I speak for myself alone (RE: Reasons to support LC (RE: [SERIALST] Clarifying ...) Rick Anderson 09 May 2006 05:23 UTC

Sorry to revive this well-beaten thread, but it's been brought to my attention that people have been asking some of my colleagues here at UNR whether my views on this topic represent those of my institution.

The answer is no.  I speak for myself alone.  There's a healthy variety of views on this issue among the professionals in the UNR Libraries, and I don't speak for anyone else.

Several years ago we did decide to stop doing routine subject authority work here, due to staffing shortfalls.  I believe this was a good decision regardless of staffing levels, because it seems to me that subject authority work doesn't return enough benefit to be worth what it costs.  But some others in my library would disagree.  So if you think I'm nuts, please don't assume that the same is true of anyone else here unless they provide independent evidence.  :-)

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


From: Rick Anderson
Sent: Tue 5/2/2006 11:33 AM
To: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
Subject: Reasons to support LC (RE: [SERIALST] Clarifying ...)

> 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