library's approach to user service and the user interface is not competing successfully against services like Amazon or Google.
If libraries are to avoid further marginalization, they need to make a fundamental change in their approach to user services. The library's signature service, its catalog, uses rules for cataloging that are remnants of a long departed technology: Modifications to the rules, such as those proposed by the Resource Description and Access RDA development effort, can only keep us rooted firmly in the 20th, if not the 19th century.
A more radical change is required that will contribute to the library of the future, re-imagined and integrated with the chosen workflow of its users. The Catalog Changes in the context in which libraries function have brought the library and its catalog to a crisis point.
Today the development of computer technology and electronic document production presents a significantly different challenge than libraries had only fifty years ago, a time when information resources and the libraries that held them were still rooted in the era of books and periodicals, and the card catalog was the entry point to the library's physical holdings.
One area where change is essential is in the area of library catalogs and cataloging. Cataloging rules used today represent an unbroken continuum that began in the early 19th century.
The rules were developed for linear presentation, either in printed book catalogs or in alphabetically arranged card catalogs, thus the emphasis on "headings," those carefully crafted strings that are designed to be placed in an ordered list "Smith, James" "Smith, John".
Headings, in alphabetical order, were once the only access points into the catalog. But as catalog entries became machine-readable records in the 's, the rules for cataloging stayed essentially the same.
More recently, library systems developers have worked hard to create a machine-readable library catalog that provided functionality beyond that of the analog card catalog, for instance by allowing keyword searching of all data in the catalog record.
However, the struggle to accommodate technological change with data created using the old rules is clearly not optimal, and hinders the ability of libraries to create innovative services.
To make an effective transition to the new reality, librarians need to undertake a broad analysis of how the changing information technology and our rapidly evolving information resources are changing user behavior. The goal of that analysis should be to mold the user service of the future, recognizing that users and their information needs should be our primary focus.
This will mean that our vision of the catalog and of cataloging must make a radical transformation. Changes in Information Resources The early cataloging rules, dating back to the catalog of the British Museum inevolved primarily to handle textual, published resources.
As the twentieth century produced new carriers for information and libraries determined that these new formats were important to their mission the cataloging rules extended their reach past the familiar packages of bound paper to newly available musical recordings and motion pictures.
In almost every case, the cataloging rules leaned on the similarities between the new formats and old. The significant differences between them were expressed, for the most part, in the notes and physical description areas. This worked for a time, as most of the new formats were issued in commercial packages that were self-describing, that is, they carried on their packaging the key descriptive information on their contents, such as the names of creators and the titles of works.
By the end of the 20th century, with the explosion of digital formats and the Internet, the treatment of non-book formats using the model of book cataloging became less useful. Even conventionally published materials began to appear on the market in multiple formats.
In addition, the much looser distribution channel of the Internet eliminated the packaging and any vestige of description that those packages contributed.
More telling, the switch from physical media formats distributed through traditional channels to web-distributed digital information pulled the last remaining rug from under catalogers used to relatively stable materials.
Descriptive rules based on predictable, stable and named "sources of information" title pages, colophons, etc. Even the special rules designed to integrate loose-leaf services the most changeable resources handled by traditional cataloging proved to be insufficient.
The libraries' earliest experience with the proliferation of copies of resources in different physical formats was with the reproduction of printed materials, first in microformats, then in digital formats. Library cataloging rules required each new iteration in a different format to have its own entry in the catalog.
Although seemingly efficient in allowing virtual "cloning" of catalog information from one version to another, in the end this practice proved to have a very negative impact on the usability of the catalog, causing an increase in catalog entries for what to many users is essentially the same resource.vestige Business Plan - PPT + Report.
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Examples of legacy approaches abound in RDA. Particularly problematic is the insistence that notions of "primary" and "secondary," designed to use effectively the .
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