I may have fallen asleep in a lecture or two at university but I don’t recall ever snoozing during a professional conference. Unfortunately the recent ACOC conference seemed to have that effect on a few people in the audience.

It was hard going. There was an expectation that everyone understood FRBR (either pronounced “Ef Are Bee Are” or “Fur-burr”) and not everyone did. In fact, I think a lot of us didn’t. If you didn’t understand these core principles then the rest of what they said made little sense.

I went along as a representative of the public library sector, there weren’t many of us there. Cataloguing seems to be the domain of the academic library. It’s like the Hindi caste system.

Brahmin = national and state library cataloguers (all hail us)
Kshatriya = academic cataloguers (if you want to be a REAL cataloguer, you should work in a university)
Vaishya = vendor & special library cataloguers (our cataloguing is of decent quality and we know what we’re doing…in our own special way)
Shudra = public library cataloguers (me! the unwashed masses who use the beautifully created records of the upper-classes).

I suppose at least I’m not an untouchable (the highschool and primary school cataloguers, cataloguers whose opinion seems to mean little to those of our upper castes). Bah.

Anyways, rant aside, the conference was hard going. I thought I knew what was going on until just after afternoon tea, then it all fell apart in my head.

In my last blog post I talked about the 4 levels of RDA – work, expression, manifestation and item. I found out at the ACOC conference that all catalogue records being created were at the manifestation level with extra details from work and expression levels. I glossed over the fact that there were two types of MaRC records, one for catalogue records and one for authority records.

According to the powers that be of RDA, there will still only be two types of MaRC records, one for catalogue records and one for authority records. How on earth does that work when there should be at least 4 levels of records? There should be a MaRC format for authority records, that is seperate. There should THEN be a MaRC format for each RDA level; work, expression, manifestation and item. There won’t be…just the one MaRC file which will include everything.

I know I’m not explaining myself well, but I am:
a) Venting
b) Confused myself
c) Aware that noone reads this

It was frustrating sitting there and aware that I understood the theory of FRBR and even the theory of RDA…the implementation just didn’t seem like it would follow the theoretical model they were proposing. Maybe I missed something.

End rant.

The acronyms of doom, part 2.

4 thoughts on “The acronyms of doom, part 2.

  • October 30, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    You’d be the only one, but that’s okay! I may rant some more about how confusing RDA is next week (well, less that it’s confusing, more that I don’t see many benefits).

  • October 31, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Blah, blah, blah, blah…I really don’t know why I read your blogs…they always make my head hurt 😉

    P.S. Why does my opinion matter little to those of the upper castes!!!

  • November 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Wow, two people who read me? That’s amazing.

    And school library cataloguers are considered the worst of the worst. Supposedly all of your records are downloaded so you never really have to ‘think’ of anything. This means you don’t learn a million and a half exceptions to every rule that an academic cataloguer would know (of course they only usually know these in their speciality).

    Also, school catalogues don’t use things that state/academic librarians use (ie using SCIS as opposed to LCSH). Therefore they pooh-poo your ‘simple’ cataloguing tools.



    PS Sorry to all academic/state/national cataloguers reading this. I know you’re not all like that but I also know that the general consensus is that your records are far superior to a school library’s records


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