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Cataloguing is Process, not a Lumberyard November 18, 2006

Posted by Mia in FRBR.

Cataloguing done in libraries is not something other than metadata creation. It is metadata creation. It has a specific domain. It has a frame of reference: the objects being described support scholarly information [in general] and its findability.

We can argue all we like about what findability means, how best to present the data, FRBR, RDA, and so on.

Nonetheless, the metadata creation process that is done within the library frame of reference doesn’t help us with crop rotation or piloting an airplane. If we want to do those things, we have to turn elsewhere. Missing the point on this is I think is to suffer from some kind of ontological confusion about our domain.

Cataloguing done on archeological digs is also metadata creation. With a completely different frame of reference. One does not look to/examine/search archeological dig metadata to locate works written by an author.

Similarly, one could imagine performing metadata creation on a physical collection of wood, with elements like:

sizes of planks (e.g. 2×4’s, 10 feet in length); type of wood (maple, oak, etc.); finishes (oil, stain), etc. etc. etc.

At the end of that process, possibly we would have described the contents of a lumberyard.

Fine, but it has nothing to do with our mission.