So much for my pleasure with myself over how I wanted to use the Calhoun Report to focus on what our “response” might be. I really wanted to discuss What can we accept from it? What needs a different scope, modal verb, etc. for acceptance? What can be added? And, the big one, how we’ll pay for it?
It didn’t turn out that way. Too many others are still at earlier stages of engagment with the report. And I honestly cannot, and do not want to try to, answer “So what did she mean by getting rid of LCSH? What exactly…?” [The best I could say to that was that they could listen to her on just that question in her own words since all of us present have access to the interview with her in Steve Oberg’s Tech Services class on 2 Aug.] Oh well. I can’t really be upset; I have spent far more time with this report and various responses to it than many, many others. It took me a long time to get to the point where I wanted to use it as a catalyst to a discussion of what we need to be doing; thus, I am not faulting my fellow students. Maybe in another venue….
Truthfully, I am tired of talking about “Calhoun, the Report.” It is seriously flawed at both micro- and macro-levels. It has seriously questionable unstated assumptions. It doesn’t begin to cite where it should…. Stop! See. It’s easy to beat up on it. I hereby resolve to do my best not to beat up on it anymore. I will (try to) speak negatively of it only when I need to critique a specific flaw in a related context.
I think “we” will be living with “Calhoun, the Report” for a long time. I hope that this, “the best of all possible worlds,” turns out such that this report is known historically as a defining moment in the world of classification—that this was what “woke us from our dogmatic slumbers.”
As Edward Swanson points put in his “book review,” the Calhoun Report effectively “damaged the prospects for discussions to be conducted amicably in the near future” (LRTS, 50(4):295-6). I haven’t been the best of help in bringing this back to a good discussion either (not that I could have half the impact of Karen Calhoun). But I’m finally ready to move on. Maybe I’ve grown up some, maybe I’ve spent enough time and had enough small discussions of it and some more education on related topics and I’m now ready to have an ethical response to it, maybe I’m just getting old, maybe I’ve realized that the message I want the decision makers to hear isn’t telling itself, maybe …. Probably some of all of this.
I think “Calhoun, the Report” calls for a response. Part of that response will be “conversation,” again at least in “the best of all possible worlds.” Discussion, advocacy, education, training,…. Actual dialogue about these and other important topics. While talking is a form of doing, more active doing is also required. Test projects, standardization work, advocacy, education and training,…. I hope to be involved in this response in multiple ways.
I want to be involved in the dialogue. It is beginning to show up in some places. It needs to show up in more. Maybe some people will only hear the message by overhearing it, by catching it obliquely. “Whatever,” I say. As long as they are hearing “the message.”
Let me just state for the record, I despise the marketing of almost any message. I called marketers (the “industry [includes education thereof]”) the Anti…, repeatedly, before ever leveling that name at Karen Calhoun. But I am enough of a realist (or simply old enough) to have some idea of how the world works. In fact, by despising “them” I am actually giving them credit for the impact marketing has.
Many of the important ideas have been around for a very long time. They are all critical today. They are being used; by people who can afford to pay. We finally have the computational ability (affordability, primarily) to do things thought of at least as far back as 1867. Cutter and multiple class numbers, anyone? Many other wonderful ideas arose in the intervening decades. But for a long time, computing “power” was non-existent and expensive. Now that we can finally do many of the things dreamed of for 130 years, some of “our leaders” want to dismantle the whole structure. [Why do I pick so many darn underdogs? Something about being a small kid….]
So what is this “message” of mine that is going to cause me to switch to the dark side and being “marketing”? I can’t exactly say yet. I can give you some “bones” for now and maybe by Halloween I’ll have a little “flesh” to put on them. It will be fluid for awhile.
Disclaimer: I am not asking anyone to join me, there is no bandwagon, the only catchy slogan I have so far is “Free the Authorities!,” which is definitely not exactly a buzzword. And it could get old at some point. I swear there’ll be no beta, and certainly no 2.0.
Semantics will, though, be important. Nuances of meaning will be brought out when required. What I would love is some dialogue. Contribute whatever you can when you can with whatever strength or weaknesses you bring to the discussion. Question and push me.
I am unsure what form this “dialogue” might take and where I might contribute. But feel free to remind me of something I might do, such as there’s this wiki over here that needs something about “authority control,” or…. I hope to get back to the library (or more so anyway) in my “new” home here at Off the Mark.
Pauline’s classification seminar was great! The format has some issues but you’d be [choose your own nasty adjective] to not take a class with Pauline Cochrane. It has left me invigorated mentally and helped me regain a sense of hope, even if it is a small hope. Even though my Calhoun discussion went where I didn’t want it to, but knew it would, go I am looking to this report and its ilk to motivate me into a positive response. There are some stories that need to be told in our and allied fields. There are some things that need to be demonstrated. Some of this is happening in diverse places. Maybe I’ll pass some of that on here.
So here is what I’m excited about at the moment — interoperability, internationalization, actually using classification systems to their fullest, freeing authorities, new data structures, vocabulary control, thesauri, classification systems, faceted classification, classification for the Web, exchanging this kind of data, making it play well together, making good use of the installed base of LCC and DDC, faceting LCSH, …. Oh, and the questions in the first paragraph.
I don’t really know what is going to change around here. But when I get as excited as I did yesterday by the 025.431: The Dewy blog — EPC day 2: Highlights post so that I post the following to our class bulletin board after the final class of the semester, then something is up.
See this blog report about day 2 of the EPC meeting. Stuff on UDC harmonization of Religion in DDC, Dewey training,
“update on the status of our new editorial support system. We are working out the details of data conversion from the current ESS proprietary format to an enhanced version of the MARC 21 Format for Classification Data (and to an enhanced version of the MARC 21 Format for Authority Data for the Relative Index). The format conversion will facilitate improved data representation within the system, and easy distribution of data in XML and other formats.”
And “Dewey numbers in authority files.”
Maybe something of interest to you…
I’ll definitely be looking at the “enhanced MARC 21 formats.” Thanks all for a great class! 🙂
See the upcoming post for more on these and related matters.
Just remember, nothing to join and since I can’t carry a tune there’s no reason for a wagon for this band of one [Walt, thank you for making my day! You often do.]