Party Tip #17

Just read this Basic Instructions.

As everyone knows, the only way to salvage this sort of situation is to drown out the noise of the guitar with a discussion of the relative limitations of non-MARC compliant AACR2 indexing in relation to the search habits of patrons today. (The biggest limitation, of course, comes with the balance between the cost of maintaining multiple access points on a card based system versus the necessity of ensuring access points for probable searches, especially in the context of the Statement of Responsibility: did you know that if you made a standard 3×5 card for the film ‘Pirates of the Carribean,’ you wouldn’t mention that Johnny Depp was involved anywhere on the card unless you chose to enter it into the Notes field [which, of course, cannot be indexed seperately]? It’s more of a concern than you might think, really, which is why we’re still using the core rules of AACR2 when we’d hoped to be on AACR3 by now, although we’re pretty much still on schedule [the first draft came out a couple of years back, and the whole thing should be due for launch this summer, is the plan]. Of course it isn’t going to be called AACR3 anymore, because it’s attempting to be less book-centric [AACR2, of course, had seperate sections for the cataloguing of different materials but we’re still talking pretty much about such materials as existed in the middle decades of the 20th Century, with revisions for more modern formats more or less bolted on wherever possible, which is why the new standard aims to be more open-ended] and they propose to reflect this by naming the whole thing RDA: Resource Description and Access.)

You’d think, since I know how to diffuse such an awkward situation as that, I’d get invited to more parties, but I figure maybe I’ve not been advertising well enough. I also have an awesome story about the development of MARC, though. It’s less technical than the background of cataloguing rules themselves, and I do find that it fits nicely into the silence you get whilst everyone is digesting what I’ve just been explaining, and stops that momentary awkwardness where people who don’t feel confident enough to ask for clarification on a more technical issue spoil their own enjoyment by ducking out to get a fresh drink…

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  1. On March 01, 2010 Myzelik says:

    This amuses me, because I am now safe in the knowledge I am not the only person to engage in conversations about systems noone understands or cares about but which I find infinitely fascinating.