Reasons to support LC (RE: [SERIALST] Clarifying ...) Rick Anderson 02 May 2006 18:33 UTC

> I'd be curious to know how many people DO support LC's
> decision and the
> reason's why. So I hope that a petition is set up as well,
> but I'd want
> it to have the added explanatory notes. The reasons that people DON'T
> support the decision seem to have been discussed enough on
> other lists, etc.

Actually, the more I think about it the less I like the idea of a
counter-petition.  The problem with the petition approach in general is
that it perpetuates the idea that LC's decision should be made based on
popular opinion, whereas I think it ought to be made based on hardheaded
economic analysis.  Sometimes doing the right thing means making a lot
of people angry, but you have to do it anyway.

In other words, the question isn't "Is series authority work valuable?"
(The answer to that question is obvious: of course it is.)  The real
question is "Is series authority work worth what it costs?".  That's a
much more difficult question, and my support of LC's decision is based
on the assumption (supported by Karen Calhoun's report) that LC has done
the analysis necessary to answer it.

The language in the anti-LC petition has serious logical flaws that
should be apparent to any thoughtful reader.  Its authors assert, for
example, that LC's decision is "directly opposed" to such "stated goals"
as "create bibliographic records and related data at the fullest
possible level."  But that's not what's happening at all.  What's
happening is that LC is figuring out that what was possible yesterday
may not be possible today.  The environment has changed, and resources
are limited.  Today's "fullest possible level" may be significantly
different from yesterday's "fullest possible level."

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
(775) 784-6500 x273