2 thoughts on “Libraries and catalogues: systemic attention”

  1. One of the tensions that needs to be addressed is the sometimes widely differing needs of librarians and library users in the use of records. So much of a typical local record is really not of any interest to over 99$ of users, but librarians and library staffs seem not to be able to function without the extra. Extending knowledge base activities beyond the ERM world might be a possible evolution.

  2. Just come across this post via RIN eNews. As a long-standing chief cataloguer, I’m aware it has long been the dream of library chiefs to recycle the salaries of their cataloguers, and why not? However, three problems strike me with the idea of central provision:
    1. The distribution of actual “need” for records to local level means only those items actually needed but absent from the primary MARC source (say, CURL or OCLC) get created locally. If you turn the pyramid upside down, then everything that is potentially needed anywhere must be created centrally, and in a timely way. That will be impossible.
    2. In time, library management systems might adapt to exploit only such data as is available in a MARC record, but as things stand all LMS add locally configurable bells and whistles to the bib record and the local holdings record that do most of the work — things like loan periods, collection codes, material types, etc. I suppose standards might evolve for such things, but they seem resolutly “local” in scope and definition to me.
    3. Expertise cannot be bought in by the yard. Once local expertise has been happily abandoned for, say, 90% of bibliographic provision, then it will quickly vanish for the remaining 10%. Russian books on engineering will become as opaque as if they were written in Ogham.

Comments are closed.