Christine Schwartz’s blog post of yesterday, Catalogs/Cataloging Memes, says, “We ignore bibliographic description to our own peril. Its primary purpose is the identification of library materials and isn’t ‘identify’ one of the FRBR user tasks?” She points to The Catalog’s Last Stand (PDF), by Norm Medeiros, from which I quote:
Timothy Burke, Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore College (PA) and presenter at the aforementioned Library of Congress meeting on the future of bibliographic control, describes vividly the tension between accommodating the desires of users and staying true to the catalog’s guiding principles:
“I worry a little about the idea that the singular driving force in catalog reform is to seat King User on his throne, to depose the wicked expert viziers who have kept the king from knowing what he wants to know. I worry that it replaces the wicked vizier with a fawning courtier.”
There’s much hope that FRBR will “fix” online catalog problems, a heavy burden to place on such a complex conceptual model. If FRBR doesn’t collapse under the weight of these great expectations, can it strike a balance between user needs and catalog righteousness in the RDA era? No matter the outcome, this seems the catalog’s last stand, the Rocky VI of catalog revision. How will it end?