Monday, July 23, 2007

Thing 15: To infinity .... and beyond!

Interesting subject this week on Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. I agree that libraries need to respond to the culture they exist in and our culture is moving toward one where the user (customer) is in charge and he or she requires and expects more flexibility and ease in his or her interactions with institutions and information.

Of course, I am also most interested in how all this will affect my library speciality, cataloging. Traditional cataloging, justifiably, has come under the most fire in the Web 2.0 world for being too rigid. In a world where people are tagging their blogs, tagging their Flickr pictures and creating mini-bibliographic descriptions of items in their digital world, the library MARC record and use of the Library of Congress Subject Headings does seem old-fashioned.

However, I am concerned with this rush toward customer-based description. I am afraid that people will forget why authority control, MARC tags and classification schemes were created in the first place--to provide standardization in a world that is anything but. That said, customer tags are also valuable since they provide a glimpse into how people are actually thinking about and mentally categorizing material. Obviously, there needs to be a way to accommodate both customer-based "natural language" tags and standardized headings.

No comments: