At 10:34 AM +1000 6/6/06, Alexander Johannesen wrote:
>On 6/6/06, Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>On the other hand we are a bunch o' hackers, and there is more to
>>this thing (whatever it is called) than code. We need the perspective
>>of catalogers, reference types, administrators, vendors, etc. Thus,
>>the idea for creating a new list.
>Ok, that's fair enough, but will they come? My experiences with these
>kind of things is that what we would like to see happen won't. Maybe
>I'm overly pessimistic, but I think there is far too much politics in
>the library world these days for real discussions to take place

My impression is that there are LOTS of catalogers interested in
discussing this topic---the future of The Catalog. (I think there's
no reason to stop calling it the catalog, although 'OPAC' as an
acronym is probably best abandoned).   Some coders seem to assume
that the cataloging community doesn't realize the need for change, or
doesn't understand the possibilities of the online catalog.  I think
this is more and more NOT the case. Catalogers too realize that
things are broken, change is the topic of discussion. More and more
catalogers have a grasp of the possibilities of computer retrieval
too, and the need to fix cataloging practice to fulfill those
possibilities.  But what's also true is, yes, there's a lot of
dispute about what is to be done. (I also think that what is to be
done is not necessarily clear; while there are some things I
personally think are clear that many colleagues irrationally [ :) ]
disagree on, the terrain in general is in fact a lot less clear than
some coders may think, in my opinion.)

So discussion of change is afoot. Will catalogers subscribe to a list
created by coders?  Will the coders and the catalogers be able to
communicate, do they speak enough of the same language, do they have
enough of the same conceptual model of what we're talking about,
enough of the same ideas of where we should be going?  I don't know.
But such common vision is desperately needed.

So we desperately need more forums for discussion involving both
catalogers and developers, focused on this topic. All kinds of
catalogers (dealing with various materials, and various audiences;
and perhaps too metadata practicioners on the edges of the library
community as well), and all kinds of developers (commercial, open
source, institutional).  In person (ALA?), online, through scholarly
publication and interaction from both communities, all of that.
Very much needed.  To successfully do that might require some
networking and politicking with the right people though, yeah, not
just creating a mailing list among ourselves.  And it will surely be
a struggle to develop a common language and vision, yes.

As Eric writes, an important topic for discussion is: "To what degree
should traditional cataloging practices be used in such a thing, or
to what degree should new and upcoming practices such as FRBR be
exploited?"  Coders can't have this discussion without catalogers if
it's not just going to be a fantasy discussion.  And we should be
humble enough to realize that we may not in fact even understand the
question as well as (some) catalogers, and the cataloging community
in fact has an awful lot to contribute.