I’ve often thought that Rochkind’s commentary on the state of the bibliographic universe to be very insightful. His recent post on the state of the future of cataloguing is a great post and describes the current situation nicely.
He is right when he says the cataloguing process is indeed deeply flawed. It’s firmly rooted in descriptions of the book and other printed documents and as such is antiquated and offers little that provides any real control over the current digital environment.
I also agree that RDA is turning out to be a bit of a bust or better still a bit of a beast. But I think it is a necessary step and at least an attempt to try and bring the cataloguing process into the 21st century instead of continuing to languish somewhere in the 19th. It seems RDA will not be the solution that some might expect but it is perhaps, and optimistically, a step in the right direction. Its development process too has also been deeply flawed and it really should be provided as an open access product for all to use not a for profit venture an approach that will surely be its ultimate downfall.
This fact that Rochkind raises is very important, “… the de-professionalization and general decimation of most cataloguing departments have left us seriously deprived of talent and time to work on updating and reinvigorating our practices.” Not sure how we are to deal with this dilemma. He does not paint a rosy picture to be sure, but I remain surprisingly optimistic. 🙂