Thursday, June 16, 2011

Last one, I Promise

I've been hard on RDA in the past week or so (Sorry, RDA. I know you're doing your best). However, I just had to post this picture. Backstory: I told my boss, as I was leaving the library, that the new RDA print manual was on my desk, and if he was so inclined, he should take a look. This is what I walked into the next day:

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Continued Intellectual Wrestling Match with RDA

When I first read through the drafts of RDA, I didn't think it felt very different from AACRII, and I seem to remember telling someone that at the time. It set them at ease, which was nice I suppose. It made me very uneasy. Because there are only two paths from there: either I am an idiot incapable of understanding how fundamentally this is changing everything (terrifying), or there's not that much change yet an extra 500 pages of material (unlikely?). I really hoped that it was the former.

Then someone posted in the comments a few days ago that they didn't think that RDA changed much in the way that we catalog, day-to-day (they were apparently part of a testing site). I don't like that, because if it doesn't, does that mean we didn't need RDA in the first place, but rather a reinterpretation of the rules of AACRII? Or does it mean that once we get something more flexible and attuned to RDA than MARC, the whole game will change again and we'll need to reinterpret RDA again? Either way that comment made me uncomfortable because it just reinforced what I already felt.

I really want RDA to be different. I want it to do all the things that the visionaries want it to do. But I also have this feeling that we're all so entrenched in the traditions of cataloging that we're almost incapable of making fundamental changes to our rules. Maybe we should start an Ender's Game-esque school for kids, where they do whatever they want, without foreknowledge of the rules, and teach us all a lot about military strategy cataloging.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Shoutout on RDA

I got a whole bunch of hits on my post yesterday about how terrifying RDA is. I'm really, really interested in what people are thinking about RDA. I've been to the webinars, I've talked to people, but honestly, if you have an opinion on RDA, could you please post it in the comments of this post or the last? I have very mixed feelings, but I'm not gonna be at any focus groups anytime soon, so I'd like to hear what you all are thinking.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

You're Killing Me, RDA

We received our very own paper copy of RDA in the mail last week. Along with it came the FRBR guide for the perplexed, and Introducing RDA: a guide to the basics. One of my library friends was very amused by the latter ("only librarians would make a guide to the guide about making guides"). I finally sliced into the packaging this morning, as I prepared RDA to go into its own "little" binder (3-inch D ring). RDA is BIG, y'all. I know that anyone reading this probably knew that already.
What got me is that there are whole chapters that just have one page saying "to be developed after the initial release". I'm not sure how many of them there are, but they are depressing to look at. You mean that this binder will at some point need to be EVEN LARGER?
This is all just my way of saying that RDA scares me. I know that fear isn't a reason to not learn something, but seriously, it's daunting. Can you imagine the poor little library students, getting their first glimpse of RDA? No one will ever go into cataloging again. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ALA Elections

One of my friends is on the slate for an ALA committee, and since elections just opened, she's all atwitter about how it might end up for her. On the one hand, she really wants to be elected, and on the other hand, she didn't want to promote herself *too* much because she, like myself and other people I know, really dislikes it when people promote themselves for ALA committees.

What a strange profession we are in. Librarianship could definitely be described as a self-effacing profession; we are considered the quiet types, and the ones who selflessly help others all the time. So it stands to reason that even when we're supposed to put ourselves out there for the purposes of getting elected to a committee of our peers, we kind of balk at it.

What I found even more hilarious was that another of our friends commented that she "almost never" votes for people who actively campaign for ALA positions. She finds it smarmy and distasteful. And I totally agree with her, but I am forced to ask myself why that is. The people who actively advertise themselves are the ones who really want the position...why should that disqualify them from my vote? This friend made clear that she normally votes for who she knows and respects, which should of course be the criteria for any of us to make our decisions. But when I don't know who to vote for, why do I automatically distrust the person who has actively campaigned? Because they're not self-effacing enough, not shy enough to fit the bill of what I think of as a librarian?

Sometimes my trains of thought lead me to embarrassing places.
"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.