Simplification as an opportunity – redux

About a month ago I posted about George Oates’ concept of a “minimum viable record”. The topic has continued to float around in my mind and was also taken up by Christine Schwartz.  So I thought I’d highlight two additional related items from the library community that corroborate the “MVR” idea:

  • Karen Calhoun, in her 2006 report for the Library of Congress entitled “The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools”, suggests to “simplify catalog records to a set of basic elements to support discovery, browsing, identification, delivery, resource sharing, linking, and inventory control” and to “monitor RDA, keeping in mind the need for simplicity and the larger role that automated metadata creation, batch processing, linking, and Web services will play” (p. 17).
  • William Moen, who was involved in the MARC Content Designation Utilization project (MCDU), asks the following pertinent questions in one of his presentations on the project: What is needed in a bibliographic record? Can you argue persuasively for the cost/benefit of your existing practice? Should the focus be on high-value, high-impact, high-quality data in a few fields/subfields? Can you identify these few fields/subfields?

These questions and considerations should inform how we envision our (future) cataloging practice.

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