This chapter explains why the cataloging tools we have covered thus far (classification schemes, catalogue codes, bibliographic formats, etc.) are not up to the task of organizing Internet resources. The authors explain that the challenge comes from the nature of the web itself. The authors list seven characteristics of the web that make the standard cataloging tools inadequate.
- The distributed nature of the web – resources are spread out worldwide.
- Size and growth of the web – The authors write,“Identifying, organizing and retrieving information becomes more complex as the size of the web increases.”
- Type and format of documents – information files on the web have so many formats that it becomes difficult to organize/catalogue/contain them.
- Control of information resources – since – quite literally – anyone can publish anything on the web, authorship and ownership organization would be a herculean task.
- Frequency of changes – resources in a library are static since authors cannot drop by the library and change content in shelved material. Web pages on the other hand, can change at the author’s whim.
- Distributed users – The user groups and their needs are so diverse that it would be difficult to organize them into a meaningful order.
- Resource requirements – Cataloging, as we have discovered in class, is a resource intensive activity requiring people, time, software – and money. Who would pay for and organize this activity with regard to web resources?
All of this leads us to chapter 8 where Metadata is discussed. (I will write a separate post on that chapter.)