Eden and Coyle

Eden’s article The New User Environment: the End of Technical Services? raises many important ideas.  I agree that library catalogs need to keep pace with the search engines of private companies like Google and Amazon to remain relevant.  But one idea that stood out to me was the “principle of least effort”, which suggests that people will use information of poor quality if it requires little effort to find rather than searching harder for high quality information.  It is important, then, for libraries not to diminish their quality of information as they adapt to meet the demands of users.  Adapting the R.D.A. standard, takes steps in the right direction by allowing relationships between records and a growing linked data environment, while maintaining high quality bibliographic information.  Coyle writes about the slow pace of its implementation and its antiquated format in the Resouce Desciption and Access article.  He arrives at abandoning R.D.A. in favor of finding consensus on a new model, basic principles, and general rules.  I’m not sure what the best solution is.  On the one hand R.D.A. creates a bridge from the MARC format to Bibframe, or whatever the new format will be.  On the other, it is slow to implement and transitional, at a time when library catalogs need to evolve to compete.  However the transition plays out, remaining a trusted source of high quality information may be libraries’ strength amongst the competition over time.

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